We are a busy horse owning family always in need of help around the house, garden and with our animals.
Andy has a building business and spends a lot of time renovating other peoples homes so ours is always the last to be done, Karen (me) I runs a business from home, have cleints visit me at home and got to my clients. I also do a lot of volunteer work and help Andy with his business. Olivia, our eldest daughter comes home when she can. She is living in Paris with her boyfriend. Zachary (Zac) our son is a student, he will be home after school and during the holidays. I (Karen) am recovering from cancer so I tire easily, so getting help from time to time is a bonus.
We like our helpers to become part of the family and help out at mealtimes and with general household duties as part of normal day to day living. We do ask that anyone who stays helps with the cooking of meals and cleaning up afterwards - We do have a dishwasher so its not all bad.
In the summer you can enjoy the pool or visit the local bathing lakes and rivers. We try to get to the beach/sea a few times as well. We also like to get out as much as possible on a Sunday, visiting local areas or markets and you are welcome to join us.
We have plenty of DVD’s and music CD’s, English and French TV channels. The small town we live in has a library with an English section and you catch the train to many interesting places to visit. There is a local bus to Angouleme, and if you want to visit further afield I recommend megabus or oui bus. They get you all over europe for not a lot of money.
Our area of the Charente is lovely with lots of places to visit and on the main route through to the South or North. We are about 2 hours from Paris by train. Cheap flights can be found from airports at Limoges, Poitiers, Angouleme, Bordeaux and La Rochelle. There is a main railway at Angouleme and Poitiers where you can catch daily trains to our town of Ruffec. We also have a local bus that takes you to Angouleme for 1€ - there are currently 3 services per day. 2 in the morning and one at lunch time. Ruffec has plenty of shops, swimming pool and cinema. We are two hours drive from the sea, and only 4 hours from Spain. Our area of france has lots of interesting places to visit and we recommend that you take some time to do this. If you like walking there are plenty of great walks in the local forest and countryside. IGN maps of these can be found easily online.
We are quite easy going and flexible, however, we have seen our fair share of 'holiday' helpers - where the help/accomodation exchange has no been equitable. So we ask our helpers in advance that they respect the workaway ethos of helping 5 hours per day We hope this way, our hospitality is not taken advantage of and that the tasks we need help with push along. In return you receive your accommodation, 3 meals a day, some with alcohol, coffee and tea etc till it comes out of your ears, and free internet and the use of the telephone if you need to cotanct anyone who is not on the internet. For those of you who horse ride -there is unlimited access to our rideable horses, you can use the pool anytime in summer (we close it down in winter). We try to keep weekends free for socialising and relaxing but there may be times on a saturday when we need to get a job finished and of course animals need 7/7 care.
We are quite a sociable family and enjoy lots of outdoor eating with friends in the summer. We also try to spend a lot of time just relaxing especially on a Sunday and on the cold days of winter. There is without doubt not a dull moment in the Johnson-Jones household. We are 'noisy' and chatty, dont stand still much, but we do have our moments of calm and tranquility, and we will do our best to make your stay welcoming and fun. I (Karen) am recovering from cancer so I tire easily and I do get a bit furstrated with myself for not beong able to keep up with everything.
Accomodation is a little rustic, a partly finished and furnished attic room with double glazing, central heating and insulation. Its one of the areas we need to finish
We are English by Nationality and speak English (1st language) and French (2nd language). We are happy to accept any nationality of helper on long or short stays throughout the year.
Bricolage et projets de construction
Préparer les repas / cuisiner pour la famille
Aider à la maison
S’occuper des animaux
Aide informatique / Internet
Travellers who come to us will benefit from gaining skills they can use at other hosts in the future particularly renovation skills. We are well travelled ourselves and we are happy to share our experiences and to show our helpers our wonderful part of France.
We like to treat visitors as an extension of our family, so your stay will be a home from home experience that we hope you will enjoy fully.
We are renovating our house and there are a lot of tasks still to be done and lots of skills to be learned. You do not need to have skills if you are prepared to have a go and learn, that is OK with us
There are lots of DIY jobs that need doing, painting, fencing, pointing stone walls etc and lots of gardening. I love the style shabby chic, so there is always a peice of furniture being upcycled and I am happy to show you how to do this.
Then there are the horses. We have four- GeeGee a retired sprightly 28 year old, Gallant 26 year old, Gallant still thinks he is 8 and doing three day eventing and showjumping, he is still ridden occasionally.. Numero Bis 18 who is a bit special needs, a large rideable horse. Then we have Dixon a 6 year old recovering from a tendon injury and being bought slowly back into work. Helpers who can ride (English style) are allowed to use our horses and enjoy the local forest and fields on our doorstep. You must be able to groom, tack up, ride safely (walk, trot, and canter) and clean the tack afterwards. . If you have never ridden but would like to try, we are happy to intorduce you to riding. We do also have 3 well behaved dogs and a cat. You can join us for walks with the dogs in the forest and countryside.
In the Winter the main help is the horses and stables. We are also looking for someone who knows how to install a septic tank and we are happy to negotiate financial reward for help with this. Plus a qualified electricien if there are any out there.
In the summer we have a big project of pointing the external walls of the house and of course looking after any horses that are stabled.
There is always something to do but it does depend on the weather. We are pretty felxible if you need to take a day out to go visiting the area, we can organise work rostas accordingly.
Sleeping accomodation is an unfinished attice room with central heating, double galzing, insulation and furniture. Its comfy, warm and dry, just not a finished room yet.
Whilst we dont object to people who smoke or vape, we would ask that you would refrain doing this inside the main house, the pool and around the stables.
The most important thing is that you enjoy your stay with us, that the cultural exchange is beneficial to us all. We will provide a list of work that needs doing as this requires the care of animals the start to our day is 9am (so breakfast needs to be taken before this).
We have been doing this exchange of skills since 2008, we have met many lovely people from all over the world, many from countries we may never visit in our lifetime, but which we learn about from our visitors. It is lovely to travel without leaving your home and it enriches our life.
Accès Internet limité
Nous avons des animaux
Nous sommes fumeurs
5 hours per day per person Mon to Fri