help exchange   Host 20796
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Help Exchange

Newark, Notts
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1
Persons: 2-3
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 20796
Country: England

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Last Updated: March 20, 2018

Hello, we are Jane and Dave. We live in a small village in rural Lincolnshire in the East of England where we keep bees, chickens and pigs (pigs only during May-November) and grow fruit and vegetables in our large garden.

Weve travelled a lot ourselves, so its great to welcome people from around the world into our own home. We get the benefit of all the help with the animals, the garden and our various projects and enjoy the company of so many interesting people. Our volunteers seem to be happy too, have a look at our reviews to see if this is a home-stay you would enjoy.

Please do read our profile fully before you apply, as it helps us to decide between the many applications we get.

Weve been hosting HelpXrs for several years, as well as volunteers from other similar sites. For 2018 we'd like to welcome couples, families or single people who really aspire to our values and life style and who would like to join us in improving our garden for the future. We need practical, handy, competent people who can recognise what needs to be done, take the initiative and help to make it happen.

This is a home stay, you live as part of the family, and it is really important for us to know that know that we will all get on well together. Part of living as a family also involves helping with ordinary household chores in addition to the 'work' that you do - simple things like washing up, hanging out the laundry, helping with cooking - whatever needs to be done. It works best for us when people just slot in and take their share in anything that needs to be done. We'll always make sure that you have enough free time to do whatever you want to do. Here is a snapshot of our 2017 year with HelpX volunteers and others from similar sites.

The volunteering year starts in the spring, when were beginning to get the garden ready for the coming year. Anthony, from France, started the year for us. Its the time when were beginning to get the garden ready for the coming year, so he was helping outside and then, when the weather turned bad we made use of his painting skills to help with indoor decorating.

Our next volunteers cleaned the greenhouses, turned the compost, weeded the vegetable plots and generally helped with all the preparation for the summer. Memories of Camille, from France, barrowing horse muck and Madoka, from Japan, spinning honey. With Madoka we went to visit the Japanese garden that is a few miles from here wed driven past it so many times and never visited, but having someone staying from Japan prompted us to go and see what it was all about. Laura, from Spain, arrived while Madoka was here pure coincidence that she had an extraordinary passion for everything Japanese and happened to be here at the same time! And, by coincidence again, another Laura, from Switzerland, overlapped with the first Laura. She built a new bee-hive for us!

Julia and Rodrigo, helped us over the period that we were away at our sons wedding, so they really had the job of doing everything to look after the chickens and the garden and it was great to have them here. Just before they left we collected our three new piglets.

Aran, from South Africa, enjoyed getting to know the pigs and learning how to look after them. He spent a lot of time with them and hell definitely keep his own pigs one day if he can! June is the month for collecting elderflower and making elderflower wine, and perhaps Aran and Jan, who by this time had arrived from Hong Kong, will be back later this year to try some. It was also the time for the Southwell folk festival. Yan decided that camping out at the festival was not for her, but she did come along for the day and even tried Morris dancing. It was Yan who wanted to see the stars, so we walked down to the fields one night and lay on our backs watching the sky and talking.

Ali and Greg, from New Zealand, started off the great garage extension for us, using all Gregs knowledge and skills, which we hugely appreciated. Caroline and Felix came from France and looked after the place on their own for a while so that we could go on holiday. And then there was Chao who came to us from Taiwan and was here at the same time as David, a volunteer from Switzerland. It was great to see the sharing and appreciation of the diverse cultures and together we took trips to watch jousting at Bolsover Castle and enjoy an Indian festival and Indian food in Leicester. David did brick laying for the first time as he helped us with our garage extension.

We love it when people re-visit, so it was really special this year when Aino, from Russia, came back with her boyfriend and Colin from Switzerland returned after 3 years and was here at the same time as Jailu, a student from China. Yet again we enjoyed watching the cultural exchange as these young people worked together and enjoyed each others company.

Then Bernadette and Justin arrived from France and Australia, great practical people who helped out, amongst other things, putting up the rafters for our garage extension. They came along with us to our local folk club, and both sung.

Finally, we welcomed Radhika from New Zealand (who also sung at the folk club) and Helen from Germany. Radhika was here for a very short 10 days, but felt like part of the family by the time she left. When Dave injured his arm, and couldn't do the normal day to day tasks like keeping the fire going and cleaning out the pigs, Helen really took over and her help was invaluable. Thank you so much Helen.

To end the year, Aran came back to visit and brought us a Christmas pudding that hed made himself. Unfortunately, by that time there was no elderflower wine left to sample but there was plenty of apple wine left and even some cherry. And thats how we ended 2017 a fabulous year with great people and now we look forward to 2018.

So if you join us in 2018 you could be weeding, mucking out pigs, digging vegetable plots, building paths, painting, harvesting vegetables, spinning honey, making country wine and a whole range of other activities. If the weather is bad there is always house cleaning and organising to be doing! We try to match tasks to your skills and we are happy to teach you. We really appreciate people who are competent, practical, hard working and able to take the initiative and think about what needs to be done. If you think you'd be able to help with any of the above, let us know, and tell us what experience you have already.

You'll have your own room and use of a shared bathroom with any other volunteers who are here. We all eat together and spend a lot of time in the kitchen working and talking, and you are welcome to use the sitting room in the evenings to watch television, play chess, play the guitar, play cards, read etc.

In return for your great help and company we enjoy taking our helpers out and about at weekends if you would like to see more of the area. We could go walking in the beautiful Peak District, visit places of historic interest, look around some of our interesting cities - whatever you most enjoy. We also like taking our volunteers to the local folk club and, although Dave always tries to persuade people to sing, you really don't have to!

We can generally be quite flexible about which days you help so this can also be a great opportunity to use our house as a base for a few weeks, helping and taking time off to explore places a bit further away. We are in a rural location, with no amenities, so you need to be comfortable keeping yourself occupied when you are not working - whether it is reading a book, using the internet, painting or whatever your own interests are. We have a wide range of books that you can borrow and you can use our wireless internet and TV. There is countryside all around to explore on foot or by bike and we can often offer lifts to the nearby towns in your spare time. Newark is a lovely market town. Lincoln is a small, historic, university town with a beautiful cathedral. Further away there is Nottingham or York and we are on the main train line for London, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

We don't smoke, so if you do smoke we ask that you only ever smoke outside. We eat meat but if you are vegetarian, we don't mind and will try to give you an alternative to meat. It is difficult for us to provide a vegan diet though, as we eat a lot of eggs and dairy produce. As a general rule we don't take people under the age of 22 unless they are used to travelling and living independently.

We look forward to meeting you in 2018. This is a homestay, so it's really important for us to be confident that we will all enjoy eachother's company. So if you write to us, tell us why you'd like to stay and make sure that you include a photograph.

Best wishes
Jane and Dave

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