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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: December 1, 2017

...We would like to find one very competent person or a couple to stay up to Christmas to help out with day to day tasks with the house and animals...

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 June-November) and grow fruit and vegetables in our large garden.

We’ve travelled a lot ourselves, so it’s 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 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 homestay you would enjoy.

We’ve been hosting HelpXrs for several years, as well as volunteers from other similar sites. We are full now for the rest of the year but maybe we'll see you in 2018. Here is a snapshot of our 2017 HelpX year.

Anthony started the HelpX year for us. It’s the time when we’re 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. Julia and Jose arrived to help us out over the period that we were going to be away at our son’s 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.

June was the time for collecting elderflower and making elderflower wine and for going to 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 and she said she’d come back later in the year to see how the pigs had grown and to taste the wine she’d helped to make.

Ali and Greg, from New Zealand,started off the great garage extension for us, using all Greg’s 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 different cultures and together we took trips to watch jousting at Bolsover Castle and and enjoy an Indian festival and Indian food in Leicester.

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 two young people worked together and enjoyed each others company.

Now the year is coming to an end and we are thinking forward to welcoming people next year. We hope to hear from you if you are planning your travels in the UK during 2018. We are particularly keen to hear from practical, competent couples or families who wouldn’t mind looking after the house, garden and animals without us for part of their time here, to free us up to spend a little more time away.

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.

Our garden is large and our time tends to go in to looking after the animals and the veg plots more than the landscaping. We do have some flower borders as well though, so if you'd enjoy taking those in hand and have the knowledge to do so it would be really appreciated.

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.

This is a homestay, 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 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. When you write do tell us plenty about yourself, your likes, interests, reason for travelling, why you think you would enjoy staying with us and what skills and experience you can offer. Please could you also make sure that you have a picture on your profile.

Thank you for reading to the end of this profile! Please tell us that you've done so in the first line of your message to us. We get lots of applications and it helps us to work out who is serious about wanting to stay with us and who is just 'spamming' lots of people without really reading the profiles.

We look forward to hearing from you!
Jane and Dave

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