help exchange   Host 19475
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: 1-2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 19475
Country: England

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Last Updated: June 9, 2017

I live in the London borough of Walthamstow - a thriving, creative, multi-cultural patch of north-east London. I'm looking for people who would like to sample a bit of London life in return for helping me to help me create a house and garden that are both "beautiful and useful".

*June 2017 update: This summer's main project is to dig out a wildlife pond & harvest water with guttering into water butts and the pond.
I am keen to host mature single or couple helpers who have experience with such work.

Your accommodation would be in the spare bedroom; it's not large, but big enough for a comfortable double bed. You will share the house bathroom and kitchen. There's Wi-fi. Whilst I'm happy to provide food, it would be great if you enjoy cooking; either just for yourself or sharing. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet but am not in the least strict about it & don't mind you cooking/eating meat for yourself.

There is easy access to central London - the 'tube' (London Underground) is a 15 minute walk (or hop on a bus) to Walthamstow Central, on the Victoria line, which takes you straight into the middle of London. There's also an overground train from Walthamstow Central that goes to Liverpool Street station, in the heart of the 'City' district of London. I travel a lot myself so am happy to provide directions/advice/recommendations/maps if you don't know London already - and always willing to share stories over a glass of wine or hot chocolate ;-).

Locally, there is a swimming pool & gym at the top of the road; a fabulous yoga studio, two great cafes nearby with wi-fi & other great cafes I can recommend and direct you to. The William Morris gallery just two blocks away celebrates the designer and social reformer and, again, has a great cafe, and sits in the grounds of a beautiful old Victorian park. (William Morris said you should have in your home only things that you "know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"). All this is within walking distance, or you can borrow the spare bicycle & explore further afield, down the Lea Valley river/canal towpath or into nearby Epping Forest. Back at home, I have an extensive collection of fiction, both classical and contemporary, and a couple of shelf-fuls of french literature, as well as non-fiction (psychology, art, travel, gardening and cooking) that you are welcome to read in your time off.

I would like to hear from people who are capable of working independently, at least some of the time, working on specific home improvement tasks. I'm looking for people with real practical experience to help with house-renovation projects (e.g. reclaiming bits of old wood for new projects). I have a number of projects to get the house in good shape. These include designing and putting up shelves, painting walls, ceilings and woodwork, reclaiming scaffold boards for shelving.

I am not purist about living organically, but do much prefer living without too much waste, and using natural materials.

Outside, there is a 100 foot / 30 metre garden which is currently laid out simply with shrubs & some grass. There's lots of potential and I am intrigued by permaculture principles of garden (and other) design, so anyone who can help me think about this too would be very welcome. Outdoor jobs include digging out a pond, building a wooden shelter from recycled wood, and garden maintenance appropriate to the season.

Although there are some facilities I can't provide, such as accommodation for anyone unable to manage stairs, I won't discriminate against anyone on the grounds of age, gender, sexuality or - kind of obviously for HelpX - cultural heritage.

Finally - I can offer you a personal introduction to HelpX host no. 23946 for a beautiful alternative stay in the countryside of South Wales!

If any or all of this interests you, please write and say what relevant skills & experiences you have to offer and what skills or experiences you are looking to gain. If you don't have HelpX references yet, please provide contacts for two people I can write to. Thanks.

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