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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: July 8, 2018

Hi, 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 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 are now fully booked for 2018, except for the month of November, and we are interested in hearing from people who would like to stay in 2019.

This is a home stay, you live as part of the family, and it is really important for us to 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.

Our 2018 year so far has been great. We take volunteers from HelpX and elsewhere. The year started with Marie and Renaud from France who spent 2 weeks with us in March. They helped us to finish our garage extension. Renaud was a carpenter so knew exactly what he was doing and it was great to have their help and their company. We enjoyed walking in the Peak District with them and introducing them to stiles Kissing Gates!

A bit later, Simon from the USA joined us. Strong and fit, he trenched last year`s pig land and cleaned out the pig house. It`s a hard job on wet clay soil and we really appreciated how hard he worked. That wasn't all he did, he mowed the grass, cleared the moss off the drive, helped barrow horse muck to put in the trenches - all the jobs that suddenly become important at this time of year. Simon came along to the Folk Club with us and sang a John Denver song which had everyone joining in.

Then we were joined by Lammi from South Korea who has been turning compost, feeding the chickens, trimming hedges and very much helping in the house as he has a real passion for cleaning! We enjoyed a South Korean meal and we really appreciated the day that Lammi worked outside with Dave all day in the rain just because the job of dismantling a greenhouse had to be completed that day.

Elena came at the beginning of May, from Uruguay. She was a natural at picking up what needed to be done in the house and also worked really hard in the garden. She collected our new piglets with us. She's been to the Folk Club with us and sung, and she's been out to watch Dave doing Morris dancing, so she's really getting the chance to see some British traditions! Her son and girlfriend joined us one evening and, to our delight, entertained us with guitar and singing in the garden.

Following Elena, we hosted Steve and Kaye from Australia. They fitted in with our home life just perfectly and we shared many interests and enjoyed their company so much, especially dancing with them at the local folk festival. Their practical skills around the house and garden and Kaye`s cooking will be remembered for a long time.

Sometimes the people that we would like to host just can't make it when we have space, as happened this year with a lovely Dutch family who are travelling with their two children. However, they did call in to see us on their way from Edinburgh to London, parking their campervan in our garden and giving us the pleasure of their company for one evening. It was really great to meet Barry and Natasja, Anouschka and Fiona and we have so much admiration for what they are doing in their travels and education of their children.

Fion and Jeff, a lovely newly-wed couple came from Macau, they were travelling for their honeymoon. It was really interesting to learn more about Macau and to show them our way of life, which is so different.

Now Daniela and her son, Juri, are here from Germany, with a strong interest in culture and history so we are visiting some local castles and houses with them.

We are looking forward to meeting the other people who will be joining us this year. 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, it's really important for us to be confident that we will all enjoy each other`s company. So if you write to us, tell us that you have read our profile and why you'd like to stay and make sure that you include a photograph.

Best wishes
Jane and Dave

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