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help exchange   Host 50714
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 0.5
Persons: 1 or 2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 50714
Country: Scotland

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Last Updated: October 8, 2017

News update - Coming up to Christmas we have a mixture of indoor and outdoor tasks depending on your skills. Indoors there will be woodworking, painting a floor and windows, moving furniture about; outdoors there's preparing the veg beds for next season, cutting hedges, collecting leaves. We also had a huge fruit harvest so now we're making lots of things from apples - preserves, juice, cider, and crisps!

Here's the bigger picture - we have a long term project renovating and extending a lovely 400 year old house and garden about half an hour north of Edinburgh. We like to work with the character and detail of the original building, using traditional materials and techniques where possible, so - for example - we have done repairs to lath and plaster in lime, and made our own shutters and panelling to match the originals. Outdoors we’re trying to grow our own fruit and veg, and make a beautiful garden in time! We would love some help with small building and finishing works, and trying to get the garden tidier and more productive! The photos give an idea – it’s work in progress – things we’ve done and some of what’s left to do!
We are John [at home] and Dilys [still working] – whose kids have recently headed off, leaving us with lots of space for guests. We started hosting last Autumn and have really enjoyed the experience of meeting people from different parts of the world and finding we all have so much in common!
We are looking for people – singles, friends or a couple – who are practical and interested in old buildings or gardens; preferably with some building or growing skills, or keen to learn. We are a good way into our project but there are woodworking and plumbing jobs inside, and lots of painting indoors and out. Outside we would like help with the veg beds, keeping the garden tidy, and chopping fire wood. We also want to set up a polytunnel and greenhouse, and to build some sheds. Longer term there’s ornamental blacksmithing to make new gates.
Work would be for 28 hours a week, ideally spread over 4 week days, leaving 3 days free for a long weekend, but we are happy to arrange it differently if you prefer.
Accommodation would be in a twin/ double bedroom with own shower room; other rooms around the house would be shared with us but there is plenty of space for privacy, peace and quiet. There’s a games room with table tennis, bikes and tents to borrow, a big TV, and there’s WIFI. We like good food and enjoy cooking [meat, fish and veg] - we would provide meals but we've found with other helpers that taking turns to cook for each other has been great fun. We like experimenting with preserving and curing, so you could have a go at smoking salmon, curing bacon or making sausages. This is a no-smoking household.
We live in the countryside, with many places to walk or bike locally, but we’re close to the small historic village of Culross and 15 minutes’ drive to Dunfermline - the nearest town. We are happy to give lifts to nearby bus stops from where the buzz of Edinburgh is about 30 minutes and Glasgow 50 minutes away. There would be opportunities to head up to the Highlands, and - if you share the passion - to climb Scotland’s mountains or to go to yoga and pilates classes with us! There would also be a chance to get involved with the local community in Culross, including rebuilding the pier, quiz nights, and the Old School Yard Community Garden [which we were very involved in creating].
Helpers would normally stay for an initial 2 weeks, when we would review the arrangement, and if we are getting on well together and we have enough tasks to keep you interested, we might be happy to extend!

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