help exchange   Host 12646
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Travel directions easy
All Year: Yes(Long-term Help)
Area (ha): 2 1/2 acres
Persons: 1
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 12646
Country: France

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Last Updated: September 6, 2018

We live in a lovely region of France, not too far from Paris by train, with our friendly animals on two and a half acres of land. We have donkeys, sheep, a goat, chickens, friendly dogs and an alpaca in our animal family.

We're from the UK originally, we have lived in many different countries, and love to meet people from all different backgrounds and cultures. We welcome helpers throughout the year.

You are welcome to stay if you enjoy it here. We really would like a LONG-TERM helper also.

Helpers very welcome who have a VALID DRIVING LICENCE and are VERY enthusiastic/efficient and experienced with PRACTICAL things- for example: tidying of the garden; DIY; fencing; tree and shrub pruning; grass mowing; painting; yes, some housework (is quick to do, but priority before outdoor jobs); caring for the animals including mucking out; helping with grooming and feeding; shopping. It will depend on when you are here as to exactly what will need doing. NEATNESS/TIDINESS/HYGIENE very important !!! You may be working a lot on your own, as we are very busy.
Also house-sitting and caring for animals while we're away on business trips.

We always try to see things from a helper's point of view because we also have travelled, stayed with families and helped out in return. We know the challenges and homesickness that helpers can experience.

Our home is comfortable and welcoming; shower; free laundry; wifi (need to bring personal laptop); self-prep of own/group meals with good food provided (let us know if you have a particular diet); bicycles/helmets available. Accommodation is in comfortable bedroom in the house, or in a very comfortable caravan - room or caravan both with lovely countryside outlook. Tents/toilet on our land for summer, and indoors if weather is thundery. Kitchen available for one hour for cooking at breakfast-, lunch-, dinner-time. Lounge and TV, Books, Board Games etc available all day until 11pm.
We like helpers to join in and not stay for long periods in their tents/room. There are sometimes groups of helpers, at other times you may be the only helper here.
We appreciate those helpers who accept learning how we do things here in the home and garden and with the animals, which is not necessarily how helpers do things in their own home or elsewhere. Initiative is a highly valued quality, BUT following instructions exactly without questioning here is the main quality we are looking for in a helper until we get to know them. We have often found that helpers cause us ourselves to do more work clearing up, cleaning and tidying after helpers - so please be prepared to leave rooms, showers, toilets, kitchen, land, shed organisation exactly as you find them. We're sorry to have to explain this.

The journey is approximately two hours from Paris by train and then around an hour and half by bus to the house. Details provided on application. Please research the journey and how to get to the house.

We take helpers for interesting trips around the countryside and to other towns in return for 6 hours of work a day (you just stop when you decide you've done your completed hours), with a complete day off on Sunday. This works out to more than a day off, because trips out to other places with us are also half or full days. Home is around 1 mile reasonably flat bike-ride or walk from town. We prefer to welcome helpers who enjoy and profit from their outings to town or with us showing you the area. We can sometimes take you or collect you by car if the weather isn't good.

It's a relaxed, non-routine/non-structured way of life here, so the day isn't fixed to a time-table. You don't need to get up too early (as we are sometimes very late risers) - if the hours of help are put in later in the day. We prefer helpers who make a good effort to join in as part of the family and who make an effort to pack a picnic, for example, and go out and explore the area themselves too.

If you would enjoy - relaxing, sight-seeing, exchanging stories, card games or board games (if there are enough players), learning from others etc. If you are, as we are, easy-going, always trying to be Non-Judgmental about others, if you don't make assumptions about situations and people, and accept that judgements and assumptions need to be based on facts, the life-experiences and background of other people, which may be very different than your own - i.e. we need to have walked in the shoes of the other person in order to really understand them.

There is little time for explanations, and getting to know each other on a deep level on relatively short visits - therefore you are not likely to be able to form good judgements and make assumptions about others, neither are we. Of course we all make certain judgements and assumptions about others, but the key is to be aware of, and careful of what we do. What is needed in our view is respectful/empathic/good-hearted/support of us, and US for YOU/appreciation/ encouragement, and a GREAT sense of humour and fun... If you're gentle and caring and would genuinely love interacting with us and our animals, including our three people-loving dogs who will give you loud heartfelt welcomes and act as an alarm-clock in the mornings; then come and enjoy the countryside with us! You're very welcome!

(Smokers welcomed - Outside available for smoking)

N.B. .......We have some great reviews from all those wonderful helpers who have easily and happily settled here by just helping out as they would do in their own family, and we ask you to please read our reply to the one-star review - Click on 'View Host's Reply to this Review' . To be fair to future helpers, we want to draw their attention to the review. - Below are extracts from emails from other Helpers and other Hosts' points of view.

"Sounds serious, but I hope you not to lose your confidence on other helpers, and of course, I wouldn't change my mind to visit you or feel worried!
On the contrast, I have to thank you for giving me the chance to join your life, and I have to say that the change in your listing on HelpX is absolutely reasonable.
Each family has their own rules, we are the guests, and we should follow the rules!"

"Oh dear it's ashame you've had such a bad experience, but I think anyone
that reads the reply will see the causes of the incident. I really liked
you're profile when I went on first and that hasn't changed so hopefully
everyone else that is scheduled to come will see it through. :)

I read your reply and it was cool to find out that some of the animals you
have were rescued, will be interesting to hear more about that. After
reading the new profile I have not changed my mind what so ever and look
forward to coming, I'm just planning on stealing a pair of my Dads boots
and slippers now. :P

LASTLY, a couple of example OPINIONS FROM some OTHER different HOSTS :

"We have asked two helpers to leave, each only stayed a
couple of nights. We could have
been rather negative when writing comments/a review about
the helpers as they didn't work well for us
BUT we heard later they had got on well else
where. Some people fit in and some people don't -
comments on helpers wouldn't be helpful and
might bias potential hosts and are very subjective
by nature. Hope these comments are helpful."

"We have just pulled our entry on a helper/host site
due to one very unreasonable dissatisfied
helper. Due to a helper review which we regard as unfair. There are always helpers who think
their opinion should contradict the others. (Helper and Hosts can misuse the site) So, I am
dead against reviews and references because of opportunity
to abuse the system. "

(We need you to provide us with certain specific things/information about yourself, so that we can have confidence in you, and for our security - HelpX suggests that we do that.)
(Helpers with police clearance will be welcomed.)
Take care and enjoy your travels.

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