For the past 10 days or so we have been hidden away in this remote farm house, near the unassuming little town of Bussiere-Poitevine. The region of Haute-Vienne, in the Limousin department is not one of the famous areas of France, but it seems, home to many British expats…
We are in the home of the lovelies Dutch/English couple, who are lovingly restoring this stunning 17th Century farm house. The house is charming, as is the surrounding area. Lush, green and with many rivers and creeks flowing, interspersed by villages and fields. The area is know for sheep and goat farming and not much else but it is its remoteness, quiet charm that is so appealing to us. The kids have been loving it too. Amongst other things, there are 3 donkeys, ducks, geese and chickens (both with offsprings), 2 dogs and several cats…There is a river nearby with canoes, but best of all is the feeling of stillness. We have felt so far away from the outside word, cocooned with nature and the natural rhythms. The past few days, we have felt incredibly grateful for this little oasis, for nature and the company we have shared.
So, it is safe to say that our first Workaway post has been a success. For those of you who don’t know, Workaway is like Woofing. You work 5h/day in exchange for room and board. But Workaway is not strictly on organic farms, but can be hosted by anyone with a spare room and a job to do. For us the main motivation has been to reduce the cost of travel somewhat. During our time, there is obviously no fuel cost and only minimal food (I bought extras to cover the ever hungry kids). But more than that, it is a way to discover an area for a longer period, so experience the rhythm of life, so different from travelling. We have met some lovely people and enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of our hosts.
While Piers has worked on different projects, I have literally de-weeded the entire veggie patch over 7 days. From a completely overgrown garden, we have re-created and unearthed plots for onions, potatoes, beans, tomatoes and strawberries. While the first few days were hard, my body has adjusted to the permanently hunched over position and while I am no longer in pain, I will probably never stand straight again…But it has been the most satisfying project and once finished, we have had a chance to drive around the area and visit other villages..
We are leaving in 2 days for a few days in the Bordeaux region, before making our way slowly back east to Switzerland, to spend some time with Anna and Mat and the kids as well as my mum. Which is possibly the highlight for our kids. And it will be just awesome to show our Aussie friends a little bit of my home and some real swiss mountains.
Below are some pic of our time at La Gembretiere, then a few snapshots of the villages with explored.
A little handy tip for those planning to travel through France…so far, we have found some Supermarkets more expensive than others. On the pricier side is Carrefour, while Netto and Aldi are low and Intermarche in the middle. Lowest diesel price was by far found at Intermarche.
Hope you are well