I live in Tanzania, on the slopes of Mount Meru, up a very difficult track, with a large garden, two dogs, two cats, interminable power, internet, and water cuts. Yes, it's beautiful... there are mangos and avocados growing in my garden, and abundant nature is resplendent.
But I want, and need, a break: some time to write and think without worrying about whether I'll be felled by an obscure disease or an opportunistic burglar, or a crazy drunk driver. Which unfortunately is the case here in Tanzania. I'm looking for a house sit with animals and a garden, with easy going arty people who are a bit green and organic, who use wood burning stoves, and have a little bit of local French life not too far away (or are happy to lend the car or motorbike, or let me bring my bicycle!)
Ideally I’d like the option of being able to ride horses once a week, and to visit obscure and gentle small cultural festivals – which are plentiful in France.
I want to house sit to have four-five glorious months of enjoying the first world, and more precisely France, where my parents lived in my twenties and thirties. I speak French, I am mature (in my forties) and resourceful, patient and not much phases me. I'd like to enjoy a different area (while I think about getting my own place) and revel in all the tiny delicacies France offers: fresh croissants. Talkative neighbours. Deserted summer roads. Cow parsley in the fading light. I am a homeowner, and pet owner, (2 cats, 2 dogs, horses and sheep and chickens in the past) so understand and appreciate the need to look after animals, feed them, love them, cuddle them, walk them and look out for signs of trouble. I think I am responsible, organised and not silly: I don't leave taps running, ovens on all night, or fall into wells. I appreciate the honour (and gift) of being trusted to look after someone's home, so I would take it seriously and approach it conscientiously.
Well: I've house-sat for friends on various occasions in London. I am a homeowner since 1997 and have lived in old, tumbledown properties with large gardens, that need maintenance, all my life. Including my current rented home in Tanzania, and a remote French farmhouse over winter (my parents, now deceased, near Mayenne). I can provide references and a deposit. I grew up with ponies, horses, sheep, cows and chickens... and all the other little buggies of rural life. Tanzania is fairly hardcore- the spiders and snakes are poisonous, and mosquitos are no joke!
Honesty. Patience. Trustworthiness. Resourcefulness. Fairness. Humour. Attention to detail, good at communicating and keeping the homeowner 'in the loop'.A sense of perspective. I will tell you if I've mucked up or don't understand. I am not a flapper, or an obsessional or fastidiously tidy person, but I am not grubby either, and not afraid of honest graft. I'm physically fit and tasks like mowing lawns, mucking out horses or rigorous digging ensure I don't, as a writer, become a huge sloth. I do like cooking alot... and making jams, and even cheeses, although not very well, by French standards! I speak good French, have a clean licence. I am a fairly good gardener. As a kid I could even milk cows and goats, I am not sure I could now.
Lot, Bordeaux, Paris, Montpelier, Northern France,
Perpignan, Bordeaux, Paris, Montpelier, Ardeche