Someone who's equally happy being on their own or surrounded by people.. who can speak a little French, drive a car and light a fire, and who's handy enough to fix things when they need fixing.
It would be good to have someone creative - musician, writer, artist or sculptor - who could use the space - and the yard, and the outbuildings and our tools - for their work.
Our approach to husbandry is inspired by, but does not follow slavishly, the organic principles of permaculture, so it would be good to have someone who appreciated the same vision. In permaculture, biodiversity and the creativity of nature is channelled for productivity; this is the same positive force that finds creativity from human diversity in our changing world.
Someone who'd be happy to share the house with us, and with whom we'd be happy to share, whether or not we're there at the same time. Someone who will become firm friends with us.
To live in the house, filling it with life and warmth and air - and keeping the weather and wildlife out.
Half-an-hour's gentle weeding a day, except in winter, a working truce with the nettles, buttercup and bindweed to let our fruit and vegetables grow; and as much gardening as you like.
To make your own mark on the house, to remind us of you and which will welcome you back whenever you pass by again.
To cut the grass every now and again, and/or to care for any livestock we might between us agree to keep: we have just four pullets now, but we could keep geese, perhaps, some rabbits, pigeons in the pigeonnier, bees for the trees and honey, and a good mousing housecat.
This year (2009) we are taking a six-month semi-sabbatical, hoping to complete the transformation of our second home - with all the periodic lifelessness that idea entails - into a living entity, permanently occupied by a varying group of people, amongst them us. We have made (and continue to make) many good friends over the last thirty years by sharing our London home with lodgers; we hope to do the same with the house-sitters with whom we will share our French home, whether at the same time or not. So while this involves house-sitting, this isn't a conventional house-sitting assignment: it's about joining and sharing with us - for as long or as little as you are comfortable with it - a project for a lifetime.
The house is a tumble-down farmhouse, its renovation a lifetime's project for us and for our friends. It's now comfortable if far from complete. It's in a tiny hamlet surrounded by other farms, in the north of France where the landscape is more like England than anywhere else.
It's calm, but not always exactly quiet: the neighbour's cattle, cockerels and tractors can be noisy, and at dawn in spring the birds can be deafening. An hour or so after dawn, a cycle ride down along the valley as the sun burns off the morning mist is reward enough, but brings back fresh bread from the bakery for breakfast.
You can sit and watch the swallows flying all day long, and if you want some exercise - there's a garden to dig, or a patch of nettles to scythe (great for a six-pack, they say).
In winter, darkness and cold turn the focus more indoors. Keeping the wood-baskets filled is the first priority: but the woodstove keeps the kitchen cosy. The dial on the door of the oven has a needle pointing at "BAKE" - so it would churlish not to! Perhaps there's some provender from the orchard and the garden in the freezer that could be used?
It'd be ideal for someone whose life has led them to take a break - time and space to write a book, or just to enjoy solitude. There's no bright city life close by.
The house is spacious - plenty of room for visitors. Your guests are our guests and vice-versa. Children, from toddlers to teens, can have great holidays here, and the beach is only half-an-hour away.
For contact with the wider world, there's broadband internet, satellite TV and a landline telephone. By a quirk of local geography, the house lies in a hollow sheltered from mobile phone signals - they work on the first floor.
We work, and have a house, in London, where we can often put you up for a night or two if business or pleasure brings you here.
We will need to meet face to face first, before we can agree anything. This will probably have to be in London (we can put you up for a day or two if necessary, but cannot guarantee anything beyond that).
It's not easily accessible. The nearest shop is about 3km away (the village baker); the nearest town 10km.
It's like the muddy English countryside - but it's France: there are no country pubs.
The neighbours raise cattle. Nothing wrong with that, but with cattle come flies. Food for the swallows and the bats and beautiful big spiders, true, but they don't eat them all.
Although you'd be on your own much of the time, from time to time we come for the weekend or for a bit longer, perhaps with some friends. There's plenty of room for everyone, but for those weekends the tranquility might be broken.