We've just been invited to my brother's 50th wedding anniversary on 7 Sept, and would like to go! We have lots of animals but they should not take up huge amounts of time, the main thing is to have company for our dogs.
We have 9 cats and we doubt you will see much of them as they are shy, 4 collie/colliecross dogs, about 50 chickens (inc chicks – may be sold) in three pens, and 6 small friendly Hebridean ewes plus rams/ram lambs, most hopefully to be sold before the housesit in Sept). The animal duties are mainly in the morning and evening, my husband and I split the care, so in the morning he feeds the cats, dogs and sheep with a few pellets, checks their water – which probably takes 15 minutes in all, and I do the chickens, which as I have several mums and chicks at the moment probably takes me half an hour plus. The dogs need a half hour walk or so morning and evening. In the evening I shut up the hens, taking 10 minutes or so, but I often stop on the way round to admire the view etc! and he again feeds and checks the water for the dogs, cats and sheep. We live on a steep hill and so you need to be able to negotiate uneven terrain. The sheep are usually completely trouble free, the lambs very occasionally get their heads stuck in the fence, but we will have no young lambs at the time of the sit. Previous house sitters have usually been couples, but we have had several very capable single sitters, we do have an introductory couple of days whilst we're here so sitters can get a grasp of the details, and the animals can get to know you, and we also leave instructions. We do prefer people not to go out for more than 5 hours as the dogs get lonely, we give people the opportunity to stay for longer if they wish after our return so long days out could be arranged for then. We've made some good friends- and the dogs especially enjoy making new friends!
The location is what sold us the house, we are situated in a nature reserve and have magnificent views over our land and walnut field, then valleys and hills of a well wooded attractive countryside, reminiscent of the Cotswolds, for many miles. We have no immediate neighbours but we can walk into a lively village with a full range of shops. As the air is usually clear we can see distant villages on the far side of the Dordogne. This is a wonderful area for nature, with many plants, animals, insects and birds new to me, from hoopoes and golden orioles to praying mantis. On the property we've 3 houses which all still need some work. We live in one of the houses which offers comfort & stunning views for miles. There is UK and french TV, wifi ( 9.6mbps), all the usual comforts of home including outside seating, 2 shady terraces with stunning views, and an open sunny terrace with again with stunning views both near and far. Sitters will stay in a finished ensuite bedroom in a partially renovated gite but make use of our living room and kitchen. We expect sitters to keep the house in a reasonable condition, but the bedroom/ensuite in the gite should be kept pristine as this will be newly finished and will be our livelihood! We are happy for people to stay a few days longer than our absence (we'll probably be gone for a week) so you can travel further afield, with the possiblility of a longer stay if you wish to help us out with work such as moving roof tiles from the field, the walnut harvest if it's early, or even possibly renovation help depending on your skills.
We are near the lively town of Meyssac ( less than 1 mile, so walkable) which has a twice weekly market, several bars/restaurants, a complete range of shops, a supermarket, doctors/dentists. There are many plus beaux villages nearby, it is a favourite area for French holidaymakers. Meyssac is only 1 km from touristy Collonges la Rouge, and we can see the balloon ascensions from Rocamadour from our balcony! Rocamadour is about 45 minutes cross country drive, there are many lovely nearer towns and villages, Beaulieu sur Dordogne, Turenne, Curemonte, Martel, Autoire, Argentat, Bretenoux to name but a few. There are also several cave systems, castles, a small local wine industry, and stunning countryside with some lovely walks, and of course all the activities associated with a big river like the Dordogne. We are a half hour cross country drive on country roads from the Ryanair airport of Brive, and about 7 hours on mainly free motorways from Dieppe (Newhaven – Dieppe is our preferred route from the UK).