Cheering on the Bleus in Brossac

Cheering on the Bleus in Brossac

Tuesday evening was an especially exciting one in France with the victory of the Bleus, and volunteers at La Giraudière definitely didn’t miss out on the excitement in Brossac.

The Bleus, the French football team, was playing against Belgium in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, and the game ended in a French victory with a score of 1-0. France will play against either England or Croatia in Sunday’s finals.

Volunteers at La Giraudière headed down to the clubhouse in Brossac to watch the France vs Belgium game last night, and the atmosphere was lively and intense at the same time.

The clubhouse in Brossac

The clubhouse in Brossac

Everyone in Brossac (minus the Belgians, perhaps!) will be cheering on France this weekend, and we have our fingers crossed that the Bleus will win the 2018 World Cup.

Posted in Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Volunteers’ Arrivals and Departures at La Giraudière in France

Volunteers’ Arrivals and Departures at La Giraudière in France

With the sun smiling down at La Giraudière in France this week, we’ve been happy to welcome four new volunteers.

Justin and Stephanie, who are from Canada, joined us Sunday evening. Both pharmacists, the couple is taking a year off to travel the world. They have traveled far and wide, from Sri Lanka to Italy, and now to France. Since they have been here, Justin and Stephanie have spent their first day at work outdoors, clearing the path of twigs scattered by last week’s windstorm.

Volunteers gardening

Stephanie and Justin gardening

Jean and Helen also joined us from Australia to volunteer at La Giraudière. Jean is a retired accountant, but is opening a café with her daughter, and Helen has her own business selling handcrafted soaps. On the first workday this week, Helen has been helping Viv with the housekeeping. Meanwhile, Jean, who worked hard in the garden this morning, is lending a hand to Christine in accounting. Both Jean and Helen hope to improve their French while they are here.

Our new volunteer Helen

Our new volunteer Helen

Our new volunteer Jean

Our new volunteer Jean

This morning, we also sadly had to say goodbye to longtime volunteer Linda, who was an amazing housekeeper (in addition to other things) during her six-week stay. She enjoyed interacting with different personalities, as well as improving standards of maintenance for the rooms. After a tour around other parts of France, Linda will go back home to Denmark.

Volunteer with certificate

Linda with her volunteer certificate

We’re excited to work with our new volunteers, and hope those who have departed will come back to France.

Posted in Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Giraudière Takes a Hit from Violent Storm in Brossac

La Giraudière Takes a Hit from Violent Storm in Brossac

On Wednesday evening, a whirlwind of destruction blew into La Giraudière as a violent storm hit Brossac and the whole of southwest France. Furious winds at a speed of 160km/hr blew into town just before dinner, making trees sway and windows rattle. Soon after, we heard the rumble of thunder, and rain began to fall in torrents.

Just half an hour later, the sky cleared up, but the damage from the unexpected storm had already been done. Outside in the garden, plants were blown over; and some roses clung onto their stems for dear life. A tree was even blown down across the road, but thankfully our neighbor farmer M. Philippe Condemine cleared the tree with his tractor.

The worst of the storm’s wrath, however, saw itself manifested inside the house. Water that had been driven through windows and doors flooded the floors of some apartments, and even worse, upstairs in one apartment, the wind had put enough pressure on the bedroom wall to cause it to explode. Cracks split through the wall, even revealing some of the brickwork inside. We’re looking to get the wall repaired in the coming week.

Cracks in the wall from the violent storm

Cracks in the wall from the violent storm

Another thunderstorm is forecast for today, but we hope that the weather will clear up here at La Giraudière in the following days, with some sun to replace the stormy weather in Brossac.

Posted in France, Holiday with a difference, vacation france, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Volunteers Wave Goodbye to Life in the French Countryside

Volunteers Wave Goodbye to Life in the French Countryside

In addition to the new volunteers we have just welcomed, we have also sadly had to bid farewell to some valuable members of our team at La Giraudière who left the French countryside in June.

Our American volunteer Anna, who stayed with us for three weeks, contributed greatly to office work, gardening, and social media while she was here. She is a hard worker who dedicates herself to any task at hand, and during her stay, she enjoyed getting to work with other volunteers, as well as knowing people from all walks of life.

Anna (left) with other volunteers Janis, Venicia, and Christine

Anna (left) with other volunteers Janis, Venicia, and Christine

A few days later, our volunteer Julia from the UK also departed from France. Having stayed here for two weeks, she worked on social media and gardening, and had the opportunity to improve her French by speaking with locals on excursions. For Julia, the experience was valuable both in terms of doing volunteer work and seeing French life.

Julia and other volunteers Catriona, Paul, and Linda enjoying the night out

Julia (left), Paul, and other volunteers Catriona, Christine, Jill and Linda enjoying the night out

Irish volunteer Catriona also left us soon after. During her 3 week stay here, she helped with every aspect of La Giraudière, from housekeeping to office work, to social media and gardening. Being outside in the sunshine and exploring France were the highlights of Catriona’s stay, and we’ll miss her hard work dearly.

Catriona helping to clean at the Brossac stade

Catriona helping to clean at the Brossac stade

Last but certainly not least, we waved goodbye to three volunteers from South Africa – Pam, Zach, and Faith. They all put in great deal of effort into the La Giraudière project, performing tasks like housekeeping, gardening, and office work. With their diverse range of skills in communication, organization, and management, they were a crucial part of improving the project during their stay.

We’re sorry to see our volunteers go, but thank them for their work, and we wish them the very best and hope that they will return to La Giraudière and the French countryside in the future.

Posted in About La Giraudiere, France, Holiday with a difference, Learning French, vacation france, volunteer, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Month Volunteering in France at La Giraudière

A New Month Volunteering in France at La Giraudière

With summer rolling into July, La Giraudière is bustling with activity as usual. We also welcomed three new volunteers here in France, so there are some new faces around.

Anne and Viv from Queensland, Australia joined us Friday evening. Both now retired, they hope to learn more French, meet new people, and enjoy the rural countryside of France at La Giraudière. Since being here, Anne has been keeping fit by weeding, gardening, and trimming the roses.

Australian volunteer Ann trimming the hedges outside La Giraudière

Australian volunteer Anne trimming the hedges outside La Giraudière

Viv has been working just as hard indoors, learning to take on the position of housekeeper from Linda. She has big shoes to fill after Linda leaves, but is doing a wonderful job cleaning and reorganizing the house. Linda, of course, has been busy with housekeeping and passing on her duties to Viv.

Volunteers Viv and Linda having a laugh while housekeeping at La Giraudière in France

Volunteers Viv and Linda having a laugh while housekeeping at La Giraudière

Also new to the volunteer team is Sybil from Oakland, California. She is going into her last year of high school, and is planning to major in French and Economics. She hopes this experience will help her gain insight into French life and culture, and allow her to meet more native French speakers. Her main role has been working on blogging and social media.

Volunteer working on the blog at La Giraudière

Sybil working on the blog at La Giraudière

Our other veteran volunteers have been keeping busy in France as well. Jill has been responding to incoming emails, while Christine is hard at work accounting.

Volunteer in France going through emails at the computer

Our volunteer Jill going through emails at the computer

volunteer doing accounts

Our volunteer Christine doing accounts

Posted in France, Learning French, vacation france, volunteer, Volunteering | Tagged , , | Leave a comment