New volunteers join the crew in south-west France.

New volunteers join the crew in south-west France.

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It has been a hectic period here at La Giraudiere with many new volunteers arriving and many saying their farewells. This week we had some new arrivals willing to step up for Team LG, three Londoners and a Glaswegian; Robert, David, Roy and Natalie. The veterans of the group helped us get acquainted with life at La Giraudiere and we soon felt at home.

The first full day for the new volunteers group was soon under way, helping with the restoration of the Old House focussing primarily on the main reception area. Others helped with blogging (this post for example) whilst some are helping to create a new website for the village of Brossac. This should be live next week at Brossac Village. The volunteers are generally helping to turn the derelict into a buzzing centre of life.

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Natalie, kitted out in the most sort after overalls, was making a new seating area for what will be the reception in the Old House. Natalie a third year undergraduate student  is studying Quantity Surveying so the seats should hopefully be here to stay.

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David, spent his first day repairing and testing all of LG’s bicycles. Thanks to him the volunteers and interns will be able to go for a group bike ride in the near-future.

Roy Old House Plastering

Dr Roy, a retired general practioner from Scotland, was learning how to plaster. A major change for a man who previously would have plastered your broken limbs.

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John spent the day repointing and tidying up the brickwork of the old fireplace in the Old House. The plan is for the fireplace to eventually be restored to its original red brick appearance and with this it is one step closer to a full restoration.

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We must say farewell to Niamh, whose volunteer career in France was cut short too soon. Niamh from Ireland worked on the blogging, the gardening and also in the Old House. You are sadly missed. We hope she enjoys her further travels in France.

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Jimmy from New Zealand is here on an internship and is helping with the smooth running of La Giraudiere. His current pet project is the new Brossac village website.

More blog posts by our volunteers are soon to follow.

 

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Volunteers’ weekend adventures : Exploring French villages

Weekend away and learning French.

After finishing three rewarding days of work the volunteers began their weekend of fun the best way possible: the concert at the lake. What a magical night it was. We all sat on the grass among the locals sipping our drinks and enjoying the unique performance by the talented group ‘The Bukatribe’. We also got a chance to chat to the group afterwards which was an excellent way of helping us excel in French. And we even got a picture! Lucky us!!!

concert at the lake

Sunset at the lake while enjoying the concert.

We rose early on Saturday in anticipation of our day trip planned impeccably by Paul. We left La Giraudiere at half 8 heading straight to Bourdeilles – a scenic village located along the river Dronne. The main attraction was certainly ‘Le Château’.  We climbed to the top where we met a breathtaking view – certainly worth the seemingly never ending stairs we climbed.

chateau de bourdeilles

Château de Bourdeilles.

 

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The view from the castle

Next we headed to Brantôme –  my favourite place I have visited so far. L’ambiance était magnifique!!! Lunch consisted of delicious gallettes, omelettes and salads in an excellent restaurant;. After dining we had a leisurely stroll along the river and into the shops where we all bought some small presents for our family. Then we explored the historical Abbey before heading to our next destination – Aubettere sur Dronne. The most impressive feature of this village was, of course the church. We spent the evening chatting to Paul’s friends while enjoying a drink and a crepe. This was an excellent opportunity to practice our French. We all tried our best to engage in conversation. They even invited us to vist them in La Rochelle!!!

brantome river

Brantôme

What a wonderful weekend of exploring three scenic historical villages and practicing our French after a week spent volunteering.

 

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Working abroad in France.

A day working abroad in France.

After a delicious pasta bake made by Olivia for dinner, last night came to a close with a wonderful game of cards whilst watching the sunset. We shared stories about our home towns, our travels and our hopes for the future. I loved listening to all Rhian’s stories about her travels to places such as California, Africa and New Zealand. What a ‘formidable’ way to spend an evening working abroad. Then, we all happily headed to bed eager to start more work tomorrow.

Today saw the group doing a variety of tasks.                                                                       Olivia used her french skills to translate the Brossac village’s website from english to french. Kathryn had the very important role of answering emails and scheduling the dates of future volunteers. Later she analysed La Giraudiere’s accounts. Joanna spent the day up on the ladder painting the shutters. The difference a bit of paint makes!!! The place looks great!

Olivia working

Olivia working hard translating

 

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Kathryn doing the accounts

Joanna working

Joanna painting

Rhian got kitted out in her work gear as she spent the morning gardening. She trimmed the plants and raked away any unwanted debris. The garden is looking better already!! Unfortunately as we moved into the afternoon the rain arrived so Rhian decided to fix the bikes. I’m already looking forward to our cycle this evening!

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Rhian out in the garden

 

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Niamh writing the blog

 

The plan for tonight is very exciting as we are hosting a barbeque with the neighbours and then heading down to the lake for the concert and perhaps a crepe!! Hopefully the weather stays in our favour! It certainly sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening after a rewarding day working abroad in France.

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Two new volunteers hit up the French countryside.

Volunteers in French Countryside

Here I am, writing my first blog post after my first sleep at La Giraudiere. And what a wonderful sleep it was!! Upon my arrival I met a group of warm friendly easygoing people. All my nerves quickly vanished as they ensured I happily settled in to the scenic countryside. Luckily I arrived just in time for lunch. We had a tasty lunch of salads, crispy bread and delicious noodles lounging outside in the warm sunshine.

And then down to the lake we headed.  After a leisurely stoll through the breathtaking countryside of Brossac we arrived at the famous lake. It certainly was everything I anticipated and more!! The beach was full with laughter from sunbathers, swimmers and those playing volleyball.

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two new volunteers enjoying their first day.

I was excited to hear that there would be another arrival- a lovely woman from Wales who has volunteered here two times already. It was so interesting to hear her great experience as a volunteer on this wonderful program in the french countryside and to hear how La Giraudiere has developed since her last visit – 5 years ago.Then it was time for dinner which consisted of a mouthwatering chicken strawberry and avocado salad served with delicious garlic bread all made by Joanne, one of the  volunteers. Once again we ate outside as the sun began to set in the distance. We topped that off with some melon and then ice cream and drinks at the lovely restaurant Quai Sud that overlooks the lake.

After a wonderful day of strolling the french countryside, meeting the other volunteers who I’m sure will become lifelong friends and getting to practice my french with the locals I quickly fell asleep eager for the next 3 weeks as a volunteer here in the picturesque countryside of Brossac, France.

dinner time volunteers

evening dinner in the french countryside

 

 

 

 

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Why southwestern France?

Why southwestern France?

In the days of computers and google, it makes the world a smaller place! Like many of those before me, they asked themseves the same kind of questions. Where to go to achieve my goals and desires? Aha now to the computer, and the search is on!

Improve my French, volunteer, intern, travel, adventure, exploration…whatever your reason may be, there are endless posibilites! I found La Giraudiere to be the perfect place for me! It is a place that welcomes individuals from everywhere, who want to share their talents and passions, while exploring France.

As I depart, a piece of my heart remains at La Giraudiere, along with the new friends that I have made (the family we formed)! La Giraudiere offered a new perspective of living, learning and exploring from within France! Au revoir for now!

Final farewell at the Club house

Final farewell at the Club house

 

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