The winning entry in our home exchange story competition
We were delighted to receive many lovely home swap stories in the competition to win a Kindle announced in the August issue of Home Swappers newsletter.
Choosing a winner was very difficult but we are now pleased to announce our winner is Sheila Lamare, a long-time Home Base Holidays member who lives in Prayssac, France. We felt Sheila's story perfectly encapsulated what home exchange is all about - cherished memories that don't depend on how grand a home is or how exotic the location. Here's Sheila's winning story:
Experienced exchangers, we've travelled the world, with a string of wonderful exchanges in Australia, Sweden, Paris, Florida, Somerset and Cape Cod. Of course, over the years, we've stayed in some beautiful homes, enjoyed fantastic views and exotic locations, as well as making long lasting friends.
Although we've travelled far and wide, one of our happiest exchanges was neither too far from home, nor was it a long swap, as we stayed for about ten days in London, tagging the exchange on to the end of a visit with family in Cornwall before our train journey back home to France. On the face of it, not the most exciting of exchanges.
How wrong I was! From the very beginning there was something rather special about this exchange. When the owner of the small town house in Camden contacted us, I was interested as it dovetailed so well into our travel arrangements and we enjoy short city visits, so we agreed to a swap and moved on to the usual friendly correspondence. I think that we both realized at about the same time that we had a mutual friend and suddenly it was so serendipity, as though the exchange was meant to be.
Sadly, in the end, it turned out to be a one sided exchange as they couldn't make it over to our house in France, but as their house in Camden was free, we were able to go ahead with the original plan.
What a lovely relaxing week we enjoyed; leisurely meals in the luxuriant roof top garden, days spent wandering around museums and galleries, a glorious sunny day sailing along the Thames to Hampton Court.
As for the house, such a find, an oasis of calm in a quiet street, with friendly neighbours and yet just minutes away from the busy exciting high street. Such an invigorating change from our sleepy French village! Such inspiring window shopping.
My two favourite spots in the house? The amazing roof top garden of course, so verdant and lush, with bees and butterflies enjoying the flowers in the heart of the city, but also the bedroom, such a pretty peach colour, with a sweet balcony awash with scented jasmine and tubs of pink and white foxgloves transporting us back to rural Cornwall.
All in all, an exceptionally good exchange, one that originally did not seem to offer anything special, but which turned out to be a little jewel, sweet and perfect. As they say, from little acorns, mighty oak trees grow, and this exchange will always be a very special memory for me.
Check out Sheila and Daniel's home swap offer - a clean, comfortable little house in Prayssac, Midi-Pyrenees . The house is light and bright, with lots of pictures, quilts and books (and two cats - in photo). It is very private, bordering on woodland with kilometres of walking trails and vines, in one of the most beautiful unspoilt regions of France.