I am Marguerite, a new member of the Home Base Holidays home exchange site; however, I am not new to home swaps. My first experience was 30 years ago when I was living in France and raising a family. The only way I could afford to come back to England (having no family here) was to exchange homes!
My first exchange was with an Oxford professor of zoology who had a beautiful medieval home set in large grounds with a swimming pool, set in stunning countryside just outside Oxford. We, by comparison, didn't even have a dishwasher! Nevertheless, his wife, to whom I spoke on the telephone (no internet in those days) recognised my Yorkshire accent, and asked me if I would like to invite friends and family to their home as there was lots of room and plenty of bedrooms. This was my first taste of the generosity and good spirit of exchangers.
My second exchange was to an old vicarage in Pickering. We were very interested to find that our absent host had a great interest in music. Although we did ponder what he might do for a living on regarding the equipment etc, we never did find out; but, on returning to our tiny hamlet in Brittany, we were met by our close neighbour Pepe (grandad) as everybody called him. He informed me that the visitors I had told him about had arrived without problem, but that, a few days later they were joined by a lot of long haired old men who were dropped off in fancy cars, who left lights on and played music, not that they kept anyone awake!
We thought about this, and realised the Rolling Stones were in concert in Paris at the time. Now could Mick Jagger have slept in my bed? I shall never know, but I shall always wonder!
There are many more stories from the past, but for now, to bring us up to date, I have just had, for the first time in nearly 30 years, another exchange, and thanks to another wonderful absent host, it was a very enjoyable stay in Tooting Bec, London (link below). I have a love of history and found that Sandra, my exchanger, could not only tell me lots about her home and area, but also about London history!
I now look forward to another two home exchanges this year, both in Italy, and more next year. Thank you Home Base Holidays! My only regret - why have I not done it sooner? Why did I wait 25 years to exchange again? Don't make my mistake; swapping homes is a wonderful adventure, broadening both horizons and spirit! - Marguerite Payen
Marguerite’s charming Victorian cottage (above) is located in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. View her home exchange in North Yorkshire. When in Harrogate, you won’t want to miss the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms (photo at top).
Also see Sandra’s London home swap offer, her lovely home and garden in a quiet street in Tooting Bec, London.