This is the first time a Home Base Holidays member has sent us a home exchange trip report while actually on a home swap. Sandra, from London, chose a particularly lovely weekend in September for her exchange with Jean in Oxford:
'Who'd have thought that in the middle of October we'd be having a pre-dinner drink "al fresco"? We're sitting on Jean's beautiful canal-side terrace, our internet shopping stowed away, a fountain whispering in the piazza, (yes, we are in the UK) looking back on two years of home swapping.
Our first was in October 2009, not warm enough to sip early evening wine outdoors, but we were in a gentle fold in the Sussex countryside and sat by the window enjoying the view of mature trees glowing gold and orange.
The following March, in a week that was welcoming Spring and we could feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, with our borrowed Devon garden facing due west, we watched its burnished glow dipping behind the hills , setting the countryside alight.
A different experience in Barcelona. No quiet contemplation from this balcony while we drank our delightful, 3 euros a bottle fizzy stuff, but the chatter and bustle of other families preparing to enjoy the evening.
Loving our own garden as we do Linda and Ian's Dorset patch was to be enjoyed at the end of the day, glass in hand, checking the produce as it matured and pottering as we might at home.
And that's only half our swaps. I haven't even mentioned the delights of Dublin, the beauty of Bath...' - Sandra Newnham
Sandra's home exchange offer in London: Ours is a well cared for home in a quiet, residential street in south west London with excellent transport links to all London's attractions. It is situated a few minutes walk from extensive park and common land and to shops, bars, restaurants and leisure centres including an outdoor swimming pool.
Our garden is well tended and sunny. There are two recently decorated double bedrooms, one with king sized bed, and one single. The bathroom is newly refurbished and has a power shower over the bath. The ground floor is bright, airy and comfortable with two reception rooms and a modern kitchen.
Jean's home exchange offer in Oxford: This is a comfortable, stylish ground floor apartment with an extensive walled terrace for alfresco dining. It is a ten minute stroll from the beautiful and famous city of Oxford and a one hour train ride to London.
It's location is unique, combining a quiet, relaxing situation next to the canal with a piazza (and fountain) to the front of the apartment and yet, just two minutes walk from shops, cafe culture, local pubs, restaurants and cinema. A two minute walk on the other side of the canal lies open countryside and the River Thames with ducks, swans, geese etc.