Jubilee Cottage

Our home is a great place to live as part of family, we spend a lot of time together working and socialising, it is an ideal place to practice conversational English whilst discussing world affairs and ecology, ethics etc. If you love dogs, our home is heaven, if you love the countryside, our home is perfect, if you like to keep busy our home will suit you very well. If you don't like dogs, want an urban environment and like to be lazy - don't ask us to host you. We can accommodate digital nomads and respect your privacy. We work together as a team, many of our volunteers have come for 4 or 5 weeks and stayed for 6 months or until their visas expired. Our home is ideal for those with intermediate English who want to practice and expand their knowledge and use of the language, it is not suitable for those with very little or no English.

We treat our volunteers and staff as part of a team who all work hard together to make our dogs and our home a happy, dynamic and ever improving environment. We try to take our volunteers out to interesting places when time permits and we are very happy for them to join our dog agility and dog training classes if and when they wish. We welcome open-minded, interesting people who can share insights into their culture and way of life. Our home will not suit lazy or selfish people, if you want to sit around all day doing nothing or like to leave the work to someone else this is not the place you are looking for. If you enjoy working, usually with others, on projects, designing and building things, maintaining the house and garden, cleaning and helping other members of the team, if you respect those around you and have a mature and well-rounded personality with a positive outlook and you like to be active, you will love it here. Please be aware that we don't host smokers (including vapes and e-cigarettes) and we only host volunteers who are fully and currently vaccinated against Covid 19. We are happy to host vegetarians but they must be willing to cook for everyone including those we enjoy eating meat.


21 reseñas21

Anfitrión y equipo


Horas y tareas




Aprendizaje y diversión




Don't go. Não vá . No vayas . Non andare lì
Mi primera experiencia en Wordpackers e definitivamente yo no lo recomendo. El anfitrión es el tipo de gente oportunista y explotadora. El laburo es duro y Catherine y su pareja lo hace sentir en un clima militar. Mi experiencia fuera terrible. A cada 5 palavras que Catherine hablas ( 3 es Stupid 4 es shut up e 5 es Fuck) La verdad que he me bloqueado hablar en inglés por la manera rude a autoritaria que me tratavas . No se deje engañar por la fotos, vas a tener limpiar caca de cerca de 40 perros por día. Ofrecen comida caducada. ATENTI A LAS FECHAS

hace 10 días

Catherine respondido

Just to address Otu’s review;
I am not sure why Otu thinks he is entitled to comment on the use of language in my home, no derogatory remarks were made to him It is a tribute to my patience and self restraint that, after his appalling conduct in our home and the destruction he wrought in our garden, that I remained courteous to him even during his hysterics and tantrums.
Not knowing any English stopped Otu speaking English, he couldn’t speak any English when I collected him from the station, he was encouraged, as is every volunteer, to improving his English language skills but that only works if someone already had some English language skills to improve, Otu’s lack of English was not addressed by him making no effort to learn, expect (maybe) from his phone.
Clearly maths is not Otu’s strength either, I make that 12 words and he can’t count dogs either! Otu’s profile claims, Expert in Animal Care but he was not interested in the dogs, as far as I could make out he doesn’t even like animals, perhaps in he is unaware that animal (including humans) produce waste and a part of any animal care work is disposing of that waste, all this was explained to him (in Portuguese) before he came. Hopefully he will never try working with farm animals. We are clear that anyone wishing to volunteer with us must love dogs, Otu came to look after the garden but we were still surprised at his indifference and irritation with our lovely dogs who simply want to be friends and be fussed, whilst he was here we had a litter of adorable puppies that everyone was excited about and fussed over, Otu ignored them completely as if they didn’t exist, he always wanted be the centre of attention and even resented the attention given to new born puppies.

The household is quite relaxed, I am not sure what “military atmosphere” is supposed to mean unless he is referring to such military tactics as starting work on time, working at least most of the agreed hours, showing respect for others and acting with honesty and integrity.
The photos shouldn’t fool anyone, we chose them carefully show that there is both work and play, Otu seems to have overlooked those that showing people working, but then work is not his strong point either.
LOCKS , thank you Otu, good to be reminded. Otu could not understand that the safety of our dogs and security of our home is the responsibility of all who live here, he constantly left gates to the road open. Otu also doesn’t like locks on toilet doors which led to a particularly sickening encounter (back to the subject of animal waste) but as he also kept a bottle of urine in his cabin perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised.
There was no “expired” food, until Otu arrived everyone understood and was very happy with our approach to food sustainability and the access it provided to luxury snacks and indeed Otu was the first to help himself to everything he wanted. It was Otu’s natural negativity that lead to silly comments from a couple of young volunteers who Otu found easy to influence. Otu had no interest in sustainable living his only passion was looking after Otu.

That dealt with, the following should be useful to other hosts.

Otu was problematic from day one. He has a strange relationship with the truth and misled us on several (pretty much all) matters to be accepted here.

We are very clear that our home is a place suitable for those with intermediate English but not for beginners, we need to ensure that volunteers are safe, understand how to keep others safe and importantly also understand how to keep our dogs and our home safe.
We practice conversation with the volunteers to help them with their English skills and we ensure that they understand what is required and how to undertake tasks safely.
To ensure that prospective volunteers can decide if this is a voluntary that they would enjoy, we ask them to contact one of our past volunteers who speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese and can give them first hand details (good and bad), of life here, in this conversation Otu confirmed that he could speak good (conversational) English, this was simply a lie, he knows only a very few words of English mainly; “Want”, “No”, “You take me”, “Understand” (“understand”, particularly when repeated over and over with vehemence, means he doesn’t understand at all. He could not even write his review in English. We had to ask other volunteers to translate everything or use Google Translate, even then it was questionable whether he actually understood Portuguese as he would go off and do something quite different, maybe it was local dialect issue or difficulty seeing the phone screen.

Very importantly, we make it clear that we do not accept unvaccinated volunteers, we have a duty of care to everyone in the household to keep them as safe as we are able and to protect ourselves, our clients and those around us. Otu confirmed in writing that he had had two Covid vaccinations. Shortly after his arrival, during dinner, he picked up that vaccines were being discussed and started shouting loudly - “Me no, zero, zero ha ha ha”! Through another volunteer we explained that he could not stay under those circumstances so he quickly “remembered” “uma injeção cobiços, Ok Ok, I one”. We shall never know none, one or two, possibly Otu himself doesn’t know.
We also make it clear that we do not accept smokers and I have taken it to be clear that this includes other substances. When Otu returned from a visit to Winchester shouting about the “different beautiful, beautiful purple sky” it gave me concerns, the other volunteers thought it hilarious, but then he was not their problem, he was my problem. The cabin that he was using is still open-doored to try to clear the smell that continues to linger and it will be several weeks before we can reasonably ask anyone else to use it, fortunately we have other accommodation.

Otu knews nothing about vegetable gardening, which is what we had invited him here to do based his claim that he was an expert. He cut down the fruit bushes which were actively fruiting, cut fruiting tomato plants off of a few centimetres above the ground, pulled up all our cropping bean and pea plants, weeded (dug up) all our developing onions, “harvested” all our pumpkins and squashes which need two more months to ripen, and “pruned” my citrus collection so that they will take another year to recover. Total devastation in my beautiful garden and all I asked him do to was repot some small citrus plants and weed between paving slabs. We have lost most of our produce for this year. Otu’s answer to the destruction was “sick”, I certainly was.
Given the devastation in the vegetable garden I asked (physically demonstrated to) Otu to clear a small overgrown area at the front of our property, near the road. Instead he went off the property and hacked down an area (not ours) that had been designated by the local authority to be left as a sanctuary for pollinating insects. I went out three times to tell him to stop, each time he did, only to start again as soon as I was gone. He was given a domestic garden shredder to shred small twigs for composting, I tested it in front of him and tried to get him to understand that he must not overload the machine, it was all done through Google Translate, within minutes he jammed and overheated it, when we showed him it was blocked and too hot he became angry shouting the usual “No, No, No”, as if someone else had done the damage or the problem didn’t exist. Asked to clear away and pile up for shredding, leaf and trimmings that other volunteers had cut he spread them all along the road side.

Otu’s whole profile is a fantasy, he has almost no knowledge of English, no knowledge of gardening, no knowledge of handyman work, no knowledge what-so-ever of animal care and is a poor cook. His profile suggests that he is an expert in almost everything but when he was here we struggled to find anything that he could do safely or competently.

All this was exasperated by his general behaviour which was erratic, disruptive and unpredictable. He expected to have special vegetarian meals cooked of him, which we did, but refused to cook for others who ate meat. He demanded to be taken to places whenever he chose, however inconvenient. We speak English at dinner so that everyone can practice their skills, since Otu couldn’t speak English, he would shout in Portuguese, tying to dominate the room with his own conversations.
He is incredibly loud, he would sometimes start shouting when he was alone in his cabin which was most unsettling.

Much of his working hours were spent on his phone, when I queried the lack of progress he indicated that he was taking English lessons instead of working. It took him 4 ½ hours to carry out a routine daily task that takes 2 ½ hours at the most and which I do regularly in 1 ½ hours, at that point he would decide to finish for the day.
We all breakfast together and discuss the plan for the day, at 08:30 we get ready for work, each day Otu arrived to start cooking his breakfast at 08:28 he was never ready to start his allocated tasks for the day but he always stopped work well before he had worked his hours. I says he found the work hard, not as hard as he found getting out of bed each day.

We are passionate about reducing waste and buy some of our snacks from Approved Food, who work to recover and retail food close to or past, it’s Sell By Date but (not it’s Use By Date), it is a well known and respected company in the UK which works to reduce food waste. Otu used this as a opportunity to agitate and cause trouble, we have all sorts of food in the house so he always had plenty of choice, he in fact chose to help himself heartily to the “expired” snacks. We only asked him to cook once, something else that he is an expert in, according to his profile, but which did not go well. Fortunately we had other great cooks in the household who stepped in and produced wonderful meals.

We did our best to put up with Otu, asking someone to leave is very much a last resort but he decided, having already taken his time off for the week, that he wanted more days off and he was going to simply take any time he wanted. We were delighted and took Otu to the town within the hour.

Otu is drifter looking for an easy life at the expense of others, here he was a liability. He was detached, lacked a sense of reality or empathy but was strangely needy and invasive. He used far more of our time than he returned in benefit either socially or practically, he was in a literal sense a net negative. After he went he sent me a toxic and bewildering message, which allowing for translate errors, declared that (among other vague, apocryphal ramblings); he hopes we die soon and he will damn us on Judgement Day, etc… Not a very nice person.



Catherine and Graham were kind to us, picking us up and taking us to the nearest town when we needed it.
What you should keep in mind if you want to come:
-The place is far from the cities and the only mobility is if the hosts can take you or walk... they do not have bicycles.
-The work is really hard for 5 hours, every day you have to clean the house inside and outside, then there are other projects like painting (we painted the entire hall, the task that interested us the most) we walked the dogs for only two days.
-Several expired meals (it is normal for them)
-too many rooms in the house

hace 15 días

Catherine respondido

I am sorry you didn’t enjoy your stay.

I hope my comments here may be useful to other potential volunteers.

We make great efforts to ensure that we only attract volunteers who are likely to be happy with us. Our profile is very clear, we are rural, that is to say, in the countryside (with views and wildlife and glorious walks all around). We ask all potential volunteers to have an initial talk with one of our past volunteers to ensure that they understand what life is like here from a volunteer’s point of view. You had such a talk before we agreed that you could come and the location, work and living arrangements were all explained to you so it hard to understand why you were surprised that we live in the countryside and what tasks need to be done. I know from what you said during your stay that you wanted to be in a city with bars and nightlife, if you had read our profile or said this when your stay was discussed, I could have advised you that this was not for you. Volunteers come here to enjoy the peace, tranquility and abundant nature, voluntaries working in hostels in cities are very common which makes it sad that you chose somewhere are special as our home.

We do not have bicycles, if we did we would say so in our profile and again you could have checked this before you came if it was important to you. This area is not good for cycling unless you are a performance athlete, it is popular with dedicated super-fit competition cyclist because it is is so hilly and strenuous. Even if we had bicycles you would never have known since you did not ask, your review is the first time you have mentioned bicycles. As you say, we gave you lifts to the towns when you wished and dropped you off and picked you up at the station when you asked.

Regarding the work; I was told (by another volunteer) that on your first morning you were complaining about working outside, so I offered you the indoor cleaning, a job that, like the outdoor cleaning is usually given to different volunteers on different days. All you had to do was light housework (sweeping, dusting and vacuuming) you wanted the cleaning to be your main job, you said you loved cleaning and so we allocated that to you. There is no job that is less hard, and I told you several times that there was no need to be so obsessive about the it, it usually takes 1 hour, you spent all your allocated time on it. It is true that every day the property is cleaned inside and outside, I can’t think is unusual in any house and it is certainly normal and essential when one has pets.

After a few days you said you wanted to paint but as I explained at the time, we had already completed our paining schedule for the year, it was only a late heat wave that meant that we were able to reschedule to you give a painting job in the hallway, you didn’t paint the “entire hall” most of the hall including all heigh area, had already been completed by previous volunteers in the Spring, the area you made good and painted was less than a metre high and few metres long and you did it sitting on a stool, you did a good job but it was not hard work.
We ask volunteers to help 5 hours a day, that should not be a cause for complaint, that is the mutual agreement, it is clear on our profile and was reiterated to you before you came, we made sure that you took your breaks and that you finished as soon as your hours were done.

Hosts invite volunteers to enjoy a cultural exchange and to help them with tasks, unless you specifically find a host who wants someone just to paint for a couple of hours a day you, as a volunteer, need be willing to help with a whole variety of tasks and this is also something that we make clear in our profile, we altered our work allocations to suit you.

You only walked with the dogs a few times because you wanted to work inside rather than walk or clean outside. It is naive to think that you can “cherry pick” just the jobs you like when you like, that is not practical and certainly not fair on other volunteers. After the first couple of times you did not ask to walk the dogs, although you asked for cleaning and painting jobs.

Just to be clear, there were no “expired meals”, all our meals are cooked from scratch (and do not contain ultra processed foods). As I explained to you, we buy luxury snacks and some exotic dry foods from Approved Food, a retailer who sells short dated foods (usually luxury brands) that would otherwise be dumped in waste due to overstocking, amazon returns or seasonal packaging. No food is past its Use by Date (although it may be past its Sell by Date). It allows us to offer volunteers high end, luxury snacks whilst reducing waste and support our ethos of sustainability. These are snacks offered, over and above your meals, no one is forced to eat them and you certainly didn’t have a problem, in fact you asked for more packets of biscuits each day, I have no issue with that, I am happy to see people eating, but to then make it sound as if you were force fed with decaying food is absolutely incorrect. We also clean and retain containers and packaging for re-use which we refill from shops selling package-free produce, so the date on, for example a drum of cacao or cornflour, may be past but the contents may have been replenished many times and will always be fresh.

I am at a loss to understand the comment “too many rooms” (correct use of “too” so well done on that), you were only cleaning a small number of the rooms in the house and the arrangement is for 5 hours work not for cleaning a specific number of rooms.

You were a good volunteer, good company and, knowing this was you first time away from home, I checked with you frequently to make sure you were happy, you were always full of smiles and always said everything was good, when you had any issues or needed any help we worked out ways to accommodate you, sadly it seem that was not enough.



I definitely don't recommend it. It has a lot of rules and a bad way of telling you when you don't comply with one (for example, they locked me in the bathroom when I was taking a shower twice, once on the first day I was there when the shower could be heard from all over the house), the work is very very hard. for volunteers, meals that expire (cornstarch expired 6 years ago, chocolate 2 years ago, Christmas pots from 2021), luckily not for us but a fellow volunteer was treated very badly throughout his stay and considered stupid, the place It is in the middle of nowhere Would be gold a bike

hace 16 días



A word for this experience is Marvelous. Such a great experience, I could learn and develop myself as a volunteer and as human. The dogs are perfect and well trained. Catherine is always sharing experiences and want to learn with us as well (Also she do marvelous pizzas and Graham great curry). I felt welcomed and in home. The hours are very flexible and you can travel around the little cities around, i could have the amazing experience going to Stonehenge I will definitely come back.

hace 1 mes



This experience was nice, the hosts are very friendly and there is always a topic for conversation, they cook very well and are always willing to take you somewhere so you can visit or to the bus and train station, they always explain the day's activities and if you have doubts they are always willing to explain to you again, the dogs are very friendly and loving, we love the tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, we were able to practice our English a lot, we also visited Stonehenge with Catherine for free and it was wonderful. Thank you very much for everything again, hug🤍✨

hace 1 mes

Perfecto para ti si estás buscando

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