by Don & Lynette B. - Perth Australia
We are a semi-retired mature couple from Perth, Western Australia.
Our experience of swapping houses through Digsville was extremely rewarding and gave us a unique opportunity to visit parts of England and Wales we would not otherwise have been able to see. We decided to visit one of our son's living in the Lake District of Cumbria in the north of England for Christmas and New Year - but we also wanted to see the rest of the country.
After a wonderful visit of 4 weeks, we waved goodbye to son and fiancee, travelled by train to Wiltshire (south/west corner of England) to stay for 3 weeks in an exchange home in the tiny village of Simmons Yat. Our hostess collected us from the train and we stayed the 1st night at her home with she and her dog.
In the morning we drove with her to leave the dog at kennels and then to her daughter's home in Reading, from there we had the full use of her car. The following day she left for Western Australia to stay in our home. She only had to take a short taxi trip to collect our car, then travel to our home in the south of Perth.
Our exchange home was an absolute gem, situated between Ross-On-Wye (in England) and Monmouth (in Wales). It had started life as the Manse for the tiny church next-door, some 260 years ago, with both perched about ¾ of the way up the side of a very steep mountain. Over the years the house had been added to and added to. From the outside the home didn’t look very interesting, but once inside, it had a wonderful welcoming feeling, and - despite the winter cold - had a comforting warmth about the place. It was extremely comfortable and a delight to live in. The view from every window was spectacular. The mountain was so steep, we looked completely over the roof of our neighbours on the other side of the road. Our bedroom opened onto a balcony overlooking the Wye River far below with two other mountains raising from the river either side.
The road to our exchange home was a one-lane road winding up the mountain with a deep ravine to one side and the mountain to the other, with passing bays every once-in-a-while. Part of the fun was, we would often come round a bend, come to a screeching halt, and have to back-up to allow another car to pass.
Most of the homes along the lane had old stone walls as "fences". This has caused great amusement to the locals since the advent of the GPS navigational systems. Lorry driver new to the area who would frequently plug a destination into their GPS and be given the route down Simmons Yat Road. They would come up the mountain on the other side, through the village of Simmons Yat, then try to get down the side where our exchange home was. Problem was – the stone wall of our exchange home and that of the neighbour were only wide enough to allow a one-horse and cart - or one car - NOT a lorry. The lorry would come hurtling down the mountain, and become firmly wedged between the two walls. It could not go back because the road was too steep - and could not go forward because it was stuck. SO - out from Monmouth would come the specially equipped tow-truck with an extremely long cable and winch the lorry back up the mountain - all to the amusement of the locals and the embarrassment of the driver.
Digsville enabled us to have a wonder holiday in England and Wales, and for our exchange hostess to enjoy the summer delights of our home beside the beach. She enjoyed herself so much in Western Australia, she even extended her stay, and travelled throughout the south/west regions for an additional two weeks before returning to England.
We have frequently - and will continue to - recommend Digsville to anyone who will listern!