Winning story: Anything can happen on a home exchange!
"The best thing about house swapping is, it gives you the opportunity of experiences you would NEVER get in a hotel!
We swapped houses to San Diego - perfect climate, gorgeous home, great food and welcoming neighbours, one of whom invited us to swim in her pool.
All the kids played, we sipped Margaritas and a few more ladies and their children turned up. Suddenly one of the Moms screamed "Rattlesnake!!!".
All hell broke loose - the kids were herded onto the trampoline and my husband was dispatched, as the only male present, to sit on the fence above the snake and make noises so it would get angry and stay there, coiled and rattling - and staring up at him menacingly.
More screeching from the Americans until "Bart", next door, rang the police who came and shot the snake. Hysterical screaming at the mention of the word "gun", while us Brits just stood calmly in utter bemusement, each thinking - well frankly I'd have thought they'd be used to this stuff.
When things had died down, the man of this house returned from his "work" of skateboarding. We thought., "Isn't he a bit old for that kind of thing?" and carried on supping his tequila.
The rattle from the snake's tail is in a jar in our kitchen.
Turns out the skateboarder was Tony Hawks!"
Judith Stafford, Magnac Laval, Limousin, France