Autumn holds such promise

One couple many pets

Last week we trundled over the border of Devon to Cornwall to meet with a retired Vet and his wife, who are looking for a housesitter during the Festive Season. They have 25 hens, 2 cockerel, 1 guinea fowl and 2 cats in need of company  over Christmas.  By all accounts it’s a lightweight assignment considering we have just finished looking after 26 rescue whippets & lurchers.

We are looking forward to the Cornish sit and exploring a bit more of Cornwall.  In the meantime this month sees us looking after one daintly, little black cat called Bella in the South Hams.  We have been housesitting members since 2014 and have had the most phenomenal success.  See below if you would like to find out more about house sitting or pet sitting.

Whippets and Lurcher Rescues
mat-and-george-with-whippets
George & Matt with TippyToes, Dart, Misty, Brindle, Jet, Socks & Miley (or is that Kerrypup?)
Bella of Braodsand
Mutant genes and wanderlust

I digress.  We had a delightful 3 course meal with our hosts, which started with a warming squash soup and ended with a dessert of figs grown in the garden (bizarre for England don’t you think?).  We meet such lovely, warm and open people on our journey.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but I think it is the open mindset and of course they are animal lovers too.

It is interesting to hear about the history of people’s homes and families.  To think this couple have lived in this house and village for longer than I have been alive.  I have lived on 2 continents and in 3 countries and in more homes than I care to recall and yet we yearn for more sights and adventures.  Labelling a psychosis is helpful and ours appears to be genetic, for I am sure we carry the mutant DRD4-7r gene linked to wanderlust and exploration, which in turn leads to advancement of civilisation (google it!).

The world is an open book and those who do not travel read only one page –      Augustine of Hippo

On our drive home, with George imploring I make my butternut soup again, we pulled into the local farm shop in Lifton.  The display of pumpkins caught our attention and while we aren’t keen on consumerism we do make a point of spending some of our pennies locally, particularly farmshops or stalls and came away with some tea time treats to boot.

linton
Lifton Farmshot – convenient stop for families
Promise of a new season

The first of the month (1st October) holds such promise; the crispness in the air marking a new season.  New starts stirs up childish feelings from my school days.  The snow white, feint lined page of exercise books, which used to evoke false promises to my schoolgirl self to write neatly and even so far as endeavour to complete all homework.  Turn the page and the fresh inspiration is dented from the markings of my previous writing and spent effort.

Those feelings have not left me and if you ever hear a guy moaning loudly ‘not another notebook’ it is likely to be George. {Please distract him so I can make my purchase free of guilt and without being reminded of the countless discarded notebooks I own}.

1st of October for us is a call to press the reset button on our non-existent health and fitness regime  Apparently my blood pressure is through the roof (who knew – not sure the gadget wasn’t properly calibrated though).  Apart from this alarming indicator, we are both craving ‘live food’.  You know…food that heals your body rather than harm it.

Soup and Juice me Jason

Our go to reset regime is from the vibrant Jason Vale.  He is the UK’s Juice Master and we are loosely following the 7 day ‘Soup & Juice Me’ plan.  Later this month will be more hardcore when we take up the Big Juice challenge.  The circumstances of recent weeks has had us thinking about internal parasites and much of what we plan to eat is with this in mind.  Purely by coincidence today is International Vegetarian day and so we celebrate this too.

The first soup on JV’s plan is a Butternut and Carrot soup.  Jason’s recipe is dead easy to follow but being a cook I use it simply as a starting point and my own version will follow.

With a such a cold and blustery day butternut soup served in (wait for it…..) munchkin pumpkins (how could I resist buying these little sausages) will do nicely – thank you very much.

pumpkin-pots Continue reading Autumn holds such promise

Are you some kind of nomad?

Housesitting has been in my periphery for a long time.  My feisty mother-in-law (hello Hazel!) is employed to house-sit in Cape Town, South Africa to deter squatters taking over people’s second homes.  This was the extent of my knowledge. It was something retired peogle did.

Then towards the end of 2014 our son declared his desire to join the Royal Air Force. Or RAF as he casually put it.  GULP.  This is a mom, who cried actual (many and large) drops of tears into her cereal the day he went for a college taster session (because my baby was growing up).  I was crying happy-sad tears.  Knowing ‘this day’ would eventually come we gave him our blessing, saying there were two things we wanted for him; to be happy and follow God.  After a couple of false-starts I was acutely aware that empty-nest syndrome would hit me hard.

Extract from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/empty-nest-syndrome

Time and energy that you directed toward your child can now be spent on different areas of your life.  This might be an opportune time to explore or return to hobbies, leisure activities or career pursuits.

After a couple of weeks of moping about and deep philosophical discussion around what we would do ‘if money were no object’ we decided on two main things.

  1. Self-build and live sustainably
  2. Travel and see more of this amazing world we live in

So what was stopping us?

In short my career.  I had painstakingly built up a career as a Chartered Financial Planner over the last decade, after relocating to the UK.  It is something I am good at and can help people in a very personal and unique way.  The income is quite handy pretty essential too.  Plots and housing don’t come cheap on this small island.

George, then casually asked me, one Saturday morning, if I thought we could house sit. Being the researcher that I am I googled the gaggle out of housesitting. Scouring for tips and stories online I saw quite a few in our nearby vicinity, including a particularly appealing house sit for 3 months, which would coincide with our son’s leaving dates.

We joined Trustedhousesitters for a tentative 6 month trial. I created our profile, adding photos, requesting references from friends, acquaintances and even my boss (who is a lovely chap). We were all ready to rock and roll, except I was too scared to apply for the dream sit.  What if I applied and we didn’t get it?  It would be another disappointment to deal with, our hopes and dreams dashed once more.

Successful we were, and I can hardly believe two months of housesitting have gone and in exactly a month from today we will have finished our first house sit we applied for.  It is more than we imagined.  We live in the most gorgeous village, complete with village shop that bakes croissants on a Sunday morning. The two dogs we look after have crept right into our hearts.  And we have had the most amazing time exploring the South Hams and Dartmoors over winter.

Someone asked me if I was some kind of Nomad?  No,  not yet.  We are following our dreams with the resources we have at our disposal.