House Sitting In An English Cottage
House Sitting in an English Cottage
For a person like me who loves Dickens, Bronte, Austen, and Christie, the opportunity to stay in an English cottage for the holidays is irresistible. I actually prayed when I responded to the house sitter request on Trusted Housesitters when the notice appeared last July. House Sitter wanted for 2 weeks during Christmas holidays in Shropshire – care for 2 dogs and a cat while living in country cottage.
I immediately wrote all about Evan and I, waited for a reply. I was thrilled to have our profile make it to the top of the responds and soon was chatting with Claire on a Skype video call. Wonderful technology! We agreed on everything.
Evan and I arrived by train in Shrewsbury which is town in Shropshire from London on December 21. Hardly an easy trip both because of the holidays but mainly because flooding in much of Wales and the southern England. After having our scheduled trains delayed and cancelled, we finally arrived in Shrewsbury where Claire was waiting. Her cottage is approximately 6 miles from Shrewsbury on winding narrow roads.
Since Evan intended to use the time here to focus on completing his second book, and I am still a bit timid about driving in England, we opted not to rent a car. Claire instead took us into town in the morning where we stock up on groceries and let us know that her neighbor, Helen was available should we need anything. Once all was explained, she was off on her trip, leaving Evan and I to enjoy her home, precious pets, and views of an area of, “Unparalleled Natural Beauty”.
Indeed it is complete with rolling green pastures, hedged line roads, and pitched roof stone country manors. All of which I enjoy each day as I walk the dogs who have become my very steadfast friends. Gus, the cat, does not walk with us but instead makes his way to my lap when I cuddle up to read by the fire.
Our time here has not just been spent in the house or walking. Helen the neighbor invited us to a traditional Boxing Day event, a Fox Hunt. Although they are no longer able to hunt foxes much to the chagrin of country folk, the tradition continues with the hunters pursuing a drag. All look exactly as I have seen so many times in movies – riders, horses, and hounds. It was a special day.
We have also had a visit from Evan’s friends, Matthew and Anette who he met in Panama. Matthew is English and agreed to show us a medieval English town. We spent the afternoon with pair touring Ludlow which has preserved a good deal of its historic buildings and massive cathedral. The cathedral dates back to 1250 and has some of the most impressive stain glass windows in all of Britain. We also walked through a castle which although not preserved in its full grandeur, did bring to mind times of King Arthur.
We are loving our time here, cold raining weather and all. I love house sitting and hope to continue to accept assignments as we travel and even when Evan is not with traveling with me. I am able to feel what is like to live in an area and meet the people who do. I feel productive and useful caring for others homes and pets. I can put my feet up at night, putter around in a kitchen, and not worry about check out times.
I really take in the beauty of an area and learn my way around. Shop in local markets. Chat with neighbors. Walk and walk. Indeed I think I will be sad to leave but excited to see more. I am especially looking forward to our next house sit which is in Cyprus.
See more photos here
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