The Joys of House Sitting in the UK – By Rob Shackleford
Other of our Travelling with Traveller Inceptio Blogs
|India by Royal Enfields 1||Britain by House Sits||Scottish Food||Scottish Culture||Southern Scotland||Northern Wales|
|Faces of Scotland||House Sit Bath||Faces of England||House Sitting UK||Faces of Wales||Visit to London|
Our recent foray into House Sits again reaffirms that this is a pretty nice way to travel, meet the nicest people, and see the world.
Okay, so for us it was only the United Kingdom this time, or three parts of it, but it was a terrific way to enjoy special experiences. Previously we have been able to house sit in England and Ireland, as well as parts of the United States, so we have a track record in the international community of House Sitters and we know what we like. My partner, Deborah-Jane, is especially adept at organizing House Sit opportunities that suit our goals and our life-style.
Here’s a summary of our 2019 – 2020 House Sits in the UK.
We chose Scotland as it is one place that is furthest away from our home on the Gold Coast in Australia and still remain on the planet. To travel to the north of Scotland, which is literally the Scottish Highlands, is an awesome experience. Yes, there are accents and red-heads, and lots of incredible food we had never before tried, but it was also familiar, for many Aussies enjoy a Scottish heritage.
It was cold – cold for us at least as the temperatures hovered around Zero. Home hovers between 25 – 30 – so yeah, Scotland in winter is cold. We choose to travel to the cold because we never have an opportunity to wear any clothes suitable for such weather. Our winters are so warm, I rarely have an opportunity to wear jeans, so to get out of shorts is a pleasant change.
And then there is the whole idea of Christmas in the cold – so good!
In Inverness we cared for two lively little Scottish Border Terriers by the name of Dexter and Boomer. The Scots love these scraggy little dogs, largely because they are a uniquely Scottish breed. Yes – the Scots are fiercely patriotic to their heritage and take any excuse to show it.
These little dogs certainly love to walk – even more than to eat! Each morning we would take them on a walk into Inverness or to the sports fields where they would chase a ball or each other. We also took them on expeditions to areas we wanted to see, so they enjoyed a ride in the car as we headed to the windswept beaches, beautiful Glen Affric, or the Island of Skye.
Dexter and Boomer juts loved to be with us, whether it was to collapse in front of TV, to watch the world go by in the car, or do other human stuff.
What makes a house sit in Scotland easier when small dogs are involve is how most UK bars, cafes, restaurants and shops are happy to allow dogs to enter – as long as they behave. Dogs, familiar with these places, do behave, mostly. Scots absolutely love dogs and pat them at every opportunity.
It’s a great vibe.
More on our stay in Inverness
Our initial reaction to this home was trepidation. In Inverness we stayed in a home that was comfortable and lived in and, having met our hosts Steve and Claire, we were very comfortable to spend a few weeks there with the two dogs. In Dundee, the home was immaculate, where the white decor had not a spot out of place. Our biggest fear was in leaving a spot, even if we do make every effort to leave where we stay in a better condition than when we get there. To make matters more challenging, the little dog, Mabel, seemed to be bored and took to tearing her bed apart.
Okay then. We did what we do best, and took Mabel for a long walk into Dundee as part of our reconnaissance. Then, next day, we took her for a very long walk along the beach and then into the cliff area where the winds blew and the sea spray threatened to soak us. She loved it and, after running herself ragged. was exhausted.
No matter what, we had to try and discipline her a little, something I started to do with a firm word and little pieces of treat. Within a day, the smart little dog changed and she became much less jumpy and more eager to please.
It as only three days and we were to leave little Mabel, which was sad as she was a truly delightful dog.
Tyn y Gongle
We travelled cross country from Scotland and across England to the island of Anglesey in Northern Wales. It is amazing how different the three parts of the UK look and feel. Wales was another truly magical location, for Wales was a new land for us both. The family whose place we were to look after were lovely, but harried by a boisterous young boy, so they headed out after a night with them and we breathed a sigh of relief.
We only had a cat to care for names Smarty. She has diabetes and the special care was to give her an insulin injection each morning and evening. Achieved without discomfort with her food. As her toileting was outside, it was an easy gig. It was all about make sure the cat was good, explore all day, then be back to make sure the cat was good.
She was lovely and friendly, but still aloof. Often she would just sit and watch us, though she did make it plain we had her approval.
It was only another three day gig, but in that time we were able to see most of the significant sights in the north of beautiful Wales. Yes, it is truly amazing and the culture surprisingly independent from England.
After Wales, we visited some friends in Yorkshire and then stayed in a castle before we headed to our fourth house sit in beautiful Bath.
Bath is truly beautiful, with its Georgian architecture, especially the Royal Crescent and other similar streets that can be even seen in Bristol, a short drive away. Bath is historical, well cared for and, like many towns in England, is only a short drive away from green countryside and farming communities.
In Bath we cared for two cats – Winston and Elli, who were nice and friendly, though like most cats gave little thought if we were there for the day. As they were also toileted outside, we were required to give them little care except some attention when it was welcomed. The home was particularly nice and located close to the river, canal. a great pub and only a short walk from the centre of Bath. We were also a short drive from many of the wonderful parts of southern England and Wales that we really wanted to investigate. For me it was also an excellent opportunity to research places and attractions for my books.
Scotland, Wales and England were so beautiful. Despite the occasional rain and even rarer snow, we were able to truly be delighted in what a beautiful land were were privileged to enjoy. in fact, through two sets of House Sits we have been able to experience a large percentage of the UK, even if some of it was only to pass through. We are convinced there are so many places we would like to return to, that there is so much more to see.
Best of all, the pets all lived and were happy as they were well fed and loved. Homes were cared for and cleaned and, perhaps best of all, we made some new friends in Steve and Claire from Inverness.
We fully expect that one day they will come and join us at our home in Queensland, by the beach at the Gold Coast.
Rob and Deb live at Burleigh Heads, on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Deb is a yoga teacher and administrator par excellence.
If you have any questions regarding the contents of this blog, please email Rob via his email: [email protected] or Instagram @rob_shackleford_
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