Some locations are very popular and desirable. This is why we sometimes see 30-40-50+ sitters applying for the Eldorado. But have you ever petsit where three or less sitters have applied and were so Happy you did ? Tell us about it.
My 3rd and 4th sits were in the UK (I’m from the US) - a 3 week sit in a 19th C castle in Somerset with a sr/jr black lab pair and a pair of cats followed immediately by a week in Edinburgh with a red flat coat.
The castle was a bit unusual but I was just so pleased that with just 2 reviews some folks took a chance on me.
That would have to be hands down “my” little rustic cottage in Wales @Brigitte. I have been there 3 times and the 4th is coming up in May which will be my shortest stay there (2 weeks) as they are limiting their travel due to the pandemic.
They had no applicants the first time and when we spoke the owner asked me repeatedly if I was “house proud” and If I was sure I’d be alright alone. Their place is the most rustic and remote place I have ever stayed in and has the most character. It is hodge podge of stone and brick, two story with a crooked wooden staircase. They estimate that it goes back about 400 years. The only source of heat is a wood burning fireplace, a wood burning stove in the kitchen and small space heaters in the bedrooms. It is “comfortably lived in”. There are a couple of caravans on the property and a couple of old farm sheds in various states of disrepair
There is farming land where I have learned about growing beets, leeks, broccoli, brussel sprouts and parsnips (never had them before and I love them!).
There is nothing “modern” here. It is like taking a step back in time.
They have lots of storage for food and freezers to outlast many months.
The doors have no locks. There are pheasants, owls, wild birds that I feed on the daily. Wood stacks and sheds, fields with wild flowers and wee pleasant stream down a bit right on the property. The nights are darker than dark with skies filled with stars and moon light. The wind speaks if you listen.
In the distance you can see the neighbors sheep. I have spent as much as 2 months at a time there and many days before and after with the family who I have grown to love dearly. They have taken me to see and learn about their country, the history and more of their delicious natural wonders including cooking, prepping and storing food.
I’ve been cold there but never scared. I would even go as far to say, I could very easily live there. Why? I have to say it is the place I felt most in touch with myself and the earth.
What an interesting story !
Great question @Brigitte. We started out doing a lot of very appealing house sits in fabulous houses in awesome locations around the world. But we also spent a lot of time talking to people about house sitting and realized that many thought they might not get sitters so easily if they weren’t in a prime location, or with a wonderful home.
So when we had to return to the UK for a couple of years (when dad’s health was failing), we set ourselves a challenge. We decided to do a year of short sits (week or less) in places we might not have usually chosen, and in a wide range of smaller properties and prove this theory wrong.
What a wonderful experience we had. Armed with our National Trust and English Heritage memberships, we saw parts of the UK we might never have otherwise discovered. The most unexpected being a sit in Gravesend, which became a regular repeat while we were in England and the owners have become firm friends.
Gravesend is situated on the River Thames, to the east of London in the county of Kent. I can honestly say Gravesend would never have been on my list of UK destinations to visit. However, it’s turned out to be full of so much history, and we enjoyed both its close proximity to London and the Kent and Sussex countryside, as well as the local area itself.
It’s very easy to be attracted to the prime London sits, but position yourself just outside in the suburbs and you’ll find less competition, and potentially much easier access to road and rail networks, with the possibility of hopping on a train or a bus to explore London central.
Over several stays with Marley (the most regal of cats), we visited …
Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara - This is one of the largest Sikh Gurdwara Temples in Europe where you can get a delicious vegetarian meal as part of a tour.
Panic Rooms - We did one of the most difficult escape rooms when we first did this house sit. Panic or escape rooms were new to us, but it seems they are all over the world. There are several dotted around Gravesend, and they are regularly changed.
New Tavern Fort & Tunnels - This was an unexpected surprise for us, not in as much the artillery fort itself, but certainly the underground tunnels which provided a fascinating step back in time.
The Chantry, Old Tavern Fort - Gravesend’s oldest building which used to be a 14th century chapel and then later a tavern.
Gravesend Nuclear Bunker - Another surprise. The bunker was recently refurbished and it’s all laid out exactly as it would have been at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s.
Tilbury Ferry, Fort and Docks - A short trip across the river to a well preserved fort and more local history. This is a good way to get to the station across the river for a trip to Southend-on-Sea – an iconic British seaside town, if you like that sort of thing!
The Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark, Greenwich, London - We took an easy trip into east London to re-visit Greenwich park and the observatory. Neither of us had visited since childhood so it was a little trip down memory lane.
You can go further afield to the O2 arena, and from close to there you can take a walk in the tunnel that traverses under the Thames or the cable car that returns you overhead.
This is just the tip of the iceberg really. From Gravesend you can take the fast train into London for more central sight-seeing, you can visit the cathedral city of Canterbury, the coastal towns of Whitstable, Dover and Folkestone. We aren’t big shoppers, but if you are then you’ll find Bluewater, a destination shopping mall.
We learned to never say never in the world of house sitting!!
@Vanessa-Admin I might just have to add Gravesend to our travel list. I knew very little about the place, but it sounds as if there is so much to see. The fort, tunnels, nuclear bunker are just the sort of places my boys would love to explore!
This what travelling is all about. Keeping open our chlidren’s eyes ready for discoveries.