As I write this, we are well into 2017 & for me, it has turned out to be as filled with house/pet sitting challenges & adventures as the last year. Christmas in Wrenthorpe with Eric was punctuated by a delightful Boxing Day visit from my son & daughter-in-law, which I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy if I’d stayed down south.
Having enough sits in the north of England has enabled me to explore Cheshire, Derbyshire & bits of Staffordshire, places I had only dashed through via motorways on the way to & from other destinations. I would exhort everyone to pay a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum where you can spend a delightful if poignant day. It was thought-provoking enough for me to consider a memorial for my late brother who gave his youth in service to his country, including the Falklands campaign which meant he missed my wedding, & who otherwise would have no other marker to his life.
Knutsford (Canute’s-ford..you learn something new every day!) is lovely but marred by very low planes, as is the nearby quaint little hamlet of Bostock Green, so it was a surprise to me to find that my Wilmslow sit, although nearer to the airport, was so quiet! I thoroughly enjoyed coaxing the fearful rescue Wheaton Terrier outside for the first time in her life to sample some lovely walks. The kangaroo-hopping soon settled down much to the relief of her long-suffering bichon companion.
I have had some void days, putting the microcamper to good use but less & less for the purposes of wild camping. Not only am I getting older & stiffer (dislocating my shoulder in October hasn’t helped!), those nooks & crannies that I used to come across quite regularily are becoming harder to locate. Much to my chagrin, I have had to admit defeat & join the Caravan & Camping Club to access their network of sites. Mind you, that’s no guarantee of comfort – I’d found wild camps with more facilities than the muddy field with tap & elsan; I shan’t name the farm site that had something brown in the water tap hose & Delamere Forest site vibrates with the train traffic. O, well, no such thing as Paradise this side of Heaven!
The rest of the year looms large in my house/pet sitting sights, although my desire to continue this lifestyle prevaricates with the level of pleasure in each sit when it contains owners that are economical with the reality of their pet’s foibles (think undisclosed dog-on-dog aggression, incontinence, pulling etc) but for now it is back to Ashbourne, then Denton…bring it on!