July saw us in Widdington, not far from Cambridge, in another beautiful, wee village in Essex. This village has no shops, but it does have a local hall, bus stop and a pub which was only 3 doors down from us.
We are staying in a lovely 2 story home that is beautifully decorated with exposed beams throughout. For our enjoyment outside we have a table tennis table and a trampoline.
We are sitting here for 3 ½ weeks, while the home owners are travelling overseas, caring for an array of animals – 2 affectionate chocolate Labradors, 6 chickens, an aquarium with tropical fish and an outdoor pond with koi fish.
Megan is 10 years old – her tail is always ‘wagging’ and she likes to bring you her soft toys.
Bruno is 6 years old – he’s a big boy and loves going for long walks, getting treats and receiving lots of pats. He’s also scared of the vacuum cleaner!
Our daily routine comprised:
- Giving dry dog food with gravy in the morning and again at 5:30pm.
- Megan is given her daily medication with her morning meal.
- Morning walk – 60 minutes
- Lots and lots of cuddles with the occasional treat.
- A shorter evening walk in the evening with Bruno and occasionally Megan would join us.
Each week, Megan and Bruno attend Agility and Dog Obedience classes, so we kept with their routine. We enjoyed doing this and it allowed us to bond with them even more.
Whilst Megan and Bruno were ‘Best in Show’ at their obedience classes, they were otherwise head strong when being walked. Fortunately, we could take them in the car (supplied by the home owner) to a local farm for their ‘off lead’ morning walks.
These morning walks were a lot of fun. Megan and Bruno would walk with us alongside the wheat fields and occasionally we saw deer ‘bouncing’ through the fields. Bruno also liked running through the wheat fields and you could only see his head bopping up and down as he bounded through.
The chickens gave us 6 eggs almost every day. Many more than we could eat, but we enjoyed many omelettes and scrambled eggs dishes over the weeks. Glenn was in charge of the chickens, collecting eggs and checking their food and water as well as changing the bedding in their coop. These chickens were unusual in that they roosted in an apple tree at night time, instead of their warm, cosy hen house.
The fish were easy to care for. Fish food for the aquarium every 2 days and the outdoor pond fish were fed automatically via a timer.
We were told if there was a power outage that the pump for the outdoor pond would need to be manually switched on. As it happened we did have a power outage during our stay so we followed the owners instructions to get it going again.
In the garden, we tended to the large vegie patch and gave the fruit trees (with the owner’s permission) a long overdue prune. One of Jacqueline’s favourite fruits are cherries and she was very excited to see they had a cherry tree full of ripe cherries to eat.
During the day, Bruno and Megan could be left home alone for up to 6 hours and this gave us some free time to explore the local area.
- We went on a few walks. On one particular walk the directions were a little ambiguous, eg turn right past the large oak, so our 7km walk became 10kms.
- Visited Duxford, an historic airfield and museum of aviation history. A truly interesting place and we spent 5 hours there.
- Visited Cambridge again! (we did a 3 day house sit in Cambridge 2 weeks earlier).
Cambridge has 31 colleges and this visit was devoted to visiting some of these beautiful and very old buildings. The oldest college there is Peterhouse College which was built in 1284.
- Ely Cathederal is a magnificent, medieval cathedral built in 1189, with some additions in the 13th & 14th centuries. It could have been ‘lost’ when King Henry VIII enforced the destruction of English Churches (Dissolution of the Monasteries 1539) but due to it being an Abbey Church and Cathedral it was saved.
- We also visited Colchester, Bury St Edmunds and Audley End House
We enjoyed our house sit in this tiny village and will miss our pleasant walks in the wheat fields with Bruno and Megan. The most important thing we learnt about Labradors is – they love food!
Next stop … we are returning to Berkhamsted to be reunited with Trigger. Our favourite Cocker Spaniel.
What the home owners said – “…When we returned the house was cleaner than when we left it and, as discussed beforehand, our fruit trees had been pruned and our garden had been looked after. We would wholeheartedly recommend the Lambs to anyone looking for house-sitters, we will definitely be using them again if our diaries allow.....”
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