House Sitting Assignment

House Sitting. A job for the adventurous. Perfect for the explorer.

About three weeks ago, I met a wonderful man who offered Dan and I the chance to look after his home after only a brief and totally unrelated conversation. It was an act of trust and kindness beyond belief.

The saying goes that if you expect the best, quite often you get! Well, living on a boat for over a year in cramped spaces and zero privacy is fine when you have things to do, places to see and people to meet. Not exactly ideal when the temperature is falling and getting ashore involves crossing the waterway equivalent of the M25. We’d been house hunting, and I told you a bit about that. Pokey little places called houses, flats suitable for vampires and almost a queue to get something half decent. I scoured the websites for places to rent, but large homes in the country seemed to be about ten times more than the budget. Still, that was what I wanted.

The genie heard my wish and granted it, if only for a short time.

We moved in two weeks ago. When we first saw the house, I almost choked. It was something straight out of ‘Grand Designs’. Two enormous glass walls made up the living pod. The house was built from Oak, flint, brick and roofed with hand made clay tiles.

Of course I had to do something in return for staying in the ‘large house in the country’. Oh yes. Water the bees, feed the fish every other day, keep an eye out for the badgers in the nature reserve, leave the bins out and the hardest part – drink the beer in the summerhouse fridge.

We’ve walked along The South Downs way, watched TV for the first time in over a year, gone to the toilet in private, cooked beautiful food, drank nice wine, had a bath and showered without the need to pack a rucksack and row ashore, stretched out on the sofas and slept in a real bed with a duvet.

So, as I sit here in front of the summer house, basking in the sunshine on a mid-October’s day, I give great thanks. I’m looking across the South Downs, I can see a converted windmill, hear the birds and smell the scent of Rosemary and mint. I’m next to the bee hives watching as they fly about their daily chores.

Soon I will pick up my trug and fetch some fresh courgettes, tomatoes, beans, raspberries, apples and rhubarb from the garden. It’s a tough role, but someone has to do it.

And Dan, what does he do? Well, he makes Vegetarian Surprises when I’m not being the Domestic Goddess!

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a ‘modest explorer’. Nothing modest about me.

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