Often our clients and friends ask about our travels and our house and pet sitting experiences and we thought that a blog would be a good way to share our stories both past and present.

We have met and made friends with some lovely humans, canines and felines over the past 5 years and we hope that you enjoy reading about our pet sitting and house sitting experiences as much as we enjoy regaling our "tails"!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Picture Postcard Cotswolds

We sat for a regular client in the Cotswolds this year, and were looking forward to a traditional family get together with the extra bonus of a very English village backdrop.

Everything was ready, we had the open log fires burning, the beautiful beamed cottage cozy and welcoming, lots of ideas for the main feast on  Christmas day, and three very well loved pets for us to pamper.

The main street of the village/town was bustling with tourists enjoying the long break from work this year. 

We, unfortunately, came down with the flu a few days before the big event and had to cancel our planned program of events.

We spent a few days in bed, and could not face any of the rich, tasty food we had planned or that was being shown us constantly on the television.

Never mind, we made up for it after Christmas, although not in such a perfect setting for such an occasion.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Food discoveries on our trip to North East America

Tracy enjoying a meal at Teaism, Washington DC

We were extremely surprised at the choice and quality of the vegetarian options available on our last trip to North East America. Here are a few of our favorites.

Hearty meal at Founding Farmers, Washington DC


Each city we came to had a great selection of  vegetarian restaurants at all price levels.  Every one we went to had a very high quality menu and was excellent value.  They prided themselves on Organic produce and locally sourced.


The City Tavern, Philadelphia was a real find.  The diner can experience authentic 18th Century American culinary history.  They endeavour to use authentic recipes of the day.  Having said that there was ample choice for the modern vegetarian to enjoy.  We did not feel short changed in the least.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Catching up with friends in New York

With all of our busy lives, we have not been able to organise a get together for  6 years, so we were very excited to be meeting up again at last.

We met our American friends on a cruise to Alaska, when we all found ourselves sitting at the same table for dinner each evening.  We hit it off, and have been keeping in touch via Facebook, emails and the occasional short visit. 

Jeanette and Erlinda have since had a little girl, Gabriella, who we had not seen in real life, until now. They live in the Hudson Valley, a beautiful part of New York, and we were staying with them as well as our other friends from Long Beach, California, Sally and Janet, as well as Ellen.

We visited the Hudson Valley wine region, having a few wine tasting stops along the way.  The wine at each winery was very different. 

We went to our first ever baseball game with the New York Yankees, at the Yankees stadium in the Bronx. Here we are doing the Bronx sign. 

Sally and Janet came with us to Philadelphia for a few days, we got to see the Liberty Bell, Liberty Hall and learnt about American history and the beginnings of a new nation.  We kept a low profile in Philadelphia as the English were definitely the 'baddies' in this part of American history!

We went to Lancaster, Amish country with the girls and the last part of our trip Tracy and I went to Washington DC, to follow the progress of the first settlers to their current governmental capital.  It was such a fantastic trip, not only catching up with our dear friends, but seeing some fabulous places and having some fantastic experiences.  An extra bonus was the food we experienced in all of the locations

we visited.

What an amazing trip.  Thank you all guys for so many great memories.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Discovering Geneva

Tracy was sent to Geneva to sit for a new client.  She looked after a lovely Jack Russell who loved walks, so she got to explore the very affluent town in great detail.

The United Nations and the Red Cross employ a large number of  people here, including American and British citizens.  Our name was soon passed around amongst friends and colleagues and we now have a number of clients in this most beautiful neck of the woods.

On this occasion, Tracy was situated  in the city of Geneva which has a lovely lake, bordered by France and Switzerland.

French is the most common spoken language here, but as there have been a number of cultural influences over the years, the street names are a mixture of German, French and Italian.

We are both back there in February 2013 so hope to explore a bit more together then.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Easy Mucking out in France

On a pet sit in South West France recently, we were introduced to a brilliant product.   We were looking after two horses who, because of health issues, had to be stabled most of the day.  Their bedding was called Aquamax, bedding  which is a "highly absorbent equine bedding manufactured solely from Pine white wood fibre sourced from sustainable sources. "

It was so easy to muck out, and took so little time.  It is amazing to watch the small pellets transform into a sand-like substance when water is added to it. 

bedding after it has been watered.

All you need is a sifting 'fork'

Unlike other woods, Pine contains natural agents which remove the smell of ammonia from urine; works as a natural antiseptic; and produces a light, fluffy bed. 

Once the bed is down, all you have to do is skip out the droppings and then scuff through the bed with your feet, so that the wet patches get absorbed by the dry.  The bed is then levelled out and job done.  There is no smell of ammonia, and there is no dust.

Having used straw and shavings for bedding, we found this a much better product.  We were looking after a mare and a gelding, one very tidy and one who mixed up the droppings in the bedding very efficiently.  I only had a wheel barrow each of waste per day, which also greatly reduced the muck heap.

I would certainly advise anyone to give it a go.  

Link to the website and youtube clip on how it works

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Newcastle Emlyn

From 2 labs to 5!  3 black, one yellow and a brown.  We had sunshine and showers which made the lawn grow very quickly.

Very good family of labs.

 A new location for us, we were sitting in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales.  This is a lovely market town, still with a working livestock market place.  The town was a thriving, vibrant place with every shop you could need.

Bridge at the end of the Town

We were delighted to find a shop selling organic products, and goods to satisfy our vegetarian needs.  There are two lovely bakers and to our surprise, even a vegetarian cafe!  This is called the Riverside Health Shop and Cafe.  www.riversidehealthshopandcafe.co.uk

What a find.  It was such a delight to find a town, supplying all of our needs without having to resort to a supermarket.

There is a castle, with a resident dragon, and a lovely river meandering through with swans.

Link to the town and surrounding attractions.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Walking in the Cotswolds

We were lucky with the weather for a sit in the Cotswolds.  We were sitting for a couple of very well behaved labs,  and after having little or old dogs to look after recently, it was nice to be able to step out and take advantage of the many footpaths and byways which crisscross this part of the country.

The byways were used by lots of dog walkers and horse riders as well as pony and traps.  The countryside is stunning with 360 degree views of  fields and unspoilt landscape.

We picked out a route that conveniently took us past a lovely little village pub The Craven Arms in Brockhampton which had a garden.  The dogs were very good and just sat down watching the world go by, we were very proud of them.  There were foals in the next field to watch.  We walked past some chocolate box cottages, cooled down in bubbling streams and enjoyed the sunshine.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Weekend

Is it over yet!
What a weekend!   We have both been on different sits, Tracy in Pewsey, Wiltshire, and Della in Ludlow, Shropshire. 

We have both watched the celebrations on the TV for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  We are feeling worn out we dread to think how the Queen is feeling.

It was good to see the country come together, and interesting to look at the archive film and photos of the last 60 years of the Queen's reign.  I think we have reached our limit though now and are going to pack our Union Jack flags away until the next time.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Dyfed ducks

So many eggs
 It was lovely to spend the first sit back from hot and dry Australia, in the lush green hills of Wales.  The Spring lambs were bouncing about and the Daffodils and forsythia added a splash of yellow to complement the green.

This was a new sit for us, and we soon made friends with the ponies, cats, and dog, as well as a family of ducks.

Ladies having lunch

Reginald, a true gentleman

The ducks were very interesting to watch, we love ducks for their 'chatty' ways, how they mutter away to each other, keeping in close contact.

Reginald had his ladies well looked after.  He was a true gentleman, letting them eat first and only approaching the trough when they had all finished.

One day a couple of wild mallards flew onto their pond, which sent Reggie into a spin, making sure his ladies were safe.

We helped him by clapping our hands and shooing the two imposters away.

The ducks produced 3 to 4 eggs a day.  They had a duck house to sleep in at night, so the eggs were easy to find.  One night they stayed out on the pond, and the next day, although we searched hard, we didn't find any eggs, although the magpies did.

We washed and dated the eggs with a pencil and then set about thinking up recipes to use the eggs. 

We were quite surprised at the reaction we got from friends and family when we told them that we were eating duck eggs.  We had comments from disgust at eating them, to unaware that they could be eaten.  They are just like big chicken eggs.  I would say they are creamier than chicken eggs and definitely more filling. 

They were lovely in baking, I made some welsh cakes and a sponge, as well as omelet and a frittata.  With any recipe I substituted one duck egg for 2 chicken eggs.

They all had their own characters, and we were sure they spent all day thinking of ways to test us.

Thank you Reggie and girls for your lovely eggs and the pleasure of watching your little family waddle about  your daily routine.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Perth Australia

We have found ourselves in Perth Western Australia, pet sitting for a lady who was off to Brisbane for a week.  We looked after a Japanese Spitz called Zena.

  We also looked after two cats, Matilda and Sassy.  Perth was experiencing a heat wave whilst we were there.  Luckily the house had air con.  We were near a bus station and were able to take a short walk to catch a bus to town or to Fremantle on the coast.

Perth is a very small city, the capital of Western Australia,  with a very picturesque skyline set against the Swan River.

The coastal town of Fremantle has lots of history, being a former whaling town.  There is a great indoor market and a ferry to Rottnest Island which was a great day out.  We met a quokka which looks like a giant rat, hence the name Rottnest  Island.  The coves and bays on this island are beautiful, we cycled around half of the island but had to cut our trip short as we had to catch the ferry home.

On this visit we caught up with friends in Perth and took a trip to the Margaret River wine region, which had stunning beaches as well as the vineyards with lots of wine tasting opportunities.

We then flew to Melbourne and picked up a campervan to travel the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide.
This was an amazing trip, we thoroughly enjoyed the freedom the van gave us.  We were able to stop where we wanted and have a brew looking out over the most beautiful countryside, or beach or wetlands.
We saw wild koalas in the trees and Emus walking along the side of the road.  There were kookaburras in the trees laughing at our attempts to dry our laundry in ever more inventive ways.  We saw some amazing flora and fauna en route and were sad to have to leave at the end of our stay.

Australia grows on us more each time we visit, we are sure we still have plenty more to experience there.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Jackson Sadly Missed

Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to Jackson a very sweet natured Greyhound that we have looked after in France.

He was a very gentle old boy with the softest ears and the kindest eyes. He used to make us laugh so much as he would suddenly start bounding at full speed around the garden, for a few minutes and then go back to what he was doing just as quickly.

He was very easy to look after and loved to lie on his back with his legs in the air.

We will miss you Jackson.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Carcassonne Chins

Back to Carcassonne for a new client. We were looking after three little characters who have all been rescued and each had a sorry story to tell.

Luckily for them, they have been rescued and now live in a lovely home together.

A new breed for us to look after is the Japanese Chin. Click here for Breed description .

They are sweet little dogs with great personalities, a bit shy with new people at first but, given their space soon your best friend.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Snow showers in Normandy

We managed to arrive in Normandy for our second visit, just before a cold snap descended upon Europe. The temperature dropped to below -11 degrees C. in Northern France. The pretty village of Vieux Port was made even more pretty under a foot of snow.

Enzo, the white Alsatian, absolutely loves the snow, enjoying rolling and digging. He was a bit scared to go out in it at first, but soon got the hang of it.

The snow was very powdery and made it very difficult to make snowmen, but we did persevere and managed to get a few decent specimens. The snow lasted for two weeks, we had to unfreeze our water pipes on a few occasions and dig out the car.

The countryside looked amazing with the sun out on sparkling white fields, and ice lacing the leaves on the trees.

We were able to go on some amazing walks being the first to put our footprints into the pristine snow.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tibur 2001 - 2012

Just before we were due to sit for a family in Normandy we had the sad news that one of our charges had died.

Tibur had been suffering from fits which gradually got worse and it was the kindest decision to have him put to sleep.

He had had a good walk, his breakfast and was having a snooze in his favorite place in front of the fire just before he departed from us.

He enjoyed his walks taking his time to investigate everything in his path, like a true hound. He was very shy with new people to start with, but after a little while he became your best friend and followed you everywhere.

He will be sadly missed.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dogs in the Dordogne


For the second half of January we re-visited another existing client, this time in the Pretty
Dordogne region of France.

We had a brief visit to Bordeaux en-route to see a potential client. Although we have been flying into the Bordeaux area for many years, this was the first visit to the city itself. We were pleasantly surprised at the lovely buildings there. It was bitterly cold, but we had a good look around for a morning before we set out to travel south to Le Bugue.

Spot the Cat.

Here we look after 6 lovely dogs, a Black lab and her pups and a golden cocker spaniel and her two pups. They are all girls and a real delight to look after, although you have to be pretty nifty to get a place on the sofa of an evening! There are three cats and a horse to complete the family. The girls have plenty of land to run in, so we had plenty of exercise on a daily basis.

Tracy and Zola

The weather was cold but dry most days.

We spotted deer frequently, trying hard to avoid us. Le Bugue is a small town very picturesque on the side of the Vezere river which snakes its way past picture postcard villages and gorges.

There are plenty of Neolithic remains in this area, caves with paintings and archaeological sites. This was Della's second visit here so it was great to be able to introduce Tracy to the family.

Friday, 13 January 2012

New Year in East Sussex

We saw Christmas and the New Year in familiar surroundings, looking after various animals. We had sheep, chickens, ducks and ponies outside, and three dogs and a cat inside the house.

We arrived to a lovely message from the owners' children.

Having sat for this family in the summer months, we were familiar with the area and the surrounding countryside. We had a trip to Hastings to meet up with some friends who stayed at the campsite during the summer, and they showed us around their town.

On New Years day we went to a local pub for Tracy's birthday, and met up with friends who live in Edenbridge.

We got into a routine with the animals very quickly, having a lovely walk around the land with the dogs, who chased about with boundless amounts of energy. We had a daily puzzle to solve of how one chicken kept escaping from the chicken pen. We finally saw it in the act of escaping one day, putting an end to the mystery. We counted the sheep daily to make sure they were all present and correct. The ponies needed their 'electric tape' re-erecting most days, as they had a habit of pushing it until it broke, to get to better grass.

We were helped in all these duties daily by our very loyal friends. Fergus the greyhound, Marble the Jack Russell, and Noko the very springy, Springer Spaniel.

For most of the sit we had mild, dry weather, with occasional rain and some rather windy days which brought a tree down. Some days the ground was very wet which made things difficult, especially in the ponies' field where we were in danger of losing a welly. On the whole though we had a good month.

We said goodbye to our furry helpers, and we will look forward to seeing them again later on in the year.