Sunday, 20 May 2018

House wandering through the UK

Jackie with Frodo cat
Continuing our strange life (to some) of wandering through the UK housesitting, we are now in Epsom, Surrey looking after old Frodo cat while Richard and Helen take their two week action holiday in Peru visiting Machu Picchu, Nazca lines and many places we visited last year - fond memories for us!

Richard and Helen, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Friady 18th, are mum and dad to our friend Sarah and hubby John who live back in our home village of Alvechurch and allow us to use their home address as ours whilst we travel. We both already knew Richard and Helen through Sarah, but I have only visited their house in Epsom once, though Jackie, knowing them much longer than me, has visited before and remembers Frodo cat as a kitten. She's now an old 19 year old very sweet cat that likes company. She can no longer climb the stairs and walks around like a real old girl, but she's very affectionate and likes company, so for the two days so far that we've been here we've carried her upstairs in the mornings so she can join us on the bed while we have morning coffee. It's very comfortable here, Richard and Helen have a fabulous house with a superb garden and its a 15 minute walk into Epsom town through a park so, coupled with the great weather we're having at the moment, it's perfect!

Little Frodo cat
Corinne in action at her house
In the week since our last update we have finally finished decorating at Corinne's house. In the nine days we worked there we cleaned, emulsioned and glossed three bedrooms, the ceiling and gloss in the bathroom, the hall stairs and landing, the lounge, kitchen and dining room, cleaned the outside front and prepared the drive for new gravel. Ian and Helen did the garden and Corinne sorted, cleaned and did a bit of painting - what a team!

Corinne, where did you get that hat? And those trousers....!
The cleaned front of Corinnes house - and a full skip!
It all finished for me on Monday lunchtime as I had an appointment at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham to have a biopsy taken on my right hand which required a stitch and dressing, so no more work for me for a few days. It looks like the skin cancer I had in NZ 5 years ago has reoccurred which will mean a further minor op if the biopsy comes back positive, that along with the other minor op on my chest to remove another suspect bit on 29th May. Bit of a nuisance, but at least it's easy to spot and treat so things could be worse.

James, daughter Fiona and 18 year old granddaughter Becky
We finished looking after Sooty cat in Hall Green, Birmingham on Thursday morning and drove straight here to Epsom to have an evening with Richard and Helen and learn where everything is, how it all works and meet Frodo cat. Before we left we managed to squeeze in the second two of Jackies big birthday celebrations, (the first one being at my sisters 10 or 12 days ago), the second one being a joint celebration at my daughters house in Kenilworth on Sunday last where my granddaughter Becky is about to celebrate her 18th. That was a great day with Fiona, James, Becky and youngest, Jenny (eldest grandadughter Abbie is currently away at Manchester university, so she wasn't there) and even though it was sunny outside, we didn't move from the dining table after a fabulous lunch, as talking took over!

Relaxing with Sooty cat and a glass of wine at the end of decorating
Monty dog, Corinne and Jackie at Helen and Ian's house
The third celebration was an afternoon tea that we prepared at Sooty's house for when homeowner Abi paid a brief visit back from  Malvern to collect her repaired car. We (or should I say mainly Jackie), prepared the whole experience, low alcohol bubbles, cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off (obviously!), pastrami pinwheel sandwiches, salad, smoked salmon, prawns, stuffed peppers (plus more), cake and I baked cheese and plain scones, served with clotted cream and strawberry jam, washed down with a pot tea in cups and saucers. Abi provided posh table cloths and bunting, all served in the back garden in afternoon sunshine - how very British!

Abi and Jackie and the full afternoon tea birthday experience
Jackie with brother and sister Clive and Sarah
Her fourth and final celebration was yesterday here in Epsom, on her actual birthday, when Sarah and her brother Clive came. It might have been the Royal wedding of Harry and Meghan, but I'm afraid we missed it, celebrating Jackies birthday in the sunny back garden with Sarah and Clive instead. More low alcohol bubbles, quiche, salad, couscous, potatoes etc. and another birthday cake with candles washed down with several pots of tea. Sarah did say how strange it felt arriving at her parents house, ringing the bell and being let in and looked after by us rather than them, but at least she could show us some things that Richard and Helen didn't have time to do before they left.

Richard and Helen's lovely house
It's not all relaxation here, plant watering is required!
Today, Sunday papers, enjoy the house and garden in warm, sunny weather and fuss little old Frodo cat. It might be a strange life to some, but to us it's just fabulous.

Frodo cat seems quite relaxed though....

As did Sooty cat when we looked after her

A regular visitor to Richard and Helens back garden, a green parakeet. We really like them, but they screech a lot so R&H are not quite so fond of them

In case you didn't see it in the above photo with Clive and Sarah, here's Jackie's birthday cake with the big '5-0' candles ready for her to blow out

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