Our second week in England started off quietly – We arrived at our first house sit in Prior’s Hardwick but Elena’s croup on Friday had not improved, so we spent a couple of days staying indoors, only heading outside to walk the dogs. Early (very early – 4am) Saturday morning we actually took her to the emergency department at the hospital in Banbury. It was Elena’s fourth night of croup and she had had some tough nights with the coughing and wheezing. Thankfully, they gave her some steroid medicine to help the airways (by the way, Elena just loves taking medicine – she asks for it constantly when she’s sick – “messin? I sick mummy”) and that seemed to help her start to improve.
Housesitting in Priors Hardwick
We had fun those first couple of days exploring our new home – a beautiful house in the Oxfordshire countryside. Part of the house was built in the 17th century and the first day or so we kept getting a little bit lost amongst the rooms and staircases. It has a really fun little attic room, all set up for kids, complete with a child sized bathroom. Elena loved it, until we got sick of climbing the stairs when she had a coughing fit – she then spent the next two nights sleeping between us. We have been enjoying the cosy fireplace in the sitting room and the ever warm Aga stove in the kitchen – this has been fun to learn to cook with, and I cooked my first ever perfect roast in it this week!
Church, tea and new friends
By Sunday we were very keen to get out and start exploring the area. We’d previously sussed out a local church to go to, and we rugged up and headed off in the morning to the church at Wormleighton. This was such a lovely experience. We bulked up the numbers at the service – when we arrived the congregation jumped from 8 to a whopping 12 people! They were super friendly and welcoming, and immediately made us feel at ease, even with our crying baby and not so good at whispering toddler. Afterwards a lovely couple named Annette and Alan (we soon found out they were our two doors up neighbours) invited us over for a coffee after the service. It was really encouraging how welcoming such a tiny church could be. After a cup of tea and a chat, we headed out to a local pub for lunch called the Hollybush for the Sunday Roast – we have just discovered how amazing Yorkshire pudding is, and I am wondering why I have never figured this out before??
Leamington Spa & Stratford upon Avon
On Monday we did our first real sightseeing since landing – we headed off to a town called Leamington Spa (known for its Roman Baths). We thought this place was a little underwhelming, but we did have a lovely walk through Jephson Gardens and Elena had her first squirrel experience.
The real highlight of that day was Stratford upon Avon – famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. This town was really nice – set among pretty canals and the whole place was really Shakespeare themed – the shops were all named ‘the Bard’, or ‘the quill and ink’ etc. We made it to the house of Shakespeare’s birth, and I went in and had a look by myself (Pete wasn’t that fussed by it). I really enjoyed looking through the Shakespearean artefacts and learning more about the history of him and his family. The best part was when one of the guides mistook me for an avid Shakespeare fan and asked me what my favourite play or sonnet was 😳
The local Hunt!
Tuesday – we were in for a real treat and something we never would have experienced if not for this housesitting gig – a local hunt meet! The people we are housesitting for mentioned that this was happening and was worth a look, and of course we couldn’t have been keener. The only thing was, that we had actually no idea what a hunt meet was😛. Well, we found out that it is the epitome of English aristocracy, and is still carried on as a fun hobby and tradition today. We walked up the road to one of the farms where the meet was to…meet, and were surprised by what a gathering it was. We were greeted with port and sausage rolls, and gazed in wonder at the 40 odd people mounted on elegant looking horses, while nearby the hounds bayed in excitement. After a period of socialising the huntsman blew the horn and the hounds were off, with the horses and riders following closely behind. We learned that the aim of this exercise was to chase and catch foxes (and for fun).
The rest of the week was a lot quieter – we spent an afternoon in Banbury, had a couple of good pub meals, Pete and Elena went to a playcentre and we did plenty of dog walking through the fields. We also went to meet our next house sit in Alton, in 1.5 weeks time (!!!! more on that soon). We’ve both also gone for a couple of (freezing) runs in the fields and along the nearby canals 👌
We’ve just come home from a day at Warwick Castle – this was Amazing and I feel like it needs its own post to do it justice – watch this space!
Richardsons’ out – hope you enjoyed this recap!