This week has been…. interesting. Pete commented today (after a “fun” event at a local cafe – I’ll tell you about it later) that it has been a week of ups and downs, and I replied, “hasn’t it just been down?”. That sounds really negative, but actually we are all good. People who know me well know that I am very much ‘live in the moment’, that even though there have been many challenges this week, because I am feeling good right at this moment, that means I have forgotten everything that has come before and am only thinking of the now. This is mostly a good thing (I think😜).
Our week started off really well! We finished up at our first house sit with all parties happy, and headed off south to Somerset. On our way we took the scenic route through the Cotswolds, stopping for lunch at the idyllic Bourton-on-the-Water. This place was so lovely, with a pretty canal running through it. We sat by the canal and had our peanut butter sandwiches – it is actually way too cold to have outdoor picnics here, something we are missing a lot. So naturally we went indoors for a hot chocolate pretty much as soon as we had scoffed down the sandwiches. After a nice walk around the village we headed off, on our way to our airbnb in Somerset.
On the way to our new accommodation, we saw these baby lambs:
Of course we stopped and oohed and aahed at them (at least I did).
We were really pleased with the airbnb and we probably need to revise our previous “mistake” of never staying at a place that has no reviews – we were the first guests and it was great!
We only had one full day in Somerset so we planned to use it well. First we headed to Wells Cathedral – a truly majestic Cathedral in England’s smallest city. This place was magnificent – I think probably the best cathedral I have ever seen. We definitely wished that we had more time to explore the surrounds and the Bishop’s Palace right next door – maybe next time!
Next we headed to the home of Cheddar cheese – Cheddar! Since arriving in the UK we have started to notice a certain obsession that Brit’s have with cheese. So we were a bit excited to go to the cheese museum. It was pretty cool, although a bit underwhelming (maybe we built it up a bit too much). It involved a little tour of the cheese making factory in the only working cheese factory in Cheddar. Unfortunately the cheese making process is pretty long (7 hours) so all we saw was some milk churning in a huge vat – sort of got boring after about 9 seconds. The best part was the cheese tasting – we tried every one. No shame. After the cheese we were aiming to head to some caves in Cheddar Gorge, but they were closed. We had more to do on our list, but we had reached toddler (and parent) limit so we decided to head back to our place and crank up the fire.
The next day was hill day! One of our favourite things to do is walk up hills (I’m not even joking). We had one hill preplanned, but as a treat, managed two that day! There’s something about pushing yourself up muddy slopes and endless stairs, feeling the brisk wind on your cheeks and that feeling of elation as you reach the top and embrace the sweeping fields and plains beyond. We climbed Glastonbury Tor in the morning and were rewarded with this view:
After descending, we walked through Glastonbury Town. We were quite interested in this place – when we arrived at the airbnb, we asked our host what she would recommend in the area. She said if we were into weird things, we would love Glastonbury. Her husband (in a separate conversation) said that the place was full of weirdos. Naturally we were intrigued. If we could stereotype any place, this would be it. Most people we passed had dreadlocks, piercings, amulets, and other forms of colourful and outrageous attire. As well as that, every second shop was tending towards the arcane. It was definitely an interesting experience, but definitely not a place that we could fully appreciate.
We were about to head off to our next house sit in Alton, when we received a message from the owner asking us to delay our arrival by an hour. We were wondering how to fill in the next hour when we remembered a sign we’d seen to a place called Cadbury Castle, and in brackets, Camelot. The supposed location for King Arthur’s mythical Round Table? Yes please. This was our second hill of the day. We trudged up a very muddy hill – I was trying moderately hard not to get my brand new leather boots covered in mud (failed – sorry Janette) and, although there were no signs of any castle, stones, swords or knights, we still enjoyed the beautiful scene from the top.
So this was the high point of our week. The next few days went downhill a bit (like what I did there?).
We arrived at our Alton housesit. Settling in was easy, it is a beautiful, modern, comfortable house with three very friendly labradors. Our first day there, we thought, hey, let’s have a quiet one after a busy few days. So, we had one quiet day. That night, Pete woke up with a stomach bug. Sickness ensued. In the morning, Elena vomited in her bed. That day consisted of lot’s of tv for the sickies and plenty of washing. Elena perked up really quickly (toddlers are amazing at shaking off illness!), and I was massively patting myself on the back for not getting sick. I should have known…. early the next morning, I had caught the stomach bug too. Thankfully Pete was feeling well enough to take over kid duty. Unfortunately for me, I tend to get my sicknesses a bit harder and faster than Pete. So after one of my many stints in the bathroom vomiting out the lining of my stomach (probably), I fainted. I have never fainted before, ever, so this was a novel experience for me. The novelty wore off pretty quickly when I realised I had fallen on my face and broken a tooth. I woke up on the floor wondering what I was doing there and where was half my tooth?? The next day was recovery day but we were getting serious cabin fever by then. While we were stuck at home a couple of other bad things happened. I can’t write them publicly but if you can’t handle the suspense, then you can message us privately (don’t worry, it’s nothing weird or too serious!!). By the way, I managed to get my tooth fixed that afternoon, so I guess it’s not the pirate life for me.
By the way, this happened too. Snow!!
On Saturday we were finally all well enough to venture out, so we headed to the local Milestones Museum, a very quaint exhibition of times gone by. It was like walking through an olden town, and interesting to see some of the old machines, engines and shops that used to be around. We grown ups were secretly a bit bored, but to our surprise, Elena just loved this place! She had a great time wandering in and out of the “shops”, using her ration card to buy sweets, and playing in the penny arcade.
That afternoon Pete headed to his first football match since we arrived in the UK – Reading vs Barnsley. Here’s the match report from Pete: The match itself was a bit of a drub affair really. A goalless draw which never really seemed to get out of first gear. The atmosphere itself was also less than impressive – Sydney FC could teach both these teams a bit of a lesson both on and off the field (especially this year – come on Sydney, win us that Championship!). Despite this, I still loved it. I loved soaking in the culture of English football and going to what is a great little stadium. I will be returning to watch Reading FC again on Tuesday night with Pedro, the gardener of the house we are housesitting.
This is Kilian’s newest trick.
Today is Sunday and we went to a local church. It was very friendly and welcoming, but when the sermon is centred around donuts, as opposed to the Bible, it is a little disappointing. On the upside, donuts were served, but we would have the preferred the bread of life. We went to grab lunch at a cafe after church, a nice way to finish off our week, if not for Elena vomiting all over Pete’s lap and the couch. Here’s to next week!