Having written this nearly two months ago I have finally got round to posting it.
On and off over the last two years, we have been fortunate enough to house sit in some beautiful houses in stunning locations. So with our house still rented out when we return back to the UK we decided to see if we could continue house sitting into the new year.
So backtrack to November last year and we find our selves just a short distance from Tunbridge Wells in the pretty village of Hawkhurst. It’s an area full of history going back at least a 1000 year and it’s hard to believe smugglers used to operate here.
From water lane where we stay, it’s just a short drive to Bedgebury forest where we walk Georgie and Roxy daily. It’s a beautiful setting for peaceful walks, family cycling and running trails, or just take in the view across the pinetum.
Since we arrived here the weather has been horrid but once the rain stops John takes the opportunity to get out cycling. Our week here just flies by and it’s time for us to take a drive up the M1.
Tucked away on the outskirts of Cambridge is the ever-growing town of Histon which has seen it over the years become entwined with neighbouring Impington. It’s said that many of the villagers today do not know where one ends and the other begins. It’s an area we had always bypassed so we relished the opportunity to house sit here. Running through the village is worlds longest guided busway. This unique experience runs for 16 miles and is probably the easiest way of getting around here.
It takes us about 10 minutes to walk into the village centre that’s a hive of activity with a good selection of shops, a weekly market, library and a great range of activities. On our daily walk with Nessie and Sassy, we pass the picturesque village green and pond complete with pump, you can see why it attracts so many people to live here.
Today is a change over day for us and with less than 2 weeks until Christmas, we head back down the motorway to Kent. Generally a well-to-do place, Sevenoaks is situated in a lovely part of England with Knole house and park just a short walk from the high street you can see why it’s a target-rich area. We find ourselves spending Christmas in the highly sought after Wilderness Estate looking after Sushi and Simba two very entertaining cats. It’s a protected location nestling in a semi-rural position, though within easy reach of the town. It’s a charming town with an eclectic mix of shops and leisure facilities all within the stunning countryside. In 1987 the Great Storm hit Sevenoaks hard. The seven trees that had stood in the town for centuries and had given Sevenoaks its name since perhaps 800AD had been reduced to just one. More than 30 years on its good to see that they have been replaced and flourishing.
On New Year’s Day, we find ourselves on the move again and head for the stunning East Sussex countryside. The village of Stonegate is situated towards the top of a hill, and it’s here where we spend the next couple of weeks with the most amazing views across the Rother Valley towards the village of Burwash. Stonegate its self has very few services as it is only a small village so the nearest shops are in the pretty villages of Ticehurst and Wadhurst. The whole area is steeped in history with links to King Cnut, Anne Boleyn and Rudyard Kipling. As we walk with Mango and Truffle across the open fields we have to pinch ourselves that we have had the opportunity to stay in such a beautiful place.
Its late January when we arrive at the village of Boughton Monchelsea, it’s an area I know well. It’s just a stone’s throw away from where I grew up and went to school so the next 6 and a bit weeks will give us time to explore the area again.
The old village centre which lies about 1 mile to the south of the main road, is very pretty and has very fantastic views across the Weald. Whilst the newer part of the village lies about 1 mile north of the main road, and its green( Boughton Green ) is also a very attractive area. Famous for its quarry, which has provided materials since Roman times when some of the stone was used to build the walls of London. It is also believed that Henry V ordered 7000 stone cannonballs from the quarry for the wars in France. The church is a very old building which dates back to the late 11th century, some of the Norman arches can still be seen in the tower. The lychgate is said to be one of the oldest in the country.
Unfortunately, the weather has been horrendous since we arrived here strong winds and heavy rain that have seen the roads flood at times but it hasn’t stopped us walking Ben and Ted.
Sadly it’s time for us to move once again and this time we are returning to our own home.
For us now, house sitting has gone way beyond being about the financial savings that are possible by having a ‘free place to stay’ for a few days or weeks. Of course, that’s obviously a great incentive and, real help with our finances, but it also gives us the chance to settle in one place for a certain amount of time. But as I write this, I am sitting in one of the many comfortable chairs we have had the pleasure of sitting in over the last 5 months.
From my window I can see the adjacent houses, I can hear the neighbours talking, the dogs barking, and the birds are singing, we have loved being in this small friendly village. So has the lights start flickering on I think back over the last few months.
From bay windows to bi-fold doors with views that stretch across countryside, flowering gardens or surrounded by tall healthy green trees.
We have watched the sunrise and sunset, with fresh country air that at times is perfumed with the smells of wood curling, it’s way out of chimneys to birds singing many a different tune all day long. We have met some lovely people who each have their own story and we hope our paths will cross again one day. We have cared for friendly, quirky, fun-loving Dogs and cats. And stayed in some of the most amazing places, each and everyone is so different, who wouldn’t want to house it!!