Dear Friends & Readers,
We have left you hanging in 2016. Although we haven’t kept up with our blogging, we have continued to actively and consistently house sit.
2016 has been a year of transition, as we all can probably attest:
Culturally. The number of great musicians, actors and so many culture-makers and standard-bearers who have passed this year is bewildering. David Bowie was the first among them (true to form, one might say). We were then based in south London, near Bowie’s native Brixton. It was tremendous to see the mourning and celebration at the foot of the Ziggy Stardust mural across from Brixton Station. To this day some flowers remain although the crowds have largely dissipated.
Politically. Brexit, the referendum on the UK’s belonging to European Union. The lead-up to the vote provoked passion and anxiety in equal measure, and the result no less contentious. We are in a time of great uncertainty, and the rhetoric and behaviour of some of the major players has been less than inspiring. We are civically-minded and felt it important to cast ballots, but we didn’t expect it would cause a fallout with a homeowner. We had followed the local council’s advice to register at that address, despite being there only temporarily. Unbeknownst to us this triggered a tax consequence for the owner, who let us know and then stopped communicating. We hoped to help set it right, but it seems Brexit was fractious, indeed.
Travel. We have been lucky to have had small breaks including weekends in Paris and Cardiff, and two weeks in Canada where our current homeowners returned between their own travels. The chance to explore and to connect with family and friends was welcome. But London, too, is so often like travel given its density and scale. Crossing London is invariably a demanding and lengthy undertaking, and the appeal of staying in one’s neighborhood can great. House sitting forces us to explore, to revel in the diversity and colour of this amazing city.
Work. Coupled with our house sitting, we are both in full-time work. For Tim this unfolded brilliantly, having sent a small batch of CVs to select employers and agreed a job within weeks. My search was longer and often dispiriting. I keenly took on temp roles, applied to many long-term roles, appeared to a few interviews, and faced many rejections. I stayed perhaps too long in a contract where the culture and working relationships challenged my capacity. Despite a few existential crises about the value and purpose of work things have improved. As I write we are drawing up papers for a ‘real’ job role in the cultural sector, and I couldn’t be more chuffed.
Transport. We learned that the cost of insuring our trusty Vauxhall Astra in London would have been at least double what it cost us the prior year in Glasgow. To put it in perspective, the cost in insurance per year would be equal to half the value of the car.It had served us so well in crossing the country last year, but alas it was time for someone else to enjoy it. That said, London is relatively well-connected and easy enough to get around by transit. Most people use transit in London anyway, as it is frankly cheaper and easier, despite how it can try one’s patience at times. At least we now know which train lines are liable to strike, and can plan ahead in finding a work-around.
We are booked to March 11, 2017 with longer-term sits in the London area. This brings us to a solid two years, traversing the British landscape and meeting interesting and lovely owners and their pets. No two have been alike, and each has been enjoyable and a learning experience in its own right.
We are eager to continue sitting from March onward, and invite referrals.
With all that transition now behind us, we find ourselves with a renewed commitment to writing and sharing news of our adventures. We’ve updated the look of the blog and will continue to add and make changes over the coming months.
Stay tuned, and thank you for traveling with us!