If you’ve been following along with us on a regular basis you’ll remember a very recent post about some changes, small ones, in one we’re putting on the Ramble and how we’re going about doing things re: travel in our lives. We (ok, mostly Lisa) spent some time explaining how we’d wanted to use house/pet-sitting as a way to instigate travel with some budget relief. Well. For any of you that are fans of “The Secret”, vision boards, or just plain magic, our hats are off to you. About three weeks ago we (ok, mostly Lisa) set up a new profile on a website that focuses specifically on the United Kingdom and matching home-havers (renters can do it too, I think) with people willing to watch those homes. Within a couple of days(!) we had multiple solicitations for homesits. The second-most promising one was a week on the western coast of the UK but it was, frankly, so last minute that we’d be canceling dinner dates and other meetups and it just seemed too rushed. The most promising one, however, gave us a little more time to prepare; and so prepare we have.
By now you may already have a couple of questions, starting with “what’s a Dursley?” Other than a familial name in those kid magician books, it is a charming little… hommlet? village? let’s go with “town” for now… in the southwest of England. A very nice couple of mixed English and American extraction are leaving old England for New England to visit family for a few weeks and they want someone(s) to look after their 8 month old kitten. Yes that’s right, the mission should we choose to accept it is to play with a kitten. Spoiler alert: we accepted. [Editor alert: clearly they didn’t have grammar check on their typewriters or that Mission: Impossible line never would have made it past draft form.] And so it is that later this very day we are hopping a ride with Orlando (if you know you know) to a hotel adjacent to the Porto Airport so as to catch a flight in the morning to Bristol.
Oh yes, Bristol. One of the things about housesitting is that it can actually be very competitive if you have a yen to visit any of the world’s hotspots. People in London have no trouble finding housesitters, in fact they are usually spoiled for choice. The websites that cater to these arrangements have become popular enough that you can see dozens of application fall in for sexy locales. However, if you’re less picky and/or actually want to see more of the world than just the capital cities, it turns out it isn’t all that hard to make the arrangements. To be clear, there are no global attractions of note in Dursley; a search for “things to do in Dursley” comes up with a number of interesting things starting at about a 30 minute drive from town. That said, if you give yourself a driving radius of about 90 minutes you get things like Stonehenge, Oxford University, and Cirencester (home of the amazing Chedworth roman villa). So yeah, we don’t just walk out our door and trip over UNESCO world heritage sites, but neither do we have to work all that hard to see them. And before it sounds like we’re dismissing Dursley, the town itself is lovely, and quiet and… oh, right! The average temperature in August runs about 15-20 degrees cooler (Fahrenheit) compared to where we live in Braga. Oo, and it’s rainy, too! To a couple of Seattle transplants it sounds just divine.
Today is, as the title says, Day 0. As of this writing we don’t actually know the first thing, first hand, about where we’re going. What we know is that the people seem nice, there’s a kitten named Obie (short for Oberon, in case we weren’t sure if these were our kind of people) who doesn’t know that they are waiting for us, and that against a terrible first impression from a year and a half ago (time flies!) we are once again putting our fate in Ryanair’s hands starting tomorrow morning. For now, it’s a slightly anxiety-inducing day of waiting for things to get started. We are packed, we have no plans because we treated this as a travel day, and so we watch the hands glide across the clock-face. (“You still have clocks?” Shut up.) This will be a whole different kind of adventure for the next three weeks, so let’s discover it together, shall we?