Our House Sits
Our first house sit in Europe was in a lovely little medieval French village of around 600 residents in North East France called Fontenoy-le-Chateau. It has the river Coney running through it and a canal runs alongside the river. The atmosphere walking around the town’s cobbled streets is very pleasant and we felt at home despite the only stores being a pharmacy, a baker, a general store and a pub.
We had just completed a 4-month travel adventure through Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and the United Arab Emirates – so we were looking forward to settling down in one place for a few weeks. Marion and Roger were wonderful hosts and made us feel very welcome. They had 2 lovely dogs for us to look after Miki and Misty.
We spent the next 3 weeks taking long walks with the dogs through the countryside, cycling to nearby villages, enjoying bread, cheese & wine for picnic lunches and driving to the nearby towns to see beautiful buildings to discover more about the history of the area. We got to know several of the neighbours and even got taken to see nearby towns by Andre and Tina.
We have now had 3 house sits for Marion and Roger, with another booked. Near neighbours, Justin and Deb have also booked us for a house sit when they head away for a holiday in their camper van. We really do feel like this town is our second home.
House sit dates – June 2016; May 2017; May 2018; July 2018; August 2018
Read more about our time here Fontenoy-le-Chateau
Stroud, Gloucester, UK
Janice had already left, so Jer introduced us to Jack and Murph (Border Collies), Buddy the cat with no tail, Alvin the parrot, tropical fish in a tank and pond fish. These would be our pets for the next few weeks. Our duties to the pets included taking the dogs for a walk in the morning and in the afternoon, feeding all the pets their different meals, cleaning the bird cage, and of course keeping them happy with lots of care and attention.
We were fortunate that Jer had organised insurance for the use of Lydia’s car while we were there. In fact he had sorted 2 months of insurance so that we could take the car to our next house sit and drop it off to them before or Hawkchurch house sit in September. That is one of the challenges of housesitting if you don’t have a car. We have been fortunate that nearly all our housesits have provided a car.
House sit date – July 2016
Read more about our time here Gloucestershire
Lodsworth and Heathfield, Sussex, UK
The Lodsworth sit was to look after two Cornish Rex cats named Bella and Suki. Their owners Kate and Gareth are lovely people and made sure we were known to the locals in the village pub. Lodsworth is a small village on the edge of the South Downs National Park where there are lots of beautiful walks, country pubs and a local shop. The towns of Chichester and Guildford are nearby and it is only 45 mins to the south coast. We were delighted to take advantage of the wonderful fig tree that was laden with juicy fruit while we were there, it was the first time we had tasted figs straight from the tree, and they are delicious.
House sit date – August 2016
Read more about this lovely area here West Sussex
The second week was based in the East Sussex town of Heathfield where we would be looking after Miriam’s two dogs Echo (Lab) and Whisper (Lercher). Miriam was heading to Italy for a wedding and we would be walking the dogs around the many tracks that were nearby. Highlights of our stay were visiting the towns of Lewes where Anne of Cleves lived, and Battle the site of the famous Norman Conquest of 1066. There were a number of stunning castles in the area that we also visited including Herstmonceux, Bodium, and the incredible Arundel.
House sit date – August 2016
Read more about this lovely area here East Sussex
Hawkchurch, Dorset, UK
Lesley loves rabbits and she has 4 beautiful bunnies for us to look after Bagel, Brie, Biscuit and Pickle. The bunnies have a wonderful mansion to live in with tunnels leading to different parts, it also has mood lighting that changes colour. We also were asked to look after Spring a young Springer Spaniel. Springs owner is a lovely elderly lady who can’t cope taking Spring for walks every day, of course, we were happy to. One of the benefits of walking Spring was that we discovered lots of blackberry vines, all laden with fruit, so we picked loads and made pies, so yummy.
During the 4 week house sit we were able to explore up and down the Jurassic Coast and visit places like Dartmouth, Isle of Portland, climb Golden Cap and Beer. We were invited back for another sit 9 months later, it was so nice seeing the bunnies and Spring again.
House sit dates – September 2016; June 2017
Read more about the places to explore here Dorset and Devon
Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain
The town of Chiclana is uninspiring, but there are some wonderful Pueblo Blanco towns within 1-2 hours drive. These classic Andalusian towns are normally on hills and the buildings are whitewashed making a nice contrast against the blue sky. The towns we enjoyed most were Cadiz, Ronda, Medina Sedonia, Jerez de la Frontera and Arcos de la Frontera.
House sit date – October-November 2016
Read more about one of our favourite places to explore here Cadiz
We were looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year in a totally different environment to the summer Christmases we had enjoyed in New Zealand. Callas is a small town of only 1700 people Yvonne has become a good friend, we have stayed with her when we have passed by, and we are booked for another two house sits.
House sit dates – December 2016; October 2018; December 2018
Read more about our house sit here Callas
Putney, London, UK
We had left our last house sit in early January 2017 and had been back to New Zealand for our middle son Daniel’s wedding to Jessica.
On the way back to New Zealand we had spent a month in Florida, and after leaving New Zealand we visited Sri Lanka and Kerala, India.
Now it was April 2017 and we were in London for a month-long house sit. How else apart from house sitting or bunking with friends could we stay that long in London?
Brian and Ros were heading off to South America and we would be looking after their lovely dog Gracie and Gordon their tortoise. That was a first for us. Gordon hibernates for 6 months of the year and would be waking up while we were there. So we gained another skill, managing the awakening of a tortoise following hibernation.
Brian and Ros invited us back to house sit again in April 2018 while they went to Peru. We have also stayed with them when we were in London for a few days They also invited our eldest son Richard to stay with them when he came over to Europe – house sitting goes beyond just the house sit.
House sit dates – April 2017; April 2018
Babenried, Munich, Germany
Carola and Thomas would be heading to New Zealand, and we had offered to look after Florian (15) and Finn (12) while they were in our homeland. Fortunately, we had met them all previously and knew we would manage to look after teenage boys, well we had bought up three of our own.
Everything turned out well, the boys were great company, and they appreciated our cooking. We got to explore some nearby towns while the boys were at school.
Places we visited include Neuschwanstein Castle, Landsberg am Lech, Friedberg, Augsburg, and Munich itself.
House sit date – May 2017
Read more about the region we stayed here Bavaria
Great Shelford, Cambridge, UK
We loved the walks in the countryside and it was wonderful to spend time in the university town of Cambridge.
House sit date – July 2017
Read more about the places to explore here Cambridge
Water Orton, Birmingham, UK
The two dogs were such characters. Daisy was always teasing Darcy and loved to be chased. We loved the small village life in a country setting so close to a major city.
House sit date – August 2017
Moresco, Marche, Italy
We had bought a car at the very top of Germany and had 10 nights to get down to our next house sit in Moresco, Italy. We decided to do a road trip that would take us through 10 countries, you can read about that epic journey here Ten Countries in 10 Nights.
The village of Moresco is on the Adriatic Coast about 180km south of San Marino. It is very small, only about 600 people but is in a valley that produces olives, wine, pasta and all sorts of fruit.
Jorg and Jutta, a retired German couple, were heading away twice with a six-week gap in between. We would look after their 3 dogs for 10 days, then we would take the opportunity to do a road trip 3 weeks from North Italy down the coast of Croatia, going into Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. Then we would catch a ferry to the south of Italy and do another 3-week road trip up the west coast of Italy.
Following the road trips, we would house sit for another 5-weeks in Moresco.
House sit dates – September 2017 and November 2017
We were excited to get Christmas and New Year in Zurich. Even better, they agreed to allow our son Daniel and his wife Jess to join us for Christmas, how exciting. Not only did we enjoy the large indoor Christmas market in Zurich, but we also went to Colmar for the wonderful Christmas market there. But a big favourite was going to the Lindt Chocolate factory shop for their post-Christmas sale.
House sit date – December 2017 to January 2018
Read more about the places to explore here Month in Review – January 2018
Felines-Minervois is a small village of less than 400 people in south west France only 30km from the incredible hilltop fortress of Carcassonne.
Fortunately, all the cats got on well and we had a lovely time looking after them and exploring the historic nearby towns.
House sit date – January 2018
Read more about the places to explore here Month in Review – January 2018
Montpellier is a beautiful city with a lovely old town that is mainly pedestrian with lots of lanes and cobblestoned streets. With such places as Nimes, Pont du Gard, Arles and Aigues-Morte nearby, we were never short of something to do.
Mr Darcy is a very relaxed cat and is so easy to look after. We have been invited back to house sit in January 2019.
House sit date – February to March 2018; January 2019
Read more about the city here Montpellier
We had a lot of fun in the rural setting taking the dogs for walks and exploring the countryside, and the nearby Château de Bonaguil. We also took the opportunity to explore some lovely towns including Cahors, Albi and Castres. We are pleased to have been invited back to house sit in October 2018.
House sit date – March 2018; October 2018
If you ever want to stay in a lovely location with great hosts check out their website here. Gite Regrunel
Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia
Wendy’s Landlord works for the Sydney Ferries and he had managed to get us tickets to go on one of the ferries to watch. What an incredible view we had, it was an amazing spectacle and something we will remember for a long time.
House sit date – December 2013 – January 2014
Castle Hill, Sydney, Australia
We would arrive Christmas Eve and would be caring for their two cats and lovely swimming pool. As well as visiting Sydney City on New Year’s Eve, we explored the incredible Blue Mountains while we were there.
House sit date – Dec 2012 – Jan 2013