After a comfortable night we headed off towards Burghclere for our next house sit with the adorable cocker spaniel Honey.
We had time to visit the nearby town of Newbury and were surprised at how big it was and what a lovely town centre they had.
Also surprised to see a jewellery shop called J Lawrence jeweller then two shops opposite each other one called Boswells cafe and the other Shaw’s direct. My mother was a miss Boswell before she became Mrs Shaw and of course I was J Lawrence for over 30 years. Will look out for more family name coincidences on our next visit there.
On arriving at our new house sit Tony and Pam welcomed us back as we had visited them before when we were at Wiltshire on our first sit, and we all walked to the local pub for a delicious dinner before Honey, James and I waved them off for the little sojourn in France.
Their home is in the most beautiful location of woodland and estate properties.
But only a short drive to fabulous shopping and Highclere castle where Downtown abbey was filmed so we must go visit.
We spent our first day just going to the massive Tesco mega store to shop and spent the rest of the day chilling at home and enjoying their beautiful garden letting Honey get used to us and feeling secure that we’re here taking care of her doggie needs.
Well the second hottest day on record here in the UK found us taking a drive to Marlborough a beautiful town with lots of old quirky buildings and some nice shops to look around.
We had lunch in a redundant church which is now renting out space to several small businesses like the cafe and jewellery and gift stalls.
A great idea to save the church from been pulled down for a roundabout.
Once back home we walked up to Sandham memorial chapel just up the road and part of the National trust. To be honest glad we didn’t go out of our way to visit. It has some of the paintings by the First World War artist Stanley Spencer.
Honey our little girl has settled in well with us and now follows us around and happy to sit near us wherever we are.
She was very excited to go for an outing in the car to The New Forest for a cream tea and walk.
A lovely area with so many walks, hikes, bike rides, horse rides etc it was great to see cows and horses with their foals not fenced off from the public and watch the horses approach picnickers to see if they could get to share.
The church St Michaels of all angels in the historic town of Lyndhurst had the grave of Mrs Reginald Hargreaves whom was The Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Just came across it with no idea it was there.
Another day we took Honey in the car to Newbury to catch the artisan markets then walk along the canal to see all the barges and walk in the park. That night I could hear her having little dreams so cute.
We HAD to go to Highclere castle, home to the Downton Abbey series since it was so close and it didn’t disappoint, we had driven there a few days earlier to see what the go was and the guy told us get there at the opening and beat the coaches. So we did and as the house didn’t open for a while we were able to walk around the lovely gardens virtually with no one else around.
They have displayed the house beautifully and had some large photos of cast in situ which was great.
A lot of the houses furnishings are used as well so the authenticity is believable.
There are a few villages in the UK that have been kept very much original and one town Lacock is mostly owned by the National Trust it also has a wonderful 12th century Abbey which was then bought by a family and there are some wonderful insights into life in those days.
The wonderful thing about the village of Lacock and also the fabulous village of Castle Coombes is that they haven’t allowed overhead cables etc so filming of these towns is quite common for period shows.
We were fortunate that on the day we visited although there were a lot of showers that day we managed to get enough breaks to walk and see what we wanted, quite incredible considering how much it actually did rain.
James had been in contact with an ex work colleague whom at 30 decided to take a year off work and do his Masters degree at Oxford University. Pratik generously offered to show us around some of his favourite Oxford University spots.
With his student card we were able to access places we would normally never get to see and he has a great knowledge of the history so it was a great tour and we caught up with Damien another work colleague whom met us all for lunch as he was working in Oxford that morning.
We really appreciate the young folk making time for us.
All too soon it was time to welcome home Pam and Tony and say goodbye to our beautiful Honey girl. We had a wonderful stay and hope very much that it works out that we will see them again.
We had booked a night accommodation at The Bear pub in the quaint village of Hungerford for the night before we were due to start our fifth and final house sit not that far from our last one.
Tony and Pam had generously told us to stay the night with them but we had already booked and paid. We have been humbled by the outstanding generosity and warm welcome we have received from all our home owners at our sits. It has been an incredible experience and will certainly try to book a few again next year when we return to the UK.