We're living in England now!
13 December 2014 | Colne Engaine, Essex UK
Karyn/frosty and sunny
We have covered a lot of new territory in the last couple of weeks. It is amazing! We have been in NYC, Hungary, Austria, Germany and the UK.
When we left our house sit in NYC/Queens, we flew via Moscow to Budapest, Hungary. We took a river cruise on Viking Lines from Budapest to Nuremberg, Germany. Along the way were beautiful medieval walled cities. They were full of history and decorated by colorful Christmas Markets in the squares. This is a great time to visit, Austria and Germany. They really go all out at Christmas time. The markets have local crafts, Christmas ornaments, mulled wine, bratwurst (each town competes with the other for the best), pretzels, cookies, gingerbread. You get the picture. No neon signs or billboards. All the lights are white and twinkling. Gothic and Baroque churches abound. We were able to hear two organ concerts, one in Passau, Germany and one in Nuremberg. It was really something to hear them in such beautiful surroundings. The ship, Freya, was just lovely. Much nicer than the one I went on in Russia a few years ago. They are small but very nicely appointed. You get to know many or your fellow passengers. They were a delight. Lots of local music and dance and all the history and art you could ask for. That is, if you ask for history and art:-)
Then we flew to Stanstad to go to our first house sitting experience in the UK. It is a lovely two story country house in the Village of Colne Engaine. There are only 1,400 people in the village and the church was built in 1100's. We have a playful labrador puppy, Bugle and three chickens (Maka, Maggie, and Miss Marpole). The weather has been frosty, but nice. It has a wintery feel. Today we find out where to get groceries, mail Christmas cards and get some more adapters for the wall sockets. You wouldn't believe how big our adapter bag is getting. We have appliances/plugs from so many countries it's hard to keep up.
The owners are wonderful and I expect we will become friends over time. He is retired military and she (from South Africa) has done some singing/acting and run a bereavement group. They were very gracious. They gifted us each with our own Wellington boots. It is VERY muddy here. They are a necessity. Any of you who know how much I like flowers, will get a smile when you hear that mine are white with painted flowers all over them. I love them! How thoughtful they were to be thinking of us when they had such a big trip to prepare for. Last night we went caroling on the green. Tonight, we go to a choir concert at the neighboring village, Halstead. We will go to church on Sunday and meet the village people and the Vicar. Perhaps there is a way that we may be able to help/participate while we are here. I have to pinch myself. It is amazing to be in a house built in the 1800's, full of antiques from both the UK and South Africa in the countryside of England.
Things are finalized with Realtime. Our newest addition is a Volkswagen Golf Hatchback diesel. She will be our transportation while we are here in the UK. Then she returns to the leasing company when we leave.
Merry Christmas to all of you, wherever you find yourselves this Christmas. May your future be full of hopes and dreams. May our paths cross again.