We end our time in the UK and return to the US
29 May 2015 | Asheville, North Carolina
On March 27th, we moved to our last house sit in the UK in Chipstead. It is a lovely setting. The owner is a structural engineer and they have remodeled an old home on a lovely lot that backs up to the golf course. This is a young family with two children, Ashleigh and Callum. They also have a vacation home outside of Toulouse, in France. While the family goes to France, we are looking after their home and their two cats Bill and Zoe and the rabbit Bela. During this time, we are near London by train with lots of opportunities to revisit places we've enjoyed and see some more of this fascinating city. After the sit, we had a few more days, so we became more familiar with London than we might of as tourists. The gallery has lots of beautiful pictures of spring coming to this part of the world, both at the home in Chipstead and in London itself. We have seen a lot of winter, going from winter in New Zealand and Australia on to winter in Europe. Flowers were a beautiful blessing and they were everywhere. We sought them out, going to gardens, etc. We took a side trip to Windsor Castle, the countryside was lovely and the Castle a real delight. While in London, we stayed in a room in a penthouse flat. There wasn't much privacy, but it was centrally located and the owners were very nice. It gave us an inexpensive way to stay in a very expensive European City. We have used Air BnB several times now when between sits, and never been disappointed. The UK has been wonderfully welcoming to us. We have made great friends and seen so much of the country. We would go back in a heartbeat. We're saying that about winter engagements; think how much we would love it in the spring/summer/fall. Hoping some of our homeowners will have us back someday. House sitting has been a great way to be residents rather than tourists.
We were happy to return to the US. There is a lot ahead of us there. We had a wonderful house sit in Reston, VA with Liz and Gil and their pets Clay and Sammy. Gil is quite a landscaper and Liz a beautiful decorator. We were so lucky to stay in such a beautiful place, right on a lake. We loved the animals, but lost the cat the first day. Whew! we made posters, walked miles and prayed a lot. Can you imagine homeowners coming home to only 1/2 of their animals. Don't think the reference would be very good after that performance. When Sammy came home, we were so glad to see her, we cried.
While there, we took a day to shop for some new clothes. We haven't bought any for quite a while and needed to spruce up for Bob's Basic School Marine Reunion I found the closest Chico's and Bob went to Brooks Bros and Jos A Banks. It was frantic being in all the crowds. We are no longer used to that kind of shopping. It has been years since we have been to a shopping center. But we were happy with our new duds, and they fit our slightly larger sized bodies :-(
The Marine Corps reunion at Quantico was very meaningful and great fun for Bob and me. These guys all went to Vietnam 47 years ago, and most hadn't seen each other since. I signed on to do lots of jobs as I really wasn't part of Bob's military life, but I found there was plenty of use for a Chaplain. Bob & I were both shocked to see the struggles many of these men and their families have endured from their injuries, both physical and mental and from exposure to agent orange. Bob is so fortunate not to be carrying these burdens from his tours of duty in Vietnam. We've had many discussions since about just how unfortunate it is that military service during wartime actually means a lifetime of war exposure for both the soldier and his or her family. Much to think about. The people were wonderful. It ended with a small ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Everyone was affected and they are planning a trip to Vietnam in 2016. Good job to all who worked so hard to organize and to find their comrades after so much time had passed.
We are now in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a beautiful home above Asheville, NC. It is huge, with lots of exposed wood inside and out. The owners Jeff and Lissa are tandem biking in Germany and Holland for 2 months. We are caring for their property and their pets: two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Luna and Tucker; and two cats, Lily and Peanut. You can see their pictures in the gallery. Once again, we love them dearly and are really enjoying them. Unfortunately, Peanut is elderly and in kidney failure, so he gets regular fluid infusions at the vet, which he deals with admirably. We take the dogs everywhere we can. They are so well behaved and lots of fun to hike with. Yesterday we went to Lake Lure and climbed to the top of Chimney Rock. Jeff, the homeowner has been battling lung CA. He is an avid biker and in great shape and making this trip has really been a dream come true for them. He had Chemo the day before they left and will have it again in Europe. Such courage these folks have.
We are happy to be back in the US. I'm especially happy to just be able to pick up the phone to talk with my kids and my friends. It really puts a smile on my face to hear my phone ring again. We are here until the middle of July and then we will be returning to a home in Long Beach owned by our sailing friends Darlene and Jeff Gidley. So we're covered until January 2016 for housing. I'm on the daily hunt to fill Jan -June. Then we can move into the Hawaii house. Who knows what adventures await us in the meantime.
Oh yes, we are here long enough to see doctors. Bob is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday. You might remember he took a fall walking the dog in Essex, UK. I am having a pre-melanoma removed on Wednesday. We should end up better than new!
Aloha for now. Karyn