A favourite housesit of mine was Christmas 2019 when I got a last-minute sit to look after lovely Lily Cat in Somerset. The cottage where I stayed was in a little village between Wells and Glastonbury. It was a cosy delight and the perfect place for my soul to recharge.
When I first saw this sit I think there was only one picture on the listing. Normally I like to see a bit more in case there is something to hide!
But this photo was of a deer in the garden and I was hooked. Usually, for Christmas, I get booked quite early. But life at work had been hectic and I hadn’t had much headspace to think about anything else.
Waiting for the perfect Christmas housesit
I’d seen a few listings that would have been somewhere nice enough to stay over the festive period. I held off though as none of them felt perfect. I knew something better would come along and I’d know it when I saw it. When this listing popped up just a week before the start date, I knew it was the one. Even with its limited information.
I’d wanted to return to Glastonbury after visiting there at the beginning of the year. It’s a weird and wonderful place (aside from the festival). And winter felt like the perfect time to retreat into its magic.
Putting first-timers at ease
The listing vanished after the first time I’d seen it. However, it soon popped back up with a few more images and information. The owners described their home in good detail and it sounded lovely.
I sensed that this owner was new to the site, and to pet sitting. And I knew I’d be able to help them. I’m quite good at saying the right things to make first-time people feel at ease. I remember how wary I was of someone looking after my own cats in the past. I understand the kind of worries that are going through their head.
Plus I’ve done so many sits by now that I know the kind of questions and concerns people generally have about using a house sitter for the first time. I enjoy taking people through the details so they know they can go away feeling comfortable about their pet situation.
Getting to Glastonbury
After the whirlwind booking and getting finished up in London I started the trek to Somerset. I got the coach to Bristol. In the past, I’ve turned my nose up at the coach. But after trying it once I found it can actually be a far calmer experience than the train. (I went with National Express but another time I’d use Berry’s Coaches. They go straight from London to Street which is much close to Glastonbury and Wells.)
The 376 bus then took me from Bristol to the village where I was staying. I’m a country lass, born and bred in rural Scotland. But getting off the bus with my long winter coat and wheelie suitcase I looked like an out-of-place city girl!
As is often the case in the countryside, the given postcode and Google Maps were telling me all sorts of tales. Luckily I was easy to spot and Barry, the owner’s husband, passed me as I was walking up the muddy track. We loaded my suitcase into the back of his 4×4 and he took me down to the cottage.
Feeling welcomed to the housesit
Catherine, the owner, was out when I arrived. She was busy catering for a funeral (the day before going on holiday what a superwoman!). Barry gave me a quick tour and introduced me to Lily.
Barry and Catherine were so generous and friendly. They’d been shopping and bought me 3-days worth of vegetarian food. They had a huge larder and invited me to help myself to anything in it. Their kitchen was lovely. I’m not much of a cook but I was excited to use it.
As he had a few things to do Barry popped into Wells and invited me to join him. I grew up in a town with 5500 people but now I’m used to living in anonymous London. It was amusing to sense the wagging tongues as Barry went about his errands with an unknown woman! Wells is technically a city but it’s actually very small-town. Barry told me later people had been asking who I was, haha!
Settling into the housesit
Back at the house, I met Catherine, who was lovely. She made sure Barry had told me everything important to know about Lily and that I had all I needed. After I got settled into my bedroom we went out for dinner. Catherine and Barry treated me to a lovely meal at a restaurant that had recently opened.
After tea, we returned to the house. I kept out the way so that Barry and Catherine could do their last-minute packing and organising. They were actually leaving early the next morning but they’d asked me to sit from the pervious day. That can be quite a common request where housesit hosts are leaving early and have a spare room. I know it can be stressful getting ready to travel so I usually say my goodbyes the night before as the mornings can be fraught!
3 weeks of winter bliss
Catherine and Barry were gone when I woke up the next morning. I didn’t hear them or even the car starting when they left. I had a brilliant night’s sleep. After living in London with its constant noise and light I always forget how much better I sleep in the country. The room was properly dark and so very quiet. Catherine had left me a little Christmas present outside my door which was so thoughtful and kind.
The housesit was for three weeks and I spent that time recharging and rejuvenating. I was burned out from work and needed peace and calm. Barry had extended part of the cottage and most of the living room was floor to ceiling windows. I spent hours sitting beside the cat looking out at the birds in the paddock. The rain pelted down as the log fire roared and I watched endless Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.
Visiting Glastonbury and Wells
The weather was horrible for much of my stay. It rained most days so my plans for long walks in the country went awry. I didn’t have a car so it wasn’t quite as easy to get out and about as it could have been. But I had no great plans to do anything much. The bus ran between Wells and Glastonbury quite frequently so I went to both those places.
Wells is pretty and has lots of nice independent shops to mooch about it. I got my Glasto fix and filled up my bottle with water from the Chalice Well. I’m not sure if it’s magic but my body loved the iron-boost.
Moving on to my next housesit
At the end of my Christmas and New Year housesit I felt re-energised and ready for 2020. (Ha, well at least I thought I did then!) After making sure I’d left the house as I found it, and saying goodbye to Lily about a million times, I headed off. I don’t normally wait for the owners to return before I live a sit. I think when you’ve been travelling it’s nice to get back and have your own space to yourself.
My next housesit was booked for three days later. So I was headed to Chelsea, back in London. (If you’re interested here’s where housesitters stay between housesits.)