Perfect Pooches and Plentiful of Planning - Days 595 – 620
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
It was over three weeks ago that we arrived back in the UK for a couple of months to catch up with friends and family. But first, our time is spent patting pooches and planning, planning and more planning.
We are currently staying in Clifton, an affluent area of Bristol with curves of grand Georgian townhouses, leafy greens, rather delightful boutiques and cafes. Its iconic landmarks such as the Observatory, previously a mill, and Brunel’s Suspension Bridge straddling the Avon Gorge are all within walking distance.
We are here for nearly a month looking after a fabulous house and two gorgeous dogs which we found through Trusted HouseSitters. It’s a great website which connects house and pet owners with reviewed and verified sitters, like us! (If you are interested in joining, please use this link then we both benefit. You get 25% off your annual membership, and we get two months extra free).
The dogs, Mira and Tikka, are such characters. It is a joy to be greeted by their wagging tails and bright eyes each morning before we set off for their 90-minutes’ walk over the Suspension Bridge to Leigh Woods. Our first day was an adventure. Mira, who is a stately 10-year-old Weimaraner, managed to catch a squirrel. She stood there proudly showing us her prize, just as every Thomas, Richard and Harold seemed to appear out of the woods. Would she let go of the poor creature? No way. First, a large group of cyclists observed us as we frantically were commanding “Drop” to no avail, then mothers and their babies and toddlers appeared. I imagined some poor child being traumatised by the scene; luckily, the Mums dealt with the situation admirably and with humour. Thankfully one of the Mum’s gave us some dog treats. The smell of these loosened Mira’s grip and Tim managed to pull out the squirrel from her jaws. Sadly, it did not survive.
Apart from dog caring, my time seems to be mainly spent planning. We usually don’t do that much planning when we are travelling, but back here I have three plans on the go. First, a military operation is in hand compiling a schedule of when we can see family and friends. I have a detailed calendar colour-coded for where we are staying with names turning bold when the visits are confirmed! (I still haven’t finished.) Secondly, I am at the planning stage of my second book. It aims to help wanna-be GrownUpTravellers adequately prepare for their world travels. Of course, all based on learnings from our many mishaps! Luckily I had kept some flipchart paper, thick pens and post-it notes - great resources to brain-dump ideas and then easily move around in some k kind of logical order.
Our other big plan is for our next adventure. We are leaving the UK in September for Vietnam. Originally the idea was to get a visa and book an air flight. Easy. However, now our journey is involving multiple coaches and train rides through 9 countries, including Russia and China, and at least five visas each. (Let’s hope we get them all in time!) Why this complicated journey? Recently our heads have been yanked out of the sand. We are reading much about climate crisis; the worrying increase of CO2 gases and the impact this is having on our planet. It has given us a proverbial smack around the face. We don’t want to stop travelling; however, we have decided to change our ways of getting around the world. For example, we are not going to fly so much and are offsetting our carbon footprint. Plus, we are not buying any more plastic water bottles. Instead, we now have a water purifier so we can use drinking water safely abroad. Our time has not just been planning and looking after dogs for the past three weeks. We have met up with some our wonderful family and a few friends, old and new, including my old school friend Judith and our new friends Sue and John who we met on tour in Uluru, Australia and then they generously invited us to a fantastic time in Botswana, which means we have been in three continents together. We so value meeting likeminded people all around the world. And last week, on our 27th Wedding Anniversary, our great friends Jo and Martin came down to stay. We always have great conversations and much laughter with them. We are very blessed.