Purring thatched country cottage in pretty village
We've just retired and want to do lots of travelling in our motorhome with our dogs. We don't want to impose on our dear friends and neighbours too much, so would like to find a house sitter to care for our friendly, loving cats while we travel. They adore cuddles and attention, and deserve having someone to care for them rather than just put down food once a day.
DATES: the dates stated are the approximate dates you will need to arrive and leave, assuming you arrive the day before we go, and leave the day after we return. AT THIS MOMENT THE DATES ARE STILL SLIGHTLY FLEXIBLE as we haven't booked the ferry yet....
DISABLED ACCESS: the house is single level, but the sitter's responsibilities include some small jobs in the garden that are NOT suitable for someone with limited mobility.
We can only offer one double bedroom. + More info
Our Home & Location
Our home is a thatched cottage down a private lane in a pretty village (which is on The Sunday Times "Best Places to Live" list). There are gorgeous views across fields at the front. A footpath runs along the lane, making countryside walks easy, and it means you can meet lots of passing locals, if you like.
There is a large, vaulted sitting room with lots of beams, built in the 17th century or before. Equally large is the kitchen dining room, which leads to a sunny conservatory and the garden. We love cooking, so the kitchen is well equipped and you're welcome to use our herbs, spices, oils etc (including fresh herbs from the herb garden).
A downstairs bedroom (with views across open fields) and bathroom will be available for the house sitter(s).
The garden is about half an acre, and is colourfully stocked with lots of shrubs, trees and flowers. There is a variety of sunny or shady seating areas, perfect for relaxing. Wifi can be used on the terrace nearest the house. The garden is on two levels, with steps between them....
Nearby are miles and miles of footpaths, including in forests and across fields. We have lots of local maps you're welcome to use.
The village of Aspley Guise is small and sleepy, with a pub serving excellent food and a lovely Thai/Indian restaurant/takeaway within 5 minutes walk.
* small shops (incl Tesco Express and Co-op) and several restaurants are 1 mile away in the vibrant next door village of Woburn Sands.
* A few miles away, Milton Keynes has a huge range of shops, Xscape, cinemas, a theatre, restaurants and parks, many of them with lakes and watersports.
* Transport links - rail station about a mile from the house, the M1 1.5 miles away and a regular bus service to Bedford, There are reliable buses to various places, about once or twice a day.
We have two cycles you're welcome to use, plus helmets.
Do you need a car? Not for day to day life. There are lots of walks you can do from here, and three restaurants only a few minutes walk away, plus many more
Now we've written this description, we wonder why we ever want to go away! + More info
Responsibilities & Pets
Our ethos is that our house sitters should treat the house as if it is their own. It's your holiday. That means enjoying yourself, and also means that, because our house and garden are quite large and interesting, there is some work to be done (depending on the season). We ask only that our sitters do the most important of the tasks that we normally do when we're at home.
Please note that occasionally, depending on the season, some garden tasks will need to be done, such as mowing and perhaps leaf sweeping/blowing (details below). Due to this and the sloping nature of the garden, this housesit is unfortunately not suitable for the infirm....
FEEDING the cats 2 or 3 times a day. Once a day they need anti inflammatory medicine added to their food.
BRUSHING the cats and giving them some fuss and love.
EMPTYING the litter tray (in good weather we don't use the tray as the cats can easily go outside).
FEED the garden birds, as and when the feeders get emptied. There's quite a good variety of birds, which you can watch from the conservatory.
POND - top up the pond water if needed (full instructions will be provided). Once a week, brush or hose the weed off the slab of slate at the top of the waterfall (it takes about 20 seconds!). If it isn't done, the lower pond may empty!
CLEAN up after yourself. We're not mega tidy people but we will clean thoroughly before you arrive and we would like to return to a house that is as clean as you found it please.
FROM SPRING TO AUTUMN
FEED the fish once a day
WATER plants in pots (there are quite a few, but I group them together to reduce work!). From spring to early autumn some will need watering even if it's been raining - especially the large pots with bushy plants in them (the rain can't reach the roots).
MOW the lawn if needed - we have a ride on and a walk behind mower. Please note that the garden is on two levels and there are steps in various places, but there are also slopes for moving the mower.
WEEDING If possible, we would appreciate if the sitters could do a little weeding, especially if we're away for a month or more.
BLOW/SWEEP up the bulk of the leaves that fall on the drive and top lawn while we're away, in autumn. We have a leaf blower, which is fun to use!
OUR CATS -
PEBBLES is the runt of a litter dumped at the Blue Cross. She is so, so pretty, and still looks like a kitten. She stays indoors most of the time. Seriously cuddly. She has massive eyes!
CHESTER turned up at our (former) plant nursery in 2007 a few days after our previous regal cat Henry died, demanding strokes. We joke that he is a reincarnation of (King) Henry. He had a broken jaw and smashed canines that needed fixing before he could come home with us, and he's been a major character in our lives ever since. His favourite pastime is sitting on the drive in the morning and afternoon, greeting the children walking to and from school. In winter, he virtually lives on top of the boiler cupboard. + More info