House & Pet Sitting in The South of France
So here we are, among rolling hills of vineyards, sunflower and corn fields with centuries-old stone buildings dotted the landscape, whilst basking in the glorious summer. Today as I write this it’s 33 degrees and rising not a cloud in the sky, all the windows and doors are open and a slight breeze blows over me.
YES this is our house & pet sitting home for just over three months…
Days 423 – onwards – April 29th to August 7th, 2015. Pellegrue, France.
Pellegrue in the Gironde department near to Bergerac & Bordeaux.
The requirements of this house and pet sitting opportunity are to look after, love and care for the two cats and one dog, to make sure that the property is kept in good order (gardening, mowing, rubbish removal etc) and to meet and greet the ‘main house’ guests that are house swapping with the owners over in Australia.
The main house…
The property is a 13th-century old barn. The owners Jane & Michael, have over the past 8 years invested blood sweat and tears into slowly renovating the old barn into what is a wonderful home full of character. It’s a huge project and one that is far from the finished dream but what they have achieved is fabulous. Imagine the TV show Grand Designs and this would fit right in…
The 4 bedroom home (and growing), has two bedrooms with en suite, one with the bathroom just next door. Two lounge areas, a sun room, laundry, huge kitchen and dining area with fireplace for the cold winter days, as apparently it gets very cold. I’m just glad it’s summer while we’re here. Anyway, the upstairs of the house you’ll find the bedrooms an office and a TV room with a loft area which is the 4th bedroom with two single beds.
There is still another huge room that is next to be developed which Michael has already named the Billiard room, I’d like to be back when that’s finished for sure.
House guests or is that hotel guests
The main house is booked out for the entire period that the owners are away. Some even leave and new guests arrive on the same day… It feels like a boutique hotel. Lucky we have a cleaner that comes for 4 hours each time we have a change over of guests, this leaves me to do the washing, make the beds and place fresh towels etc in all the bathrooms which keep me busy for most of the turnaround day.
We even pick up some guests from the local train station and make sure they have basic provisions especially when they arrive on a public holiday. We also get to join them for some wines on their terrace. Being quite rural we have use of a car for our entire stay, although we did have to share it for the past few weeks which meant for some good planning.
Did I mention that we are staying in the west wing
Well, not that west wing, but rather the west end of the building that is separated from the main house by the barn, which is home to the cats and all the tools of the trade etc.
Our end of the house has only just been finished, well it’s not quite finished. The kitchen is complete as is the lounge which is called the ‘Vat room’ as it has 4 wine vats along one wall. Upstairs are two bedrooms with ensuites, our bedroom with en-suite is finished and very comfortable with a brand new bed and linen, it’s pure luxury.
Always up for a bit of DIY
One of the first jobs that I got into with Michael before they left was to fix the plumbing to the shower and sink.
The second bedroom with en suite and laundry is still in the building stage. I have since plumbed in the toilet put up the plasterboard and fixed the leak to the washing machine. Did you know that I do lots of DIY stuff and really enjoy it, well now you do, oh and not to forget all the gardening and laying a concrete path plus planting 50 box hedge bushes, the list goes on.
Let’s not forget the most important stars of the show…
Charlie (Charlotte) is a female cross between Labrador and Rottweiler. She is the most well-behaved dog we have ever known and is the on-site security guard, often waking us up in the middle of the night because she heard something, usually an animal outside…
Then we have the two cats Orly & Mini. They are 8 & 1-year-old and are outside cats who keep themselves occupied throughout the night and sleep lots during the day.
Are we animal magnets or what
Since staying here we have rescued a pigeon from the vineyard where we go walking whom we have fed well and then managed to find a bird sanctuary in a neighbouring town that took her in. Hopefully to later be released back into the wild. And also from the vineyard we now have another cat, this one is a kitten and it came to us around 5 weeks old we think stinking and starving.
And being animal lovers we took her in and cleaned her up and fed her well… Now she is still here and is a real little mischief cat that has somehow managed to kind of get accepted by the other two and Charlie of course. We are trying to find her a very loving home to go to which is proving to be a real challenge in this part of France, as apparently there are far too many cats and they are often left abandoned by their owners.
Very sad really to think that people can just dump a small kitten in a vineyard to fend for itself. Incidentally, Mini was also found in the same vineyard discarded by some unforgiving owner.
So there you have it, a short update on our odyssey. We have lots more planned which will take us right up until July next year, wow that’s a year from now, normally we have not planned that far ahead but it just so happens that we have things to do and places to see. Stay tuned as I will disclose more details very soon.
I’ll leave you with a teaser of our sunsets that we get to enjoy with gratitude most nights.
Update… Great news for us. We have been invited back to House sit at the end of October through to March. Looking forward to staying here again, which will be interesting is that it will actually be the first time since many years that we will experience a winter.
Having lived in Queensland for 15 years we really didn’t experience a winter, not like we used to have in Europe. Be sure to sign up for the Odyssey updates so that you don’t miss any of our posts especially if you’re interested in house sitting.
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