36. Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

I’m sure you’re all wondering how The Home Team are getting on with all this disruption to normal service. I’m glad to report that Mr & Mrs C, the House / Dog / Cat sitters, arrived a couple of weeks ago. They’ve come from California to see if they want to move to the UK permanently. We’ve been leaving them alone for a few days so that they can find out all the niggles in the house that we’ve forgotten to tell them about. We found out on their arrival that there’s one big local attraction we knew nothing about: LAWN BOWLS.

On their second day, Mr C had a call to go and play for the local team as someone had let them down. After less than a week here he was on the front page of our local paper, upsetting all the usual people who appear there! (I may organise a guest blog post on bowls if I run out of things to say or am away for a long time with no access to the interweb).

They have two small dogs with them, an old one to keep Greta company and a youngster who cannot keep still. I was a little concerned that Adie would resent a newcomer in her house, but after a few minutes of being invited to play they were running around the garden like they’d know each other since puppyhood. Blind Captain Catt (aka Polly) is not so impressed. She’s touched noses with the newcomers but has told us she’d rather sleep outside in this good weather thank you very much.

It’s been quite a few emotional weeks for me: last Pilates class, last piano class, last hair cut. I’ve got an exercise book and my roll up piano but it’s not really the same doing these things on your own. I’m not sure I’ll find such a good hairdresser anywhere in the world (how did you guess she’s a Follower?) so may come back with long grey locks. The Ancient Mariner look?

In the few weeks Mr and Mrs C have been here, they’ve got involved in more activities than we have in our almost 30 years. As well as the bowls, they are planning to go and see if they like bell-ringing and have discovered the local weekly markets. Their two hounds have very much made themselves at home, as you can see, and we have no concerns that the house will be empty and neglected for the next year.

We have now left home for the year, moving up to London when we’re not travelling (i.e. I will be in London between my travels, John and George both having one-way tickets on the race).

If you go back to the very first post in this blog, you’ll see John’s retirement greenhouse. Other than being used to grow Adie’s puppies and some impressive weeds it has lain empty until the day we left. Last weekend was our wedding anniversary and we went away to Cornwall for a few days. Our romantic break was not out of character, there were lots of nautical themed items in the hotel. It was a lovely place to stay and do nothing, although we had possibly not considered the fact that we’d be trying to finish off things at home prior to Clipper. We took our laptops so we could attend to urgent issues, but someone forgot to bring the cable for charging so was forced to relax!

Unbeknownst to me, John had researched some exotic plant places we could go to on the way back to buy some for the greenhouse. On the very last day we left home for the year, he was out planting them. It will be interesting to compare this shot with one when we return in a year.

Budding greenhouse

Also in this last week, he has sorted out my herbs. We did have herbs but spread around all over the place. I knew where they all were (mint by outside loo, sage in front garden, oregano elsewhere in front garden etc) but I’m not sure anyone else does. Or did, until now! Here is the fledgling herb plot, awaiting the actual herbs. I’m not sure if it will be planted whilst we’re away as I’ve not told anyone what I’d like there. Another blog post?

A very organised (empty) herb garden!

The day we left (Friday) the dogs were very out of sorts. To start with I’d sold my (their) car so that was missing. Then John’s car was full to the brim with things we thought we might need over the next year so there was obviously no room for two dogs as well. Normally they are at my feet and jumping around to see what’s going on. This time, they took to their beds in the kitchen and wouldn’t get out to wave us off. Once we’d gone, of course it was “nobody’s fed me today” and “can I have a play?” so no worries there either.

I’m in London on my own this week, MBB are down in Gosport on “prep week”. I’ve been wandering around the neighbourhood, once I’d unpacked everything. Remember I said in Post 34 that John wouldn’t be needing any “civvies” as he’d be living in Musto clobber? No-one told him, he’s brought suits and jumpers and shoes and (more to the point) filled up the wardrobe space I thought I’d have! Anyway, how refreshing to be able to walk to a coffee shop or decide I fancy eating a certain nationality for the evening and know the odds are that I’ll find a suitable restaurant. Maybe more exciting to me, I’ve found out that Penguin Random House are a few minute’s walk away. Maybe I could sneak in and find my 14 missing Penguins? (See the header to Post 3).

I’ll tell you about the Gosport activities next time, together with more Clipper website announcements. All the boats have now been branded so we know all the sponsors. Meanwhile, here’s possibly the last shot of us relaxing together before the off:

On the final note, there are now only just over 21 days before the off. Even more odd to think that in a year’s time it will be over, as they’re due back into London on August 8th 2020. Then what??

2 thoughts on “36. Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

  1. Hi Sam
    It’s very hard to grasp all that has to be done to have a complete change for a year especially if one hasn’t done anything remotely similar but your phrase about the final Pilates and piano class brought it home to me. We’re sailing in the Stockholm archipelago just now, anchoring or tying up every night, not quite Clipper sailing! Good luck to all!


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