George, Kevin, Wambams (alias Amber) and Duck

29/09/2012 11:54

Oh dear! David woke up this morning thinking our holiday is nearly at an end, and we need to check on our flights.

Not quite. A holiday? Hmmm. On a bright Saturday morning, above Halifax, it does seem like we're on holiday. On a rainy Monday night, returning on the M62, wondering if we've got everything in the right place, not quite such a holiday. But actually we quite enjoyed the journey generally. It gave us time to chat, especially if the traffic came to a standstill. It's the first time I've ever seen a man get out of his car in the fast lane of the motorway (stopped of course), in torrential rain, and pee towards his open door. He DID wipe it down before he got back in. Sorry I sidetrack.

Anyway, we have been looking after a farmhouse, 2 miles down a single track, with George, the lab, 2 cats - Kevin and Amber, and a Duck. (Still haven't found out if he has another name.) You'll have to excuse Sue and Steve for their choice of dogs' names. I think it must come from living the wrong side of the border. They've had Brian and Eric that I know of. And a cat called Kevin?? Actually he does seem to think he's more of a dog.

The first weekend, I'd forgotten that we might have already started minding, and so we had booked a weekend away in a mobile home near Dumfries. On the beach. No problem. George thought it was HEAVEN, especially when daughter and her boyfriend came up as well. FOUR people to throw the frizbee, ball, or just generally play with. The cats could be left for 2 nights, with food and a warm place in the form of the barn. But it took a day or two for them to forgive us and come and sit in the lounge.

After that weekend, we got more into a routine. Whenever we went back to our own home, George was ready to jump in the car - he enjoyed the new walks over there. Sometimes we'd stay there overnight, and whenever we got back, the cats would appear, ready to eat and then relax in front of the aga, or on the backs of the settees, when we had lit a fire. In the morning, we'd look out to see a pheasant or grouse in the garden, and the odd mole hill. Open the door and Duck would start quacking to be fed.

David had had instructions for if the water stopped. The house is not on mains, so we have baths and showers in pale brown peaty water - but be warned - only use half your normal amount of shampoo. (By the way, did you hear the 5 year old girl on Radio 2 explaining how you spell "shampoo"? We were in fits on the M62, when she answered very seriously, ready for her test "sh", "am", "poo".) So the second morning, when it happened, we were prepared to go up the hill to find out what was blocking it, while it was still daylight. But before David went, he worked out that we had had water in the bathroom that morning, Just not in the kitchen. He tried it when we got home. Nothing at first, then a bit of a splutter. Then a gush. All OK again, without actually doing anything.

Whilst "on holiday", we went for various walks along the valley, sometime missing paths, ending in mud, and NOT at "The Cat i'th Well" that we were aimng for. We had some friends with us at that point (all above board!). I don't think they were too impressed with our local knowledge - but we collected lots of blackberries, enough for a couple of pies and for them to take back to make jam. We visited The Piece Hall, Shibden Hall, Sowerby Bridge (where George fell into the canal, according to David. I think he probably jumped.) and various other places.

The deer? The first two days, we were also minding Alfie and Molli (together with George making our rainbow of labradors). That was our "Fenton" moment, when Molli spotted the two deer whilst out on a walk. But last night, we had our own nearly Fenton moment, as a bambi jumped out in front of us and we followed it (in the car) for a quarter of a mile down the road before it disappeared back into the hedge. Aww.

We have managed to work the washing machine, the tumble dryer and the vacuum cleaner. Not QUITE sure about the Aga. Not too bad, maybe, except for leaving 2 extra moussakas in. Sue HAD warned me always to put the timer on as you can't smell when the food is burning. But do I listen?? After several hours, they were certainly inedible. Sad times.

We had fun when P&R came to stay. I had warned them that they needed to ring when they were half an hour away, before losing mobile reception. And if we were back, which we expected to be, it would have to be the landline. We waited and we waited.... and we waited. We couldn't leave the house as we needed to be by the landline. Then suddenly I realised that if they still had mobile reception, I could ring them from the house phone. It went straight to the answerphone. A few minutes later, the phone rang. They were waiting for us in the pub. Turned out, nothing to do with us ringing them. Their daughter had suggested asking her sister to look at their emails to find the landline number that they hadn't brought with them!!!! Derr! Could have been a long night. But we had a good weekend, even if we couldn't find the snooker balls. Shame - a full size snooker table and cues, but no balls. We've found them now though, and David and I are going to try to play tonight!

Just off out now to find the recycling centre (we're not good at putting rubbish out at the right time), and to visit Halifax Market. Then after this weekend, it's boring old Bury. Or maybe not. More about that later.