In The Footsteps of Mary Anning.

The weather forecast promised a heatwave. Blinding sunshine, blue skies and temperatures soaring beyond the twenties to the low thirties. We got mist. A white-out. And a few spots of rain. I wanted to find an ichthyosaurus, a plesiosaurus, or a scelidosaurus. We’d got bad weather under the circumstances, but what we needed was really big, bad weather. Rain coming down by the bucketful, wind, … Continue reading In The Footsteps of Mary Anning.

Chicken Talk.

We don’t just look after dogs and cats. Sometimes there are sheep and goats. We’ve had guinea pigs and rabbits and fish, and once three little piggies. And often there are chickens. Not many people would consider a chicken to be a pet, but on a sit in Wales I had one of those world-within-a-world moments, and a whole new chicken-centred universe opened up before … Continue reading Chicken Talk.

Sende Verde Wildlife Sanctuary. Bolivia.

It all started when a lorry driver brought them a monkey he’d run over. The owners of Sende Verde agreed to keep it, and now they have over four hundred animals, some rescued from illegal trafficking, some abandoned pets – all rescued from lives of misery. Visitors can see black spider, orange howler and capuchin monkeys at close quarters. Dangling from thin branches, bodies elongated, … Continue reading Sende Verde Wildlife Sanctuary. Bolivia.

House-Sitting in Alora, Spain.

A place to call our own. For three weeks at least. We only had to share it with Coco, Derecha and Maisie. ‘We’re in the campo’, Jackie told us. We’d imagined Alora as a quaint little village, cobbled streets falling down a hillside. Don’t know where we got that idea from. Must have been the mention of ‘pueblo blanco’ that did it. In reality, Alora … Continue reading House-Sitting in Alora, Spain.

The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.

Not many people can say that they moved to France because they had to find room to house twenty-four animals. Roland used to work at Scotland Yard. He had a colleague in the mounted police. There is no money in the British system for pensions for police work-horses. The police can hardly fund sufficient policemen, let alone keep old horses in clover. Roland’s colleague knew … Continue reading The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.

Things To Do In Pillac When It’s Raining.

We came to the Charente in the hope of warmer weather. But the rain followed us from England. What to do? Eat.  George and his James Bond villain stare. ‘Give me more biscuits or I kill you’. Play.  Max lost out in the game of musical chairs and begged to play ball indoors instead. Sleep. Charley dispelled the myth that cats go out on the … Continue reading Things To Do In Pillac When It’s Raining.

Buntingford.

We have just completed a house-sitting in the delightfully named Buntingford – it’s as if the flags are always out, and the town is in a permanent state of excitement – but, in spite of it’s name, we were not looking forward to our visit. Previously, Sophie and Bobby, our two Labrador charges, lived in the New Forest. (Out of Season. Out of Time.) When … Continue reading Buntingford.