So I thought I'd write a summary of what this last month has brought to me - both good and bad...hopefully I will do this on approximately the 10th of every month until June.
Beds slept in: three so far...Snorri Inn in Reykjavik, Iceland; Iolanthe (my home from home) in Hampstead Garden Suburb and here at my pet sit in Alperton, Wembley.
High point: There have been lots such as the joy of seeing all my favourite London sights again, spending Xmas with my buddy Pat, enjoying the magic of the Nutcracker but the spine tingling best bit was the Christmas concert at the Royal Albert Hall...those trumpets and that booming organ and the chorus...oh my. And when the audience joined in to sing it was major spine tingling time. Sometime I will never forget - until I lose my marbles that is.
Low point: Definitely losing Scylla, the cat I was looking after. She was a sweet little cat and losing her had a profound effect on me; holding a life as it ebbs away is something you never ever forget. RIP sweet little Scylla...your parents loved you very very much and I thought you were kind of all right too.
Best meal: the one I just had...a Marks and Spencers ready roast lamb meal with roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and veggies. (veggies cooked by me) I moaned and groaned my way through the meal (I do enjoy my food..and it shows!) and Emma (the dog) was the backup moaning chorus. Second up was the steak and ale pie I got at Borough market. I have been cooking the majority of my meals here at the house. Yes it is cheaper than eating out but it has also been so much fun going grocery shopping. I will be eating out 99% of the time for the next three weeks so it's nice to eat in while I can. I can't say "cooking" really as it's been more like heating up the main course such as quiche, meat pies, etc. and cooking veggies to go with it. And yes I am obsessed with brussels sprouts...and they are so cheap here!
Best place I stayed: Iolanthe...as always...I may opt for a bigger room next time but then again having to watch my budget who knows...I definitely want to go back before I go back to Canada...I am thinking right before I come home. Looking out at that park in early June will be an absolute joy.
Regrets: none. I did all I could do for little Scylla..she was on her way out when I took over her care.
I enjoyed my time in Iceland however I wouldn't go back in the winter again. I wanted to go for the Christmas decorations which were okay and the market. (laughable) I wasn't disappointed..don't get me wrong..I am in love with that place. I liked the place I stayed but it was just a little bit out of the way...I am hoping to stay with Michael down by the harbour when I return on my way home in June. I loved roaming the streets, learning about their Christmas traditions, having lobster soup again at the Sea Baron, learning more about Iceland at their National Museum and visiting the ducks and geese at the city pond. I am looking forward to returning in June when I will be based in Reykjavik once more but taking day trips out into the country every day with very little time in the city itself.
London has been "brilliant"as they say here...everyone should see London at Christmas once in their lifetime...they know how to do it up right.
I am enjoying looking after Emma although sometimes it is a drag having to time my outings...however being able to hang out with a dog and live in a house makes up for it. I enjoy Emma's foraging missions (I hesitate to call them walks as it consists of me pulling her away from all the lovely munchies she longs for - and sometimes gets before I can stop her) and have gotten to know the neighbourhood through them. Sadly this is not a dog friendly neighbourhood and most people shy away from her or look at her with disgust. I have grown quite fond of the girl and perhaps I will be back later in the year for much shorter periods of time..who knows? I never thought I would say this but I am enjoying a "pet free" lifestyle at home...for the first time ever in my life... Now I would have my much loved dog Sandy back in a heartbeat if I could but I can't. So I must say it will be a relief to not worry about anybody but me me me for a while. However having free accommodation for three weeks has been wonderful and I've been able to do things I might not have been able to do (financially) otherwise. I have an airbnb home booked for three weeks in February in SE London (Brockley) followed by a week in St Ives, Cornwall.
My pet sitting job ends on Monday morning/afternoon sometime - from there I will head down to Brighton for three nights and then on to Lisbon and Madeira for two weeks....slowly I am gathering my things together, the suitcase is in the living room now and things are getting put in as they are washed...another advantage of a house..having access to a washing machine and yes..even a dryer...very unusual here! The washing machine stops various times during the cycle and takes forever but it beats going to a launderette and spending ten pounds...call me strange but it's always a good feeling to have nice clean clothes on the road. I am cleaning the house bit by bit - tomorrow night it will be completed...
No more pet sitting jobs on the horizon...they are very difficult to find and at this point I am thinking..do I really want this? So many of the home owners have multiple pets which is a real tie down...I will see what happens I guess...I had anticipated a retirement in a few years of petsits around the world however I've learned this is a very popular thing to do now...and from bitter experience I've decided NO MORE OLD PETS!!!
Stay tuned to see what the next month brings!