First things first and I’d like to apologise profusely for our lack of blogging over the past couple of weeks. No excuses except for life being a little busier lately. I know it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law so dutifully throw myself down at the mercy of the jury. Big sorrys all round. So what’s been going on and where are we? These are the big questions of the day.
The last days of Meopham
Our last few days looking after Beatrice the Red Lab in Kent were just so relaxing and it just felt like we were chilling out and killing time before moving onto our new Helpx stay. Lots of walking and sitting in the sunshine and catching up on the TV series Westworld made it a glorious, lazy time. If you haven’t seen Westworld then get to it as its a great series. All too soon we were off to Gravesend station with our sister-in-law Mandy and then on our way to darkest, deepest Suffolk once again.
Doing things the Helpx Way
I’m sure most of you know by now but this year we have split our time between housesitting and Helpxing around the UK. Housesitting is self-explanatory but Helpx is a website that we joined where people ask for helpers to go and stay with them and work a few hours each day in return for food and board. Our previous stays in Thelnetham and Scotland were both Helpx stays which we thoroughly enjoyed so we booked another two weeks in East Anglia in the picturesque little town of Eye. Our hosts, Tom and Barbara, wanted general help around their big garden along with decorating and DIY assistance in the house that they have been renovating for a year or so.
The Island of Eye
So a couple of trains and once again we found ourselves at Diss station in Norfolk ready for a new adventure. Eye is actually just across the border in Suffolk and its name comes from the old English word for ‘Island’ because the town was originally surrounded by marshes the streams from the River Dove. The town has some incredible history as it dates from Roman times around 365AD and the largest ever hoard of Roman coins discovered in the UK was found here in 1781. The remains of a Norman castle look out over the town and the impressive tower of the 14th century St Peter and St Paul church dominates the skyline.
Although there is history at every turn we have both been taken in by the quaintness of the town as every single building seems to be listed and have its own character. The best thing however is that there are no major shops or chains such as Costa or Tescos, the town is full of old fashioned butchers, grocers, bakeries and corner stores. To Jo’s delight it even has a quality local cheese shop. It really is like walking around the set of a Miss Marple story and feels like a perfect English little town. Everyone is so friendly too.
Living and working in Eye
The plan has been that we work every morning until around 1 or 2pm and then the rest of the day is ours. There is a lot to do so we just take our lead from either Tom or Barbara as to what they want us to concentrate on today and we get stuck in. The first couple of days involved cleaning and moving a huge pile of bricks and some heavy-duty hoeing in the overgrown vegetable garden. Since then I’ve been involved in taking up a couple of floors in the house and Jo has been getting stuck into some proper gardening and cutting back.
It’s been a bit of a shock to the system as I am currently aching all over from three days of hammer and chisel work on the floors especially my poor old back which is almost wrecked. To go from gentle dog walking to full on hard labour has been a serious shock. Lots of ridiculous stretching exercises don’t seem to be helping much at the moment but fingers crossed it’ll improve over the next few days. It is good to be doing some serious physical work though (honestly) as it makes us both feel that we are really earning our keep.
We’re here for another 10 days so hope that the great weather continues and that we’ll get to explore a bit more of this delightful little town. There’s a classic fish’n chip shop that we’ve decided to visit this evening plus a typical English pub that may see us on Saturday night, we deserve a beer or two I think.
Oh, forgot to say that we have nice accommodation here comprising of a kitchen/diner and a private bathroom and a bedroom. Loads of space but we are in bunk beds, yes you heard right. After 125 different beds in the past 2 years it’s the first time in bunks so a new experience. Jo’s on top of course as she the littlest and not the one who has to get up every night, and the bunk ladder is not the biggest you’ve ever seen.
P.S Don’t tell anyone
I’d love to be able to tell you a little more about the house and people that we’re staying with but they have requested anonymity for a few reasons, one of which being that one of them is fairly well-known and in the public eye. So for JWalking purposes they are Tom and Barbara from you-know-where (you know don’t you?). So many interesting stories that we’d love to tell but just can’t unfortunately. Invite us to stay and we’ll spill the beans completely!
15/08 – 25/08/2017