It’s always sad to leave one of our housesits and leaving Ed in White Colne in Essex was no different. Our two weeks looking after him were lovely but it was time to move on and we were heading west to Hitchin for a couple of days with our eldest son Shaun and his wife Katie.
Colchester to Hitchin
The trains in England may get a lot of stick but we haven’t got a bad word to say about them. The occasional delay or cancellation perhaps but there is always a good reason. It took us three trains to get to Hitchin with no issues but the long half hour walk in the sunshine dragging our cases was the worst part of the trip. Knackering! Lovely to see Shaun and Katie though and even nicer to go out for a Chinese that evening. It may be my favourite food although that could change if you asked me tomorrow.
Whilst at Shauns we got involved in some extra holiday planning when they decided to book their airline tickets to New Zealand (with a little encouragement from us). Next March they will be jetting off for their honeymoon to our favourite country in the world. Also, I was lucky enough to go along with Shaun and his mates to his weekly football match a few miles away.
We have been taking Shaun and his brothers to football training and matches ever since they were five years old and I have to say in all honesty that it has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. There is nothing that fills you with more pride than supporting your children and we loved every single minute of every single match we watched. Whatever the weather. So it was a delight to be watching and supporting him again nearly 25 years after his first game. Brilliant.
Let the train take the strain
As with most places in the south of England all train journeys seem to have to go via London and our trip from Hitchin station did exactly that and after a short tube ride we found ourselves at a busy Euston station waiting for our connection. As we stood there the train notice boards all suddenly shut down. No information on trains, platforms, times, anything! We looked around expecting carnage and complaints but nothing happened. No-one moved a muscle and the whole crowd of potential passengers just stood quietly gormlessly staring at the blank notice boards.
How typically English eh? I wonder if this would happen at New York Grand Central, Paris Nord or Milan? Of course it wouldn’t. They’d be shouting the odds and kicking off all over the place. Within a few minutes the boards all sprang back to life but it was very surreal to be in a crowd of a few hundred people all staring at nothing. Together.
On to Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is one of those places that seems to get unbelievably bad press but we’ve always found it to be an okay type of place. Our new housesit was actually just outside in the village of Broughton where we would be looking after a cockerpoo called Poppy for Sarah and Vince.
We were scheduled to be staying in their beautiful house for 10 days whilst they went on a two-stop trip to Paris and then Malaga. The Paris stay was based around having two tickets for the final day of the Ryder Cup and Vince being a golf-man was more than excited. After a walk around the local area to get our bearings and a lovely meal that evening, Sarah and Vince left early the following morning.
Meaning ‘the village by the brook’, Broughton is a village in north Buckinghamshire on the outskirts of Milton Keynes that has virtually become a suburb of the city. Our thrice-daily walks with Poppy around the village and along the brook have been a wonderful way to explore the local area. The weather has been incredible and we can’t believe our luck so far. There are long grassy footpaths running along the brook and you can walk miles away from traffic and roads which allows Poppy to run safely off her lead.
We even managed to have a spot of Sunday lunch out at The Broughton, a Hungry Horse pub just across the park. We don’t get out very much so it felt like a real treat. Perhaps we’ll make it back before we leave but no promises.
Can you believe that they had a christmas tree up in the Broughton pub? On the 30th of September. Crazy.
Our quiet relaxing stay
We’re only here for a week and a bit so apart from Poppys walks it will be a very quiet relaxing stay where we aim to catch up on emails, blog posts, and a bit of future travel planning. Oh and catch up on a few TV series that we started watching and didn’t complete. We’re actually really enjoying having couch-potato evenings watching Press, Vanity Fair, Wanderlust, and Killing Eve. Our next couple of weeks are going to be hectic and virtually non-stop so we are really trying to make the most of our time on the settee.
Any recommendations on what to watch?
So what’s next?
One of Jo’s best friends, Lydia, is getting married at the weekend so Jo is catching the early train on Saturday morning to get to Maidstone for the big event. It’s a shame that I can’t make it but we were committed to housesitting so I will stay and hope that Poppy can put up with me until Sunday afternoon when Sarah and Vince return from Spain. Best wishes to Lydia and Nigel though as they tie the knot. Then on Sunday we both travel from our different locations to Bromley where we’ll be staying with our middle son Sam for a while.
27/09 – 05/10/2018