20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Eldon House

Although we lived for many, many years near London, Ontario we did not visit Eldon House until this month. It is definitely our loss and we're so glad to have good friends in the area who suggested we tour the house during the holiday season. The decorations (and company) were a delight. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rockport, MA

Continuing south from Stanstead, Quebec our next stop was a weekend visit with our daughter and son-in-law in Boston, but first we drove south via scenic New Hampshire and snow topped Mount Washington.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Peterborough to Stanstead

We recently returned to Peterborough, Ontario to visit friends and consider this region of central Ontario our second home as we've been visiting the area for more than 45 years. Still, there were still a few places we've yet to explore and discover and when the fog lifted on a recent Tuesday afternoon we opted to take advantage of the warm temperatures and stroll the downtown core's Millennium Park

Thursday, November 10, 2016

End of a Season

It's the end of a season - that would be kayaking season, of course. Temperatures have plummeted, leaves turned colour and dropped from their branches and Mother Nature is all but shouting winter is on its way!

Flack Lake

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Manitoulin Island's Humungous Bear

Tuesday we headed south to Manitoulin Island - the world's largest fresh water island. It's a 2.5 hour drive (one way) from Elliot Lake and by the time we reached Espanola (still on the mainland) it was already time for a short stop to enjoy our picnic lunch. As luck would have it the sun peaked through the clouds to showcase the gorgeous autumn colours on .

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Autumn Reflections

John paddled the Cataract River which leads to Lake Duborne and then Blind River yesterday. I tagged along and it was my job to drive the van from where he began to where he'd eventually end up. It took him about 2.5 hours from start to finish. Directly across the river from where he set off is this gorgeous log home.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lakes & Leaves


Autumn in Ontario Canada is spectacular and we do our best each year to take full advantage of this place we call home. 

Endikai Lake

Monday, September 19, 2016

More Havelock Memories

We're back home in northern Ontario enjoying every second of this incredible September while savouring memories of our final housesit of the summer in Havelock Ontario.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Old Fashioned Summer with Human & Furry Friends!

Summertime in Ontario Canada is often a roll of the dice. It can range from unseasonably cold temperatures with above average rainfall to hot and humid with little, if any, precipitation. This year reminds us of the summers we experienced in our childhood and we're savoring every moment. Even better we're housesitting while reconnecting with friends as we zigzag across the province. Of course summertime also means kayaking and that makes it a win/win situation - the proof is in John's smile!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

7 Years & Countless Grandpets Later

Just recently we wrapped up another successful housesit and it seems rather astonishing that since 2009 we've completed twenty-eight housesits. We're booked for two more before fall officially arrives so that number will soon rise to 30. Thirty official housesits in seven years. That averages 4.3 per year which is amazing considering we're not even full time housesitters.


Along the way we've collected a lot of incredible memories.  

We've met kind, gracious fascinating people because of housesitting and we're grateful not only for the time spent together, but also for their continuing friendship, support and encouragement.

We've also spent an impressive amount of time with an array of feathered, furry and fabulous friends. The total tally is beyond my reach, but during the last year (between October 2015 and Sept.2016)   we will have spent 25 full weeks with our "grand pets". Talk about time well spent.  Each critter has his or her own distinct personality, traits and habits and it's been a pleasure getting to know them so intimately.

To mark the milestone as well as honouring the memories I created this slideshow that features our wonderful "grand pets".

❤️ Enjoy!


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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Returning to Where our Housesitting Adventure Began

At the end of June we returned to the farm in southern Ontario where our incredible housesitting adventure began in 2009. At the time we were simply doing a favour for good friends, but oh, goodness, we never expected it would morph into an exciting and uber satisfying retirement lifestyle!

Our view from the kitchen table - a peacock at the bird feeder

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bar Harbor

The day after we arrived in Toronto from London (Gatwick) we drove to Bar Harbor, Maine via Sherbrooke, Quebec to spend the first weekend in June with our daughter and son-in-law. We stayed in a lovely two-bedroom townhouse at the Bayview

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Cambridge

Two days before our return to Canada on May 31 we toured Cambridge, England both on foot and via a punt on the River Cam. One of the most photographed facades in the city is King's College founded in 1441 by Henry VI (1421-71). 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Broads

The Broads, England's largest protected wetlands, encompasses more than 125 miles of "safe, enchanting waterways" most of it less than 4 metres (13 feet) deep and during our housesit in Attleborough in May we explored a small portion via a boat cruise.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ely

Ely is a short 39-minute train ride west of Attleborough and we visited this lovely East Cambridgeshire cathedral town twice during May. Named after the Isle of Eels Ely is located in the Fens, a naturally marshy area of eastern England. Most of the fens were drained centuries ago, leaving the region a valuable agricultural region. Below is the Ely eel. The real live fish is much smaller in scale, was a vital food source for Ely residents for centuries, and is now a delicacy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Norwich

Our Attleborough housesit allowed us plenty of opportunity to explore the surrounding countryside and travelling via the Abellio Greater Anglia train line (thank you, Chris!) made the journey both enjoyable and easy. Norwich is a short hop from Attleborough and the entire train trip takes under 25 minutes one way. The Norwich train station (below) is conveniently located on the River Wensum.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Housesitting with Gorgeous George

For eighteen delightful days this past May we housesat for a lovely couple in their beautiful home in a Norfolk village and immediately fell under the spell of their Birman cat, George. What a cutie!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Wild Atlantic Way: The Cliffs of Moher Meet the South Pole

The Cliffs of Moher were on our bucket list long before we learned they're the most visited natural attraction in Ireland. As impressive as the cliffs are, the visitors centre is also noteworthy. Built into the terrain one can easily spend an hour exploring the displays in this multi-level building. The glassed arch is a feature of the restaurant. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way: the Connaught to Doolin

On the drive from Murrisk to Spiddal we were unusually silent if only because we'd never seen so many rocks or barren landscape in our lives. Think Sudbury, Ontario before reforestation only intensified ten or twentyfold. It was truly other worldly. We could not fathom how anyone could make a living let alone survive in this harsh environment.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way: Knock to Delphi

Ireland has long been on my wish list and I was finally able to convince John the beginning of May was a perfect time to get our feet wet on the Emerald Isle.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lisse to Amsterdam

When we decided to visit Keukenhof Gardens we wanted to stay as close as possible (preferably within walking distance) and as luck would have it we found the perfect one-bedroom flat via Airbnb

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tulips, Tulips, More Tulips

Having attended the Ottawa Tulip Festival numerous times we were eager to visit the Netherlands and during the last week of April we toured the Keukenhof Gardens.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sark, Channel Islands

While visiting Guernsey we took the ferry to Sark. The morning of our departure it rained poured and the seas were choppy, but at least one of us appeared to be having a good time!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Memories of Guernsey

The end of each housesit is always bittersweet. While we're excited to welcome back the homeowners and be privy to details of their vacation, we're also sad because it's time to take our leave. Not only have we grown quite fond of their pets during our stay, but we've also gained an appreciation and insight into the place they call home - something that's quite rare while simply travelling as a tourist.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016

Two Museums: Shipwreck & German Occupation

Considering Guernsey's rugged coastline and strategic location between France and England it's not surprising a good number of ships have perished on its shores. Fort Grey and the Shipwreck Museum pays homage to those ships and their crews. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Friends & Guernsey's North Shore

While housesitting in Guernsey we found a kindred soul in Helen, sister of our homeowner. Helen graciously took us under her wing and introduced us to people and places we would have otherwise not encountered. Our first stop was one of her favourite beaches on the northern tip of Guernsey. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

At Home With Ralph, Ebony & Brittany

The location may vary, but house and pet sitting is always about meeting lovely people and taking care of their cherished pets while they're away on business or vacation. Ralph, a cavoodle, is two years old and one of the sweetest little canines we've ever met. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

From Queens to Poets and Tapestry Makers - Part II


In Part I of From Queens to Poets and Tapestry Makers we toured Hauptville House and the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. In Part 2 we're continuing our exploration of St. Peter Port via Candie Gardens and the Tapestry Museum. If you missed Part I click HERE.

The walled Candie Gardens were once a private estate perched high on a hill overlooking the town and are now home to the oldest known heated greenhouses in Britain.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

St. Peter Port, Guernsey

Last summer we applied for an April 2016 housesit on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. I've mentioned numerous times both on this blog and to anyone who will listen about the wonderful people we meet via housesitting and this particular assignment is no exception. Homeowner Catherine not only met us upon our arrival at the Guernsey airport, she gave us a mini-tour of the south part of island before dropping us off at the St. George's B&B. This quaint bed and breakfast is located in the capital of St. Peter Port and our room was at the top of the stairs (left dormer window.)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Algarve: Praia da Rocha & Alvor

Last year we fell in love with the Algarve region and were determined to spend at least part of this winter there. Rather than return to familiar territory (Albufeira and Lagos) we opted to stay at Praia da Rocha. We doubt there is a more beautiful beach in all of Portugal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Belem's Santa Maria Church

Included in the Jeronimos Monastery is the Santa Maria Church. This incredible building is massive in scale and includes the spectacular detail of the late gothic manueline-style monastery.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Jeronimos Monastery

Not far from the wonderfully ornate Belem Tower is the Jeronimos Monastery. Both are magnificent examples of the late Gothic Manueline-style and UNESCO world heritage sites. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Portuguese Power, Pantheon and Pastels

We spotted the dome of Lisbon's Pantheon from the Sao Jorge Castelo and decided to check it out. Originally the Church of Santa Engracia built in the 17th century, it was converted to the National Pantheon in the 20th century. Now it is a place of honour and burial site for important Portuguese personalities that include soccer players, poets, and fado singers.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lisbon's São Jorge Castle

The Sao Jorge Castelo (Saint George Castle) overlooks Lisbon and has done so for ages as its fortifications were built by the Moors in the 1050s. After the Portuguese reclaimed it in 1147 and Lisbon became the nation's capital in 1255 it became the royal residence. Not much of those glory days remain, but visiting the castle is the number one tourist attraction in Lisbon. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Intro to Lisbon

It's impossible to do any location justice in one short week, but we were eager to visit Lisbon and gave it our all. Known as the city of seven hills, the capital of Portugal is a prosperous and bustling community of 600,000 situated on the Tagus River.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Nice Carnival Flower Parade

Every year in February it's carnival time in Nice and we were fortunate enough to get tickets to view the Flower Parade. Rows of bleachers were assembled on the boardwalk and we joined thousands to see the spectacle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa

The Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa offers a glimpse into the exuberant lifestyle of the fabulously wealthy of bygone days on the French Riviera. The dream villa of Beatrice de Rothschild who personally decided upon every feature herself (and insisted the contractor tear down and begin again if she did not like what she saw) was built between 1905 and 1912.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mont Boron and Fort Alban

Mount Boron is 2 km east of Nice and at 191 metres (573 feet) above sea level the 140-acre park offers incredible views of Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer and the Cap Ferrat peninsula. It's possible to walk from the port, but as it's all uphill we opted to take the bus and walk back into town. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Antibes

While we were in Oxford in early January John and I nipped into the King's Arms Pub and while he ordered the Guinness I went to the loo. As often happens in the UK a lady and I exchanged a few pleasantries and soon we were chatting like old friends and sharing travel stories. When I mentioned we'd be heading to Nice in a matter of days her eyes lit up as she said, "Oh! I love Antibes." To be honest I'd never heard of it, but as she continued to wax poetic about the town's virtues I decided then and there we'd see Antibes for ourselves - especially when she mentioned the Picasso Museum.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Villefranche-sur-Mer

A short bus ride from Nice is the charming village of Villefranche-sur-Mer with a picturesque castle perched on a hill overlooking the bay. We spotted it on our way to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and decided it was definitely worth a return visit. Boy, were we right!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Museums of Nice

Nice has numerous museums and during our month long stay we did our best to see as many as possible. Even if art isn't your cup of tea the stately homes, palaces or contemporary buildings that house these various museums are definitely worth a look see (as are the various Nice neighbourhoods). We began with the Matisse Museum located in the chic Cimiez area. 

Front of Matisse Museum

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau)

Castle Hill is a Nice landmark and one we see every day from our housesitting apartment.

View of Castle Hill from the Promenade des Anglais

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Flowers & Faith in Nice

It's no surprise Nice appeals to creative individuals. Henri Matisse lived here for 37 years and one of the buildings he called home (the tall yellow one in the centre below) is close to the Mediterranean, Quai des Etats - Unis and the Cours Saleya daily flower market.