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Housesitting and pet sitting Joys and Responsibilities Living like a local as a guest of the home owner yielded insights I couldn’t have uncovered in such a short space of time on a normal holiday. It’s this local knowledge that can enrich a new experience and that’s one of the reasons I love housesitting. Ile de France came to life for me through Susan’s insider’s tips in a way no guide book could have managed at such a local level. And what of my petsitting charges, I hear you asking? All this eating and drinking and enjoying the scenery doesn’t get the dogs walked or the chickens fed and watered! Well once we were in a routine the dogs and hens were straightforward and easy to care for. The hens were let out of their coop early in the morning, fed grain and given fresh water. And because their paddock was well fenced and they were safely enclosed the next time I had to worry about them was at sunset when I needed to ensure they had all returned and they were safely put away in their hen house at night. The dogs on the other hand were far more entertaining. They loved going for a country walk first thing. In the large garden they chased each other, got excited at the sound of Paris commuters driving past the gate, or rabbits spotted in the surroungind fields. It left me free to do as I wished for the rest of the day! My trip to Ile de France was brilliant and I know that I was only able to scratch the surface of all that was on offer. I hope to return to this wonderful region and to uncover more treasures, more produits de terroir, and through housesitting meet more wonderful friends and locals in a way that a classic tourist visit might not discover. By offering my services as a house and pet sitter I was able to live comfortably, care for pets which made me feel more at home and I didn’t have to pay for any accommodation for a wonderful holiday in a new part of France full of authentic experiences.
Above left: Susans's home in Ile de France; centre: Dogs Barry and Flea; right: laptop with a view!
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