I dreaded looking after the Tortoise , the week that Kate and her family were all on holiday.  I know nothing about tortoises, and we have never stayed at her house before.  We visit often but it is not like staying and being in charge  We are used to our old-fashioned house where nothing changes much.  Except of course that things fall to pieces on a regular basis and then we usually ring somebody up, some one used to us and our vagaries and they come round and suck their teeth and either fix it or condemn it, what ever it is!

Her house too has its foibles,  though I have never had to bother about them before.  The strangely peculiar plumbing, which I hasten to add, they inherited with the house.  Modern but not totally functional, mostly something rather weird about the toilet cisterns, each one different and each awkward in its own way.  In the end I tied the ballcock of the most difficult one that wouldn’t stop flushing to a picture hook above it with knitting wool.  The en-suite with a free-standing cast iron bath, lovely but where do you put things so that you can reach them?  The shower was out of order so thankfully I didn’t have to worry about that.

Then the washing machine packed up the day they went and left the utility room full of dirty laundry, fortunately a very nice, competent man called Simon eventually came and fixed it and after he had left I realised that I hadn’t got a clue how to work it and couldn’t find an instruction book, however by dint of making it up,  it was all done before they arrived home.  And I won’t mention the ultra modern split-level oven with a dash-board like a jet plane.

And after all that moaning the tortoise and the cat behaved beautifully and the weather was lovely and apart from the man next door much to our horror,  massacring his row of 40ft high trees and my Other Half suffering with Gout we had a lovely week.

I love the area, I know it from my childhood.  I love the shops, the fact that it is close to town but not in it and I liked being around the corner from the church and hearing them ring the bells, real bells on Sunday morning.

They ring for an hour on Sunday mornings, first slowly one bell to wake  you and then  gradually speeding up until with about 10 minutes to go they are ringing full peals, and then, and I love the urgency of it,  just one constant bell calling you to hurry.  And then when the service is over peals of triumph.  I know some people would find it an intrusion but although I am not religious I love the constancy of it.  The peals date back to when no-one had clocks, how else would you know when to turn up for a Service?

It was a nice week and they had a good holiday as well, what more could we want?  My Other Half has even said that he wouldn’t mind doing it again, he loved having a cat again, even if it was just for a week!

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