So, we're homeless, gypsies, free spirits, however you want to dress it up. Both our houses here are rented to tourists - this should never happen at the same time - both houses being rented but dates change, people beg and I just can't say no. There's always a silver lining, we get to experience new places, new sunsets, new beds (however, nothing beats a TEMPUR) but always the inevitable rooster.
First to the rainforest. It really doesn't stop raining there, the clue's in the name I know but as beautiful as a glistening raindrop is on a magnificent honey coloured hibiscus, as comforting as the roar of the river might be and miraculously lull some people to sleep, it's not really for me and I sympathetically nod when my youngest, soaking wet, can't see her pink leggings for the mud and with slightly blue tinged lips, tells me 'I'm a city girl Mum'.
Onto Fawlty Towers. Yes, we were asked to please look after an hotel as the owners were unexpectedly called overseas. Easy, no problem, there's staff, how tricky can it be. Arrive, day one, no staff but a huge bunch of keys and a note - guests arriving in two days plus cocktail party for 30 on the same night. Shopping list and money enclosed. Buy enough for 60. What does that mean when you're used to catering for 5? Ok, 12 times more stuff I guess but what if they cut things in half....there's always the freezer hey.
Night two - my husband does that annoying tapping that the kids do when they want to wake you up. I ignore it and roll over. Then he says 'there's a fire, I can smell smoke'. So I look at him, he looks at me, I look at him and then the penny drops, it's me who has to look. I roll over. He says 'I wouldn't want to be in your shoes tomorrow when you have to make the 'your hotel has burnt down' phone call'. I am so mad I can't speak. I get up, the dogs go loopy, they're in good company, I start opening doors with my big bunch of keys, turning on lights and looking for smoke. No smoke no fire. I return to bed. And yes, HE is fast asleep.
Final housesit. A joy. A bed to match a tempur and a dishwasher. Talking of which we paid $800 to Ma Piper for a dishwasher that she said her son had left when he was going to build in Dominica but his wife changed her mind. Umm, hard to imagine that, not. So she says it is brand new, we buy it for the American guests who are staying (only) if there's a dishwasher. Turn dishwasher on, it does a cycle and doesn't drain. Out of the dishwasher orifices (great word) come 5,000,000 cockroaches happy to be in a new home. Anyway, I digress. In addition to the working dishwasher comes wine and pasta from Waitrose and Tate & Lyle caster sugar from England, well Trinidad first maybe - that will have come a long way then and a TV. Argh, no TV, broke the day before we arrived - amazingly kids take this v.well - well it's been 3 weeks since they've seen a TV so they just laugh (and are v.happy they have Rastamouse etc on BBCiplayer). I just thank my lucky stars it didn't break on the day we arrived.
So, housesitting is rather akin to babysitting. It's all v.lovely having someone else's kids but rather like worrying about giving them their 5 a day when they're eating with you, Housesitting is like being manic about ensuring the house is returned in a perfect state, even more perfect if that's possible. So, there's this huge pile of laundry on the line plus my laundry. I take all my washing down and iron it. Of course I then take the rest of the washing down and iron all that. However, in the 'housesitting' pile I iron every sock to every last dress. Well the only dress. This is no normal dress, it is every ironers (is there such a word?) nightmare dress. It would be the dress they gave to you for your final exam in ironing college. It is allergic to an iron. It has huge great puffballs all around the bottom of it and if this wasn't bad enough, it has a tail, yes this piece of fabric the designer obviously didn't want to waste. E-mail house owner to say, all done, folded in the Benetton school of exceptional folding style, except the dress. Lovely owner emails back 'drink the wine'. Reveal to lovely owner wine already drunk. Overcome with guilt at having drunk the wine before even being offered the wine I tackle the dress. After much huffing it is done, more huffing ensues when HE tells me I have now taken the food out of someone else's mouth having denied them the ironing job next week. Feel mortified but secure in the knowledge that next week another mountain is sure to reappear. In the spiriot of sod the Benetton school of exceptional folding, hastily put 'puffyballtail dress' into wardrobe where hopefully lovely owner will not find it for a while and any strange creases will then be blamed on 'dress crush syndrome' in wardrobe.
More wine anyone?
ps The Government says we can't drive over the crabs on the road on the west coast...if the crabs just ducked in all the potholes they'd be absolutely fine
so no problem there afterall then.