We managed to get away for a twelve day vacation to Alaska before I have to have a medical problem taken care of. We flew up from Los Angeles and stayed one night in Anchorage and rented a car. The next day we drove up to Denali National Park. Of course, it took all day to get there because I had to stop to take photographs of the incredible scenery. We stopped in an old town; Talkeetna that maintained an historic main street. Many of the original log cabins were still standing.
But the best part of the trip north was a turn out to see Denali in almost clear skies. Just one cloud covered the middle of the mountain.
We spent the night at the Denali Princess Wilderness Resort where the mosquitoes were already roaming the area looking for fresh blood.
Today we went into the Park and met some very helpful and cute park rangers.
We drove down the one 15 mile road looking for critter and were very lucky to find a few. We saw a grizzly bear but he was too far away from us to take a photograph. But we did see an Arctic ground squirrel , and two caribou.
We leave tomorrow to return to Anchorage. It has been an exciting adventure.
We drove back to Anchorage from Denali Park. There were some stunning snow covered mountains. Thought I would add these photos to this blog.
This last January we pet sat in Santa Cruz for a wonderful cat named, Baxter. He warmed up right away and spent a lot of time sitting next to us purring when he did not command a good spot on our bed, grin. We also met his humans, Susan and Rick and enjoyed having dinner and getting to know them.
Santa Cruz is a beautiful beach town in Northern California and we had a great time there. Here is a photo of the sunset from the pier where we are dinner. There are many redwood forests in the mountains that are very close so we took 3 drives up to see them.Here is a deer that we saw from the road out of the Big Basin Redwood national park. The highlight for me was the trip down to Monterey to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Taking photographs there was thrilling.
One of the most spectacular sites was at the beach watching the kite surfers. It is amazing how high they fly above the ocean.It was a wonderful pet sit and it was good to be able to go somewhere different in our home state of California.
We tacked on a visit to relatives in Sacramento on our way home. I love pet sitting.
We are here at the southwestern tip of Wales, in Druidston near Haverfordwest out on a small farm and taking care of sweet Nell, the border collie. We do not have sheep for her to herd so she must make do with us.She loves walks in the fields but really loves to chase the ball. Here she is catching the ball.We have been in the city for all of the sits this year, so coming out to the country is an entirely different feeling. We can see the sea from our bedroom. Those tiny dots on the hill are cows.This was a clear and sunny day, but most of the days have been overcast, windy and rainy, which is fun for us since California hardly ever gets rain. Yesterday, we went to two small beaches near us, Little Haven and Broad Haven. (“Haven” comes from the Norse havn meaning harbor.) The wind was almost 40 miles per hour, which made the waves very large and strong. I was up on a promontory over the ocean and I nearly blew away taking this photo.In the harbor it was a different story. The waves were small because they were protected by the high cliffs.
Little Haven harbor
Here is a photo of me being blown away.We then drove over the hill from Little Haven to Broad Haven beach, which is a very long and sandy beach .
Broad Haven beach
We also went one evening to Druidston beach, which is by where we are staying. After walking down a very steep dirt lane we were able to watch the sun set over the beautiful and almost empty beach. You get a feeling of being alone with nature here.
Here is one of my favorite photographs of David walking on the beach.One day we drove through the tiny lanes they call streets to Pembroke castle. This is a 13th century castle that has been restored so that you can climb the stairs in the various towers and read about what life was like in the Middle Ages.
They have set up a tableau of what dinner in the castle would have looked like in the 13th century.And they have free castle tours around four times a day. We went on the tour and learned a lot about the history of who lived in this famous castle and what they did.
We mostly have been hanging out and enjoying the country and the beach. Reading, playing with Nell, working on photographs, doing art in my journal and doing laundry. It is so beautiful and peaceful here.
Our next stop is a return to Stratford-upon-Avon to take care of Enzo the border terrier. We took care of him last year, and I am looking forward to seeing him and Anne and Steve again.
We had an excellent experience at this bird sanctuary in Horsham , England. It is a small center where falcons, owls and other birds are cared for. It is apparent that each bird is a member of the human family of Julian and his staff. You can come and look at the flying falcons on their perches and the owls in their enclosures. I got to be one of the human perches to demonstrate the flying skills of an owl who has a wing span of 4 feet and big talons. It was great to be so close to such a beautiful bird.Here are some photographs of some of the birds that we got to see.You could see from the way the handlers and the birds interacted that there was a lot of love and caring between the two.If you happen to be in the South east part of England I would encourage you to drop into this facility and get to know some beautiful birds up close and personal.
We have been here in Haywards Heath for about a week. We are taking care of a sweet kitty named Coco.
We rented a car and drove to a nearby National Trust house called Standen House. It was built between 1891 and 1894 and designed by architect Philip Webb for the Beale family. It was designed in the Arts and Craft style, and in the interior it was decorated with William Morris carpets, fabrics and wallpapers. Here are some photos of the wallpaper.
I love this style of interior design. This house is particularly pleasing because they have set up chairs for the visitor to sit and read about the furniture and even have letters written by family members who lived there. It is like being invited into their family home on a lovely summer day in 1935. Here is the dining room table set for the fruit and cheese dessert course.This is a photograph of the business desk that the family used; including the typewriter. If you are careful you can hit a few keys and experience what it was like to type on one of those machines.But when you go down to the kitchen you are reminded that our modern stoves were not in use in the 1900s. Here is the stove in Standen House.The gardens have been restored to what they would have looked like in the early 1900s. There is an extensive kitchen garden with lots of healthy pumpkins, pears and flowers.The staff is very kind. One gentleman sat with us on a bench for a few minuted to answer our questions about the buildings. The cafe in the old barn has a nice range of lunch food on offer and ice cream too.
It was a delightful afternoon of historical adventuring in a lovely part of Sussex.
We took care of two sweet kitties last month for a week near La Jolla, California. Here is a photo of Eddie. It was a nice break from the house and the routine. The sea lions, seals and cormorants were all having babies in La Jolla this February. We drove down to see them. Here are some sea lions who are lying on the rocks in the sun. And here is a mom still nursing her pup.
Here is a photograph of a cormorant sitting on her just hatched babies. I love seeing new born animals in a natural environment. This is an interesting adjunct to pet sitting in Europe. There are people in the USA who want pet sitters too. We have another pet sit lined up for Portland next month for 6 days with 2 sweet kitties.
I am lining up our summer pet sitting schedule and it is almost finished. We have two people that we sat for last summer who we will sit for again. Plus 4 other new people to meet and some new pets to love. We will go on the Baltic cruise then pet sit until the beginning of Oct. It should be another fun summer.
I wanted to see the Versailles Palace and grounds when we were in Paris and I am glad we paid for a two day visit. We were there in the end of October and the weather presented some problems. The first day there was a lot of fog. This was not great for the photographs. Though it did give a soft effect to the clock of the Sun King on top of the palace.
We took a tour of the Palace ( 6 euros, I think) which is the secret way to get in and not to stand in the long lines trying to enter. Everything inside the palace is covered with gold and lined with crystal.
Hall of mirrors Versailles
This is over the top decor is not my taste but it was an amazing bit of spectacle. As you can see there were a lot of people in the palace with us which made the viewing uncomfortable.
The next day we went back on the train and the sun was shining. This changed the entire experience. I wanted to go back and see Marie Antoinette’s Village. King Louis XVI built her a hamlet away from the main palace where she could play act being a milk maid and a country woman. This delightful village was the best part of Versailles for me. We spent all of our second day there , taking photographs and seeing the farm animals. Here are some of my favorite photos.
The Queen’s hamlet
The gardener’s cottage
One of the gardens
So tying up this blog post, my recommendation is to go for 2 days, try to go on a sunny day and do not miss Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet.
We have moved on to our next to last pet and house sit in Oxfordshire in a small village. Here are some photos of the wonderful dogs that we are taking care of. Here is Rufus who is an English Setter.And here are 2 photos of Flora, a stunning cocker spaniel. We have spent the first few days hanging out at home , walking the dogs and playing with them. We try to do this so that the transition from their human parents to their sitters is smooth and easy for them. We also went to the grocery store to plan out some meals to make at home.
The house we are sitting is the oldest house in the village. Part of this house was built in the 1650s. Of course, there have been additions like indoor bathrooms and a large and comfortable kitchen. We are right next door to the 12th – 14th century church and graveyard. This helps us keep our mortality in perspective . More adventures to come now that we and the doggies are settled in with each other.
We left sweet Pablo to his wonderful mom yesterday and took the train to Southampton. This is a seaport where the Titanic left for its fateful final trip. We are on a 9 day break between sits and David chose a lovely apartment for us near the marina. I love the ocean and it is wonderful to just walk 5 minutes to the sea.
Here is a photo of the marina. They were parking this racing boat as we were walking by. It is a stunning boat and I bet it goes fast.They are building lots of high rise apartment ( we would say they are condos) buildings all around the marina. This one is the tallest. I can hardly image what the view is from the top stories. There were also a pair of swans that came up looking for food. I did not know that they lived in sea water but the harbor manager said they did. More photographs and stories to follow soon.
We have been here a week now and sweet Pablo is doing fine. He does not like the cone he has to wear but he gets lots of cuddles and scratches and so he does well.We have taken the tube into London for a couple of days. I love seeing the art and culture that are in London’s museums. The British Museum, the Victoria and Albert, the National Portrait museum and the National Museum are all free and full of interesting paintings and artifacts. Here are some of the photographs that I took in each of these museums.
Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Anne Boleyn National Portrait Gallery
Klimt Portrait of Hermine Gallia
Monet Water Lillies National Gallery
Of course it would not be London if there was not a picture of Big Ben.And the London Eye.