House Sitting Day 8

Today Carter and I went to Worden Park.  Worden Park is a HUGE park close to where we’re house sitting.  Apparently people come from far away just to experience this park.  Lucky for us, we’re just a 30 minute walk away.  Well more like 45 if you get lost and have to back track a couple times like me…  thank goodness for GPS!  The walk to and from the park was so pretty.  I walked through several different neighborhoods filled with the cutest little duplexes.  This picture doesn’t do it justice at all… and I’m super classy and got my finger in the picture.  Some of the duplexes had beautiful landscaping with lots of colorful flowers and it just made me so happy to look at.

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Upon seeing the entrance to the park I figured it was kind of a big deal, but I was not ready for what was inside.  There were huge, beautiful, perfectly manicured fields with walking paths all around large trees with tons of shade in the middle of the fields.  We followed the sign to the kids play area and my jaw dropped when I saw that there was a line of at least 20 people to get in.  It was packed!  I tried to sneakily take pictures of how many people were there.

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Carter was more interested in watching the kids next to him swinging than looking at me.  He really did enjoy the swing though!  My favorite part about being at this park was people watching.  I saw so many families there together and it was heart warming to see them interacting with each other.  I also loved that most everyone was wearing wellies, or rain boots.  I am obsessed with wellies right now.  Seeing all the kids running around in them and even seeing several parents sporting them just made me giddy.  I can’t wait til Carter’s feet are big enough to fit a pair of wellies!

House Sitting Day 7

Today I went up to my room with Carter to change his nappy and when I opened the door I saw a little bird fly from the bedroom into the bathroom!  My first thought was, “It worked!” seeing as how the opera voice I had been singing in as I came up the stairs to the bedroom had called the birds to me.  Well, one bird at least.  This was not my intention, as I was only singing to make Carter laugh, but I was impressed with myself all the same.

The little bird was frantically flying around the room and my opera voice didn’t seem to be calming him down at all.  The only window that was open was a very small one in the bathroom so I decided to open the large one in the bedroom to help him out.  As soon as I opened the window and moved out of the way, the little bird flew right out!  Poor little guy.  I think this was the first time I’ve had a bird in my house though!  There was a bat in my family’s house in Pennsylvania one time… I wonder if my brother Hayden remembers that at all haha.

Cycle Hire in London with Barclays

The option to cycle hire in London with Barclays is pretty similar to using the Velib bikes in Paris–You register for a temporary account, then you can go to any Cycle Hire station and hire a bike for free for the first 30 mins.

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How It Works: At the Terminal

Go to any Barclays Cycle Hire terminal and insert your credit or debit card.  Touch the screen to start and click “Hire a Cycle”, then continue through the instructions and take the printed release code.  This printed release code is the most annoying thing about the system.  You have to have a separate one for each bike you hire (up to 4 allowed per credit/debit card) and it’s only good for 10 minutes at the cycle hire station it printed from–so get your bike quick!  You also end up collecting them all day end up with a stash like this wreaking havoc all over your bag and pockets:

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After checking the tires, brakes, and bell of the bike you want, enter the release code on the silent keypad, wait for the light to turn green, then remove the bike.  This part was tricky.  The silent keypad can be misleading as you have no idea if the numbers you’re pushing are being recognized.  Just type it in without stopping and wait for the green light.  If the light turns red, re-enter the release code or try another bike.  When you go to remove the bike, you have to lift the bike up and then out of the docking station.  If you’re having trouble getting the bike out and the time frame you have to remove the bike after entering the release code is up, you can just re-enter the release code and try again.  It took us 3 or 4 tries to get the bikes out so don’t be embarrassed if you can’t get yours out–we know how you feel, and I’m sure others do too.  Once you gotten the bike out, you’re ready to ride!

Download the “Cycle Hire” bike station app to your smartphone.  This app tells you where the stations are and if there are available bikes for use.  (Download from App Store. Download from Google Play.)

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How It Works: Using the Bikes

Once you gotten the bike out, you’re ready to ride!  The first 30 minutes of each trip is always free, and each additional 30 minutes is €1-€4.  These bikes are meant to be short term bikes so use them and return them within 30 minutes.  After waiting 10 minutes, you can check another one out and keep going for another 30 minutes.

When returning the bikes you can go to any Barclays Cycle Hire terminal.  Simply push the bike clip in as far as possible and wait for a green light, then you’re good to go!  If the docking station is full, you can go to the terminal and click “No docking point free”.  Once you’ve followed the instructions on the screen, you will be allowed an additional free 15 minutes to get to another docking station.

These bikes were so easy to use and the app made finding the stations very easy.  The weather was beautiful and it was nice to see the sights from far away as we cycled through the city.  Barclays Cycle Hire in London offered a great experience for us!

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Housesitting Day 6

Well we’ve learned that we don’t want to have a rescued dog ever again.  I guess that’s a little harsh.  How about this: we don’t want to have a rescued dog along with 6 other dogs that aren’t ours, but we are caring for for 2 weeks.  Haha we really do love Belle, but she messed in the house 6 times today and it’s so gross to clean up.  It’s hard to discipline her when she’s not even our dog and we don’t know how the owners usually discipline or would like us to discipline her.  We also don’t know if this is a normal thing (the owners didn’t mention anything about this being normal when we got the grand tour) or if she is acting out.  All we can do though is keep loving her and cleaning up her messes.  Also, my gag reflex is way worse than it used to be…

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In other news, we went to the grocery store for the first time since we’ve been here.  The owners said we could eat whatever they had at the house, especially the perishable items, so we’ve had enough food.  We ran out of milk this morning though so we had to restock on that and I guess you could say we got a little carried away.  We brought a double stroller to cart the groceries home in (knowing full well Carter wouldn’t be riding in it as he prefers to be in the carrier) and it was a little more packed than we expected.  I’m sure we looked rather odd pushing along our groceries in the stroller, but we’re pretty used to it.

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When we arranged the house sitting, we were under the impression that we’d have a car, but the owner’s insurance wouldn’t allow Americans on the car insurance so we found out the day before we arrived that we wouldn’t have the car.  No worries though, we’re used to walking!  The toughest thing about not having a car was riding bikes to church the other day… I’m not looking forward to having to do that again.  It’s so hard to ride a bike with a skirt on!  I don’t know how the sister missionaries do it.  Anyone have any tips?

House Sitting Day 5

Another normal day here housesitting.  No messes to report and nothing too exciting happened.  We’ve settled into our morning routine pretty well: let the dogs outside, prepare their food and feed them, take them outside and check duck food and water, check chicken food and water and collect eggs, feed fish.  It’s been a great experience taking care of all these animals as we are planning on having several animals on our own property when we return home.  We’re learning a lot about what we can handle together, alone, and with a kid in tow.

The homeowner got some of her kids’ old clothes down from the loft before she left for Carter since the weather has been so cold.  I’m so grateful for all of these clothes and I was especially excited when I found these overalls!  Call me crazy, but I think they are so cute on Carter!

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