Over the past few weeks we have completed four different house sits.
The first was a lovely trip to Cornwall to look after little Nancy.
The map below shows our path from Cornwall to Isle of Wight to West Byfleet in Surrey, to Rochester in Kent and then to Bury St Edmund in Suffolk.
West Byfleet was a lovely setting where we looked after dear Monty, a cute Labrador puppy. Monty turned one during our visit and was rewarded with a furry duck that he destroyed very quickly, and a big bone.
Then we went to Rochester where we looked after Cody an old Labrador. He was very easy and had this great face pulling action when excited which made him look like he was smiling. He was friendly with all other dogs we met.
It was obvious on the way to Kent and then again by train to Suffolk how much the UK is suffering in the heat. An official drought was declared. We experienced our third heatwave of our trip (one in France and two in the UK) in Bury St Edmund. Everything is so terribly dry and brown. Not the rolling green hills that I remembered.
The pictures below are taken near Bury St Edmund. They had fields of wheat that we walked by with Naia. We visited the forest and the lake with her to give her and us some respite from the heat.
Naia was 16 months old and is an energetic young puppy. There was also a cat Twinkle and two Guinea pigs Topaz and Sapphire.
We visited the ruined Abbey of Bury and the Abbey gardens. The Abbey was built as a shrine to St Edmund. It is commonly known that St George is the Patron Saint of England. This is however incorrect. That honour was originally held by St Edmund, or Edmund the Martyr, King of East Anglia in the 9th century AD.
Edmund succeeded to the throne of East Anglia in 856. Brought up as a Christian, he fought alongside King Alfred of Wessex against the pagan Viking and Norse invaders (the Great Heathen Army) until 869/70 when his forces were defeated and Edmund was captured by the Vikings.
He was ordered to renounce his faith and share power with the pagan Vikings, but he refused. He was then bound to a tree, shot with arrows and beheaded. Legend says that his decapitated head is said to have been reunited with its body with the help of a talking wolf who protected the head and then called out to alert Edmund’s followers!
St Edmunds body was bought to Bury, then known by its Anglo-Saxon name Beodricsworth, in the early 900’s.
The St Edmundsbury Cathedral is well worth a visit. There are beautiful stained glass windows and a stunning nave. It has also taken part in a Lego competition to build a Lego replica of the cathedral. Each block represents a donation.
They have various “in bloom” competitions going on throughout Bury and this collage was done by children in the recycling entry.
We also drove to Cambridge and explored this lovely city on the one Sunday.