11.06.2016 - 14.06.2016 14 °C
One of the truly lovely things we have discovered about housesitting is that you encounter people who are just so gosh darned happy to meet you. And this was absolutely evident when we arrived at the Durham train station to be collected by Vikki – I don’t think I have every been greeted with such enthusiasm by a complete stranger before. She and her daughter Becky have gone out of their way to make sure we feel at home – in their home!
We had a relaxing afternoon with them discussing the usual topics – A levels, the Durham regatta, Tim from the Co-op – and getting to know Selkie and Louie. Selkie is apparently known for her particular dislike of men, but she was more than happy to share the couch with Simon right from the start. Vikki and Becky eventually departed for Amsterdam, leaving us with a fully stocked fridge and a bottle of wine and box of chocolates and strict instructions to relax and enjoy ourselves! While I know that theoretically I am supposed to ‘help’ people more in my role as a speech pathologist than in my role as housesitter, I’m starting to question that. These people are so appreciative that we are allowing them to go on holidays, while we are appreciative that they are allowing us to continue holidaying without breaking the budget! Absolute win-win. And restores my faith in humanity somewhat, in the midst of some fairly unpleasant news headlines. It’s reassuring to know that there are genuinely nice people out there.
Our run of divine weather has come to a halt, and we have had three consecutive days of constant sniddling. This sort of weather has been ideal for such vigorous pursuits as book reading, movie watching, flight booking, email sending and Skype calling. However, we haven’t let it stop us from dog walking or Durham exploring – oh no! This afternoon we walked into town and explored the Durham Cathedral – built over 900 years ago and barely showing its age. While Sagrada Familia has rather spoiled all other cathedrals for me now, as far as non-Sagrada Familia cathedrals go, Durham is a pretty good one. They have mastered the art of mood lighting, stained glass windows, high ceilings, pillars of varying designs, and informative boards. We timed our visit well, as the choir were practising for Evensong (or, as Simon described it – sing-a-long, which made me think of church karaoke…) while we were there. The ethereal sound of four part vocal harmonies was sumptuously accompanied by the sound of the security guards emptying the donations box. Gotta love a good juxtaposition of auditory offerings. Tomorrow we will return to see the Lego version of the cathedral – but first there are cards to be played and chocolates to be et. They aren’t going to eat themselves, you know…