Lucy and Oli (of Two Backpackateers) left their jobs last year to travel the world. They have been doing so for almost 12 months, and counting! They write about travel, lifestyle, baking and Lucy writes about Beauty. Here’s a week-in-the-life of Lucy and Oli, house-sitting in France!
Day 1 — Tuesday
4:00 AM – It’s the night before we fly to France for our first Trusted Housesitters assignment in Saint Matre, and I’m awake, with a killer headache and one heinously sore eyeball. I pop a couple of Nurofen and hope I wake up as fit as a fiddle…….
8:00 AM – I have not woken fit as a fiddle, and am starting to get a bit concerned about my eye. We are staying with Oli’s parents in Cambridge, as it’s nice and close to Stanstead Airport……but not so nice and near to my GP. Eek.
11:00 AM – In lieu of seeing the doctor, we nip to Boots and ask the pharmacist for advice…..five minutes later, and our wallet is £10 lighter. Boo. Off we pop to Wetherspoons for our traditional pre-flight drink!
6:00 PM – Our Ryanair flight lands in Bergerac bang on time so we are treated to the trumpeting congratulatory announcement of their fabulous stats that always drive me crazy; don’t congratulate yourself for flying and landing on time, that’s your job! We head to the smallest baggage reclaim belt ever…Oli gets stuck in with aiding the smooth bag reclaim.
6:10 PM – Johanna, the lady we are house sitting for, is picking us up from the airport, but we have a few minutes to kill so we enjoy a free wine tasting. Bergerac is topping my favourite airport list.
7:00 PM – Home! We meet the pets we are entrusted with, Titou the dog, Puddy the cat and 15 chicks! I start to feel really ropey so head to our room to ‘rest my eyes’……..
Day 2 — Wednesday
12:00 PM – During the night I woke up dizzy, and thought I was going to vomit…. I lay down and pretended it wasn’t happening, which seemed to work a treat. I can’t believe I’ve slept for 17 hours straight! My eye is much, much worse so Johanna has been amazing and booked me a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow morning. We don’t have a car, and Saint Matre is really remote so we are lucky that Johanna is here for long enough to drive us to the appointment.
6:00 PM — I have continued to drift in and out of sleep, overall feeling very sorry for myself. There is truly nothing worse than being ill in a strange place. Not for the first time, I ponder the paradoxes of travelling, and naturally, fall asleep again.
Day 3 — Thursday
10:00 AM – Johanna’s lovely Irish friend Una drives us to the doctor, and translates for us as well. I have conjunctivitis, ‘A strong one’ and have a prescription for some antibiotics which means I get to go to the French pharmacy, a veritable feast for a beauty lover like me. Ahhhh the treats I can’t afford!
4:00 PM – The eye drops are hell. That’s all.
6:00 PM – Johanna leaves and we are on our own. The house is quiet and the dog is pining for her…..we are in for a long night.
11:00 PM – We finally manage to settle Titou, and he sleeps till morning. Success! Wait, is this what having kids is like?
Day 4 — Friday
9:00 AM – I am already feeling better, despite the fact that I curse the hell my eye drops fell from, so we head out for a walk. The surrounding countryside is incredible, and I feel so contented to be here. It’s my 31st birthday next week, and I couldn’t have picked a nicer setting.
12:00 PM – We have amazingly fast WiFi, hoorah! It’s not always the case when you are travelling and honestly, it can make the difference between a good and bad day. I manage to redesign the site, and get some serious writing done. Oh, and we get hooked on Orange is the New Black.
2:00 PM – Cheese Board time. Oli and I talked about cheese sooooo much whilst we were in Asia, so we are really making the most of it now we are in the home of fromage. Bon Appetit!
4:00 PM – Una calls and asks if we would like to come for a walk near her house. We jump at the chance. It’s a great hike, a bit challenging but really enjoyable and we get to meet her two horses and adorable Yorkshire terriers Lemon and Lulu. We stay and have a glass of wine with Una and her partner Steve, a fellow Londoner. Una invites us to a photography exhibition in the neighbouring village of Montcuq, as well as offering to take us to the market on Sunday. What a legend!
Day 5 — Saturday
9:00 AM – The house we’re sitting is in a valley, about a mile away from Saint Matre village proper and it’s a nice hike into town. The only shop is open from 8-10am each day and sells bread, and nothing else. I love this simplicity! Oli manages to do a big shop, that will cover our entire two week stay whilst Johanna was here as otherwise…..well, we would be eating a lot of bread.
12:00 PM – Oli and I have got into a nice routine, eating porridge for breakfast and having a walk either side of lunch. Our favourite time of day is when we call the chickens over – they respond by giddily fly/running over and cheeping. Adorable!
6:15 PM – Una picks us up and we drive to Montcuq for the photography exhibition. The setting is incredible, and we walk around the town for a bit to catch a few shots in nice light. It being France, there are stacks of wine and cheese at the exhibition, as well as tons of expat families – I feel like I’m back in England!
8:00 PM – We have a drink in a gorgeous little bar in the town square, and marvel at the juxtaposition of the neon carnival against the backdrop of a rustic French village.
Day 6 – Sunday
09:00 AM – Una picks us up for another fun day in Montcuq – this time we are heading for the market. I am beyond excited, not least because I am hoping to spot an Edith Piaf type singer….
11:00 AM – We are in food heaven. And I spotted an Edith Piaf type singer……
3:00 PM – I have an urge to bake, so I whip up some surprisingly edible oat and raisin cookies. YUM.
Day 7 – Monday
09:00 AM – With only a couple of days until my birthday, Oli pops into town to order some Pain au Chocolat (my fave) for the day. The weather is incredible, so when he gets back, we head out on the bicycles Johanna arranged for us and explore the area.
11:00 AM – The roads are unexpectedly hilly, so we are knackered, but buzzing with exercise adrenaline!
3:00 PM – Baking takes over again, so I make a birthday cake (for myself, is that sad?!). Kinda healthy banana bread with peanut butter yoghurt frosting. Dreamy.
7:00 PM – Oli and I relax with a bottle of wine in the garden, and some fresh melon the very French farmer, Roger, brought over for us today. Yet again, I count all of my blessings. I have been travelling non-stop for almost 12 months now, and I never tire of the amazing experiences I am lucky to have.
9:00 PM – Time for cheese.
After France, Oli and Lucy explored Barcelona before heading home to London for Christmas. They are currently living in Koh Tao, where Oli is training to be a Divemaster at Roctopus Dive and Lucy is working on her Beauty Blog, Lucy Loves Lipstick. Tune in to their adventures at Two Backpackateers.