Macclesfield, United KingdomJanuary-March 2016
Having secured our second house sit in a town south of Manchester, we passed two days in London while we waited for the 7th of January, when the agreed sitting began. We were picked up from the train station by the home owners and driven through the town to what would be our residence for the next three weeks. Our hosts were extremely welcoming, making us a home cooked meal that evening and taking us out for pizza the next.
Pan, the cat who was to be sat for, wasn't keen on the new humans at first but quickly warmed to us once he figured out we controlled the food. An ageing black cat, he had a few quirks which we found strange to begin with but eventually we just found them endearing. The main quirk was that he was quite obsessed with licking his belly - so much that almost his whole underside was bald. The owners later discovered that Pan had a mild allergy to his kibble which made him itchy, hence the frenzied grooming. He was also rather tubby, and having a bald patch right where kitty flab hangs down was frankly unattractive. One day when he sat in a particular way, a blob of flesh that I hadn't noticed before caught my attention - for about half an hour I was convinced he had a cancerous growth, but came to my senses with Yannick's reassurances.
One day I opened the curtains in the morning to find that it had snowed overnight! The surrounding rooftops were covered in a thin smattering of white snowflakes. It was the most snow that we had seen outside of a New Zealand ski slope (including that one day that it randomly "snowed" in Wellington), and we ran outside to observe such an unfamiliar sight.
The layer of snow on the ground was so meagre that any footprints left behind immediately turned to slush and ice. We had to be super careful not to slip, and held onto the handrail even though it was freezing. Yannick even went out and bought himself gloves, noticing how useless cold hands become. They were made from special fibres which allowed him to use a touch screen like his iPhone while wearing them! We're living in the future.
Aside from snow gazing, we spent much of our three weeks indoors, playing with our newly acquired laptops: mine a chic 11" MacBook Air and Yannick's a hulking behemoth of a customised gaming laptop. When we ventured out, it was to the supermarket or to set up a bank account, get a UK SIM card, and other sorts of things required when one moves to a new country.
After moving on and spending a month at a different house sit, we were asked back to look after Pan again and didn't hesitate to say yes.
This time it proper snowed! With bits falling from the sky! Onto our heads! It was mental, in a good way. The trees were covered in snow, the roofs, the bins, and the cars too. It felt like a real winter!
The table was covered in snow!
The berry bushes were covered in snow!
We built a snow man. Having no coal at our disposal, we used cherry tomatoes for eyes, which gave him a frightening Voldemort-esque quality, but we were proud of our creation nonetheless. While we were out frolicking in the snow, Pan was dozing on the warmth of our bed - smart guy.
Over the next few days the snow eventually melted away under a winter sun, but we had compacted our snowman enough that he refused to die. His nose fell off, and his eyes rolled away, but he stood stoically for around a week before I finally trampled him. I got halfway through when a deep feeling of guilt crept over me, so a chunk of our snow-hobbit-Voldemort hung around for a little longer.
Today's post was almost called: Do You Wanna Build A Dark Lord?