It certainly wasn’t what we expected, but Oundle has been good to us. It’s sad to say goodbye to our temporary pets Dude and Audy, who showered us with affection from the first day of our stay, and we’ll also miss the town’s beautiful buildings and the long walks we’ve been taking along the river.
We’ve been here for five weeks now, and the last two weeks have been a lot more like we imagined our stay here would be — long days of work with a few events thrown in. I started each day by taking the dog for a walk, then we both settled in for a morning in front of the computer. Craig took the dog out again in the evening while I cooked dinner, then we generally watched TV until we went to bed. Pretty domestic really! The Rugby World Cup has started, so a fair proportion of our screen time has been taken up with that — seeing Japan beat South Africa was awesome, and New Zealand vs Argentina was another excellent match.
We have ventured out of the house a few times, though, notably to buy delicious cheese at the weekly market and to go to the theatre. We’d seen the signs for a production of The Great Gatsby, and since £12 seemed like a pretty good price for to see a play, we bought tickets and headed along one Tuesday evening. And it was incredible! I wouldn’t quite call it a musical, but the seven actors all sang and played various musical instruments as well as each taking on several roles. The production is touring at the moment, so if you’re in the UK and have a chance to see it, I’d recommend you go.
Another highlight was having visitors for lunch. At BlogStock I’d run into Terry and Sarah Lee, who we’ve known for years but not spent much time with, and when we realised that their house isn’t too far from Oundle, we invited them over. They were enthusiastically welcomed by Dude, who covered their legs with dog hair, and we enjoyed their company in a slightly more restrained fashion.
Our last few days have been pretty crazy, as we’ve been trying to fit in all the things we wanted to do before our time ran out. First, we joined a “quirky historical tour of Oundle” with a guide who’d grown up in the town, during which we learned that almost every building used to be used for something else, whether it’s a theatre that used to be a church or a church that used to be a telephone exchange. (Or a library that used to be a morgue or a house that was once a school…. the list goes on for some time.) The next day, we finally made it to Peterborough, and though that was really just to pick up Craig’s passport, we really enjoyed our visit to the cathedral, where we learned that Peterborough is twinned with our old home of Alcalá de Henares! And our last weekend was spent packing and tidying in preparation for the handover to the next housesitters.
The next adventure is a couple of days with my brother in London before flying to Moldova via Italy. We were gutted to hear that the wine festival we were planning to attend has been cancelled, but I‘m sure we’ll find other things to do while we’re there! If you have any advice for travel in Moldova or Ukraine, please let us know in the comments below.