This was our 2nd housesit. We took care of a cute house and it’s furry occupants for a week in Cannock Chase England.
We also took our first cross country train ride from Manchester. Trains are convenient, fast and easy to use.
Cannock is an interesting place. We didn’t get out much because we were in a bit of an isolated area bus wise. Taking taxi’s or renting car were the best ways to get around and we didn’t rent one.
We arrived on the September 20th and stayed the evening at the Days Inn, about an 8 minute walk from our house sit location in Cannock.
When I booked the hotel it looked like it was in the middle of nowhere and in a weird spot and now we know why.
The reason it’s a bustling location is due to an awesome place called Roadchef. Roadchef operate 30 Motorway Service Areas across Britain from Norton Canes (where we stayed) to Watford Gap.
It’s along a toll road freeway and is a huge area for truckers, coach buses and travelers to stop, stretch their legs, and get some food and then some.
Think of it like a Rest Stop on steroids. They had multiple restaurants including a McDonald’s inside. There was a gambling area, 2 coffee shops and more.
We were all so excited to be able to just walk out our hotel room and get a meal or snacks. In fact, we walked over there a couple of times for treats during our house sit as it was the closest convenience area to us.
The Days Inn in Norton Canes was great. The room was small but we all had beds and the staff was super friendly and helpful. It was a great price and being attached to Roadchef made it even better. If you are ever near one of their 30 locations, stop in!
At our sit we met Wendy & Sean who were lovely and very hospitable. They showed us the house and introduced us to all 6 of their pets. There were the Dachshund brothers, Ralphy and Cookie. They reminded us of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. They were always together and were partners in life. 😉
We met their 4 cats: Snowey, Lelu (pronounced Lee-loo), Tiggy & Panther . Each had distinct personalities and needs. 3 were indoor/outdoor cats but Lelu and Panther had to be separated at all times because Panther liked to torment Lelu. Tiggy and Panther were together all the time because they loved one another. Snowey never leaves the house and is very very skittish. He definitely was not treated well prior to being rescued.
We went out to dinner with Wendy and Sean and totally bonded. They will be life long friends for sure. You just know when you connect with someone and to find a couple you both click with was awesome.
Wendy took Sam and I around town a bit after dinner. Shawn, Sean and Alex stopped at the store. It’s a faster paced and more modern town than our last sit in Heywood. There is a college in town and a bustling city center.
The next morning we walked on over, with all of our crap in tow, and got settled.
This was going to be a relax and get work done week. We needed Sam to get about a week ahead in his school work so we could have fun in Nottingham and also not have to work on our 2 travel days. It was our end of month and I had a lot to get done for our business and Shawn was preparing our website for the next month and taking lots of customer orders.
We needed A calm and easy sit and got just that. 6 pets sound like a lot but these guys were really easy. They knew their routines and made sure they let us know what they wanted and when.
We took the dogs on a couple of walks. They were hysterical because Ralphy had overcome being fully paralyzed in his back legs. Around the house he would drag them around a bit and made it look like it was difficult to go out onto the deck from the kitchen. He even had a ramp to get outdoors and stairs to get on the couch. He always tried to get you to take pity on him and help a brother out.
Here’s a cute video of their evening snack time procedure.
On a walk however, he was a running fool. He leapt onto sidewalks and ran faster than his fully functioning brother. I think he’s faking his paralysis for attention. He cracked us up. On one walk home Sam did carry him a little bit of the way back. He was very happy.
The dogs were always separated from the cats but they really had no interest in the boys anyway.
Panther and Snowey were my personal favorites. There is something about cats that I just love. Panther reminded us so much of Hunter, our cat back home. He was so sweet and friendly and just wanted to be fed, sleep and be rubbed all over.
Sam was in love with the dogs. He fell in love with Cookie. Shawn loved calling him “chocolate dog.” They have such funny personalities and love to cuddle.
We had to work for Snowey’s affection and trust. He would only come to Alex and I really. When he wanted attention he would creep out from his hiding spot up on the built in closet, and peek his head around a corner and then run away. We would have to go sit down in his room and wait for him to come to us. Then, when he did, he would throw himself on the ground so we could scratch and rub him. He is a gentle soul. When you can earn the trust of an abused animal it makes you feel so good.
Tiggy reminded us of Maddie. She was in charge of everyone and knew everything. She was the most independent as well and made it clear that every room was hers. What a personality!
Lelu slept with us and mostly stayed in the master as she was afraid of Panther. She was needy and very loving. She got on well with Snowey and Tiggy though and would share a bed with them on occasion.
All in all this sit was easy.
I cooked every night and we even tried Scotch Eggs, and recorded it, that we picked up at the Sainsbury’s we went shopping at – via Taxi – during a big rain storm of course.
We did have a very sad few days however. Panther didn’t come home one night. He went out looking for Tiggy around 9:30pm when we called for her and she didn’t come. She came in 30 minutes later but we didn’t see Panther again. Sam and I stayed up until 2am calling for him.
Shawn went out at 5am looking for him but it was dark out. When I woke up I went looking and did find him. He’d been hit by a car. The kids found him with me and were both very upset.
The entire situation was very sad. It made us think of our own cats who have come and gone over the years and hoping that Maddie and Hunter don’t meet the same fate one day.
The very worst part though was letting Sean and Wendy know. To say that she loves her babies is an understatement. She was gutted. It was just a terrible call to make.
They were wonderfully kind and knew that we did everything we could for Panther. We took care of him until their friends came by to bring him to the Vet for cremation.
One good thing was that they were able to get closure. I feel like is worse when your cat just disappears. You never stop wondering what happened to them and think you see them around the neighborhood all the time. We found Panther so they know what happened to him. I would’ve gone nuts searching for him the rest of our stay if we hadn’t found him.
We regret that we didn’t get out more in Cannock. We did visit the Railway Tavern one afternoon. Shawn and I met several locals. We learned all about them and they were very curious about us. All were welcoming and two dogs came in for a visit. Toby liked me a lot.
The woman in the far right photo was Toby’s owner and she is the Local “Hoover Lady.” Apparently, this means that she is the door to door vacuum sales lady in town and she was bringing people supplies and they were handing her money. I found about her because I asked one of the guys we were chatting with, Simon, why everyone was giving her money.
Shawn loved that the pubs in England have Play areas many times. Some are huge with big grassy areas, play toys and outdoor TV’s. He thinks they need to do this in the US.
We also walked around a little bit in town and shopped at the little co-op up the hill.
Shawn and I both met a lot of neighbors and had lots of discussions with them. A few neighbors wanted to chat about poor Panther.
One neighbor let Shawn come into her home and backyard after he complimented her on how beautiful he thought her house was. She wanted to know why he was taking a picture of her home. She didn’t want him to take pictures of her hair though since they she had curlers in. The backyard was pretty and expansive as well.
Chatting with people is something we love to do. The kids also enjoy it. I think Sam likes it more than Alex though. She says that she’s an awkward conversation starter. I think she just needs to start more conversations and practice to feel more comfortable. Once she gets going she’s great or if she’s in her comfort zone.
A few days after we left Cannock, poor Tiggy was killed by a hit and run as well. Wendy and Sean are just crushed. I can’t even imagine how they must be feeling. 2 beloved rescue cats killed in one week. They were both well loved and cared for.
Panther and Tiggy, you were loved. This is the last video we took of Tiggy.
Thank you Wendy and Sean for your hospitality, kindness and friendship. We shall see you again.
Good bye Cannock. You were good to us.