OB: our Christmas dog

29 Dec

Louis and OB watching the presents…

Well they say a dog isn’t just for Christmas, but this year it was a delight for us to look after OB for 7 days. A 9 month old labradoodle named after a central character in Star Wars, his family needed someone to look after him whilst they went ski-ing over Christmas. Also from Exmouth, OB was used to walking on the beach by the lifeboat station. We had lots of fun and surprises, watching him catch fish and playing with other dogs. For a puppy, we found him very well-behaved and responded well to our commands. We think it helped that he was used to children, (his family have 2 young boys) and his sense of fun was well-matched to us by Devon Dog Boarding.

This was our first Christmas with a dog and we have many happy memories of OB’s stay.

OB playing with Lavinia and Louis on Exmouth beach

OB playing with Lavinia and Louis on Exmouth beach

OB playing with ball on Exmouth beach

OB and Emma on beach gardens

OB and Emma on beach gardens

OB with Bruce

OB with Bruce


Clever forever

17 Sep

Clever: Our bilingual Corgi

Following an enquiry through Devon Dog Boarding, we were offered to host Clever, a pedigree Pembroke Welsh Corgi from Exeter for a 5 night stay. After an initial meeting 2 weeks ago, we felt we could give her everything she needed whilst her owners took a short break to visit family. Clever was dropped off to us on Friday evening together with her food, bed and various equipment and her routine was explained to us.

Since Clever and her owner are originally from Poland, we were told she could respond to both Polish and English commands. Eager to try this out, our son typed some commands into Google translator and amplified the Polish word. I think the tone confused her, so we resorted to a happy English one! This morning before school, our children invented a song and a dance for her – she just can’t wait for them to return!

Summer students 2012

28 Aug

We’ve just said goodbye to our last students of the summer and we’re finally getting our house back to some sort of order….

It’s been a busy 8 week season which began on 30th June this year with Leonardo, Matteo and Gabrielle from Milan. Only 11 years old and their first trip to England, they were here for 2 rainy weeks with their school teachers to learn English and our culture. They left Italy in 38 degrees and arrived in Exmouth in 17 degrees, travelling for 2 days in their own school coach.

Leonardo, Matteo and Gabrielle with Lavinia and Louis at dinner.

The morning they left, we greeted Kevin and Jacob in the evening. Kevin had already introduced himself to us in an email which we were very impressed with. Friends both 14 and from Hamburg, they presented us with a variety of gifts advertising Hamburg: mugs, bowls with sweets, pencils, a mobile phone holder and an oven glove! They stayed with us for 2 weeks and visited London for the day on the middle Saturday. I can remember they probably had the best of the weather and made use of the beach whilst the sun was out! (Apart from the first Sunday when the photo was taken!) We watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics with them on their last night, although cringing at the outfits Germany had to wear!

Jacob and Kevin with Emma, Louis and Lavinia on the beach

They left at 7am on Saturday morning, meaning we had a day to ourselves before Joshua and Malte were due to arrive at 9pm. We had taken the opportunity to hold a barbeque party with friends, some of which were still here when they arrived! Bringing gifts of chocolates, Jagermeister and a clock with a street map of Kassel, the laid-back 15 year olds were warmly welcomed into our home. In fact Joshua turned 15 on the middle Saturday of his visit and his mother had given Malte a cake to surprise his friend with. Visiting Exeter, Cornwall and Dartmoor and having long conversations with us about all sorts of things, these two Germans really had a good experience of their stay. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo of you whilst you were here, but if you’re reading this in your home forest, please send me a photo you took during your stay and I can upload it here.)

Joshua and Malte left at 7am on their second Saturday and by 8:30am we were welcoming Timo and Davis from Hameln, famous for the Pied Piper story.  I remember the night they arrived we watched the Olympics closing ceremony and they also cringed at the German outfits! Both 14 and on a football camp, this meant everyday (apart from the day they arrived) was taken up with football when they weren’t learning English. One day I remember they played 4 games of football in the afternoon and evening. Timo and Davis only stayed for 1 week and the only visit they could fit into their busy schedule was to Exeter.

Bastian and Anthony just before leaving on their coach.

Leaving at 7:30am on the following Saturday, we had just over an hour to clean up the guest suite in time for the arrival of Bastian and Anthony, also from Hameln. Both their Mothers had emailed us before they arrived to let us know a little about their sons – it was useful to know that they liked Nutella and baked beans! Also on a week’s football camp and very busy – it was a pity there wasn’t much time to spend together at home, but they enjoyed playing with our children and even learnt about cricket from them! Thank you for the gifts you gave us, telling us about Hameln and the biscuits. Learning about where you come from has inspired us to travel, too!

We have really enjoyed having our young visitors this summer, despite the early Saturday mornings and endless sandwich-making 7 days a week. Now we have just over a week to ourselves before our children start school…

A daily burst of fresh air

6 Apr

A lifestyle by the sea in Devon is ideal for dog owners, as we’re discovering. What a great excuse to walk along the 3 mile length of beach (out of season) to the pub for brunch and back again, making new friends on the way. The four of us took Molly and Biggles for their daily walk this morning, (Good Friday) and only 3 of us ran into the sea! We sampled The Grove’s new brunch menu which started today, before it started filling up with lunch diners and tourists. A very dog and family-friendly Young’s pub which give out free water and dog treats whilst you dine yourself.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

We’ve started dog boarding…

4 Apr

Since we’re committed to taking students in July and August, we thought we’d also try accommodating dogs whilst their owners take a holiday. We thought we’d be an ideal host family as we have room, a large enclosed garden and the beach is at the bottom of our road.

We only had a meeting with Anna Hooke from Devon Dog Boarding last Thursday and to our surprise, she had matched us up to a pair of cocker spaniels by the Saturday! Biggles and Molly arrived last night for a 6 day stay whilst their owners visit family with their 8 week old baby over Easter. Bringing their own food and toys, they were immediately made welcome by our family and settled down quickly. We decided to keep the student accommodation out of bounds to them, keeping it a dog-free zone.

Lavinia with "Biggles" and Louis with "Molly".

Lavinia with "Biggles"

Emma with "Biggles"

Bruce with "Biggles"

Saying goodbye to our summer guests

14 Aug

Julian and Joshua at Reed House

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our last guests from our first year as a host family.

Julian and Joshua’s coach was scheduled leave Exmouth at 7pm, but although they had to drop off their luggage at 9am and there were activities on at the Community College that afternoon, they still came back to say goodbye to us in the afternoon.

They joined us 2 weeks ago, having met for the first time and we hope they left as friends. Travelling to the Channel Tunnel last night, they were to change coaches at around midnight as Joshua was travelling home to Bavaria in the South East of Germany and Julian to the Ruhr in West Germany.

We have since heard that Julian reached home at 3:10pm this afternoon and Joshua at 7pm which meant a 24 hour journey for him, who’s only 12!

BBQ Sunday

1 Aug

An evening meal with friends


Julian and Joshua arrived this weekend from Germany. The weather was looking good, so we invited some friends over for a BBQ to celebrate their arrival. The students enjoyed an afternoon of beach activities and after dinner, a 2 hour walk to Lympstone and back.