Rain stops play in Banstead
“Here comes the rain again”
Sang Annie Lennox with the Eurythmics in 1983 and it’s fast becoming the theme tune of British summer time 2019. Apparently, the wettest June on record was 2012 with 152mm of rain in that month. Halfway through the current month of June it was reported that 49mm of rain had fallen in the month to date, so there could be three times as much to look forward to over the remaining 15 days if 2019 is to beat 2012!
In Australia in some towns two months of rain could be nil, but when you’re in the UK and you hear the media talking of two months of rain falling in two days you know that it is, as the locals would say, “shed loads” of rain! Another version of this saying is also quite popular!
“This time last year” are the words we keep hearing from everyone, making reference to the hot dry summer that happens once in forty years and happened in 2018. This time this year it’s blooming wet!
The weekly Waitrose newspaper appears very hopeful with its recommendation of a vegetarian barbecue for the weekend, The Evening Standard seemed to be more in tune with the times with a recipe for a comforting pasta for a chilly summer monsoon!
“Raindrops keep falling on my head”
We have been so pleased that our last two pet sits have had a supply of Wellington Boots and umbrellas on hand, they have certainly been very handy and are this summers must have accessory.
The home owners in Banstead were very hopeful on the weather, they informed us that they had left sun loungers in the garden for us, needless to say, we haven’t needed to go looking for the cushions!
Meet the pets
The pets that we are looking after in Banstead in Surrey are 13 year old Buddy and 9 year old Billy. Neither of them minds the rain, luckily, Billy in particular loves running around and finding the biggest puddles to dunk himself in. We kept plenty of towels on hand to be used when we returned from our walking trips with these two.
“Calm before the storm”
Billy just loves to run around the fields that we walk in. I checked my Fitbit on the return of one of our walks, it showed that we had walked 2,600 steps, which is approximately 2km. Billy, however, never stops running while he is out and must easily do 10 times what we walk, so he’s probably doing 15 to 20KM on each walk out! Both of the dogs are ball obsessed and were very pleased on one of our walks to find two balls on the playing field. Finding two balls was lucky too due to the competitiveness between them both.
When we returned home we decided to hide the balls so as to give the boys a rest. Placing the balls on the top of a barrel in the garden was not such a great idea though. Billy soon discovered where they were hidden and managed to grab one of the balls with his paws and mouth.
“Rainy days and Mondays”
One of the best places to visit on a rainy day is one of the many country pubs. An essential purchase when touring the UK is the Good Pub Guide or Sawday’s Pub Guide. These manage to turn up some of the best pubs around the UK. We love how the pubs that we have been to so far have all been so dog friendly, offering snacks, water and allowing them indoors is so different to what is allowed in Australia. During lunch on one of our pub visits we saw a beautiful black Labrador sat in the Fox and Grapes on Wimbledon Common.
The White Hart in Chipstead is our new favourite local pub with great food and drinks on offer but it is also very dog friendly and they even hold dog walks and offer dog biscuits for our four legged friends. It’s also nice to see that they provide reading glasses along with the daily newspapers for us humans!
“It never rains in Southern California”
But in England it does rain quite a bit and so joining the National Trust is a great way to escape the outdoors and to see lots of historic buildings. During our Banstead sit we visited Ham House, Polesden Lacey and Chartwell.
Ham House is an amazing property that was built in 1610 on the banks of the River Thames. At this time beer was the preferred drink as water was viewed as being unhealthy, even children drank a 3% version! They would not have needed iPads to keep themselves entertained!
People did not bathe in those days, even the duchess would only take a bath about 3 or 4 times a year. This would be a 5 or 6 hour event including a relaxation after the bath wrapped in robes and reclining on chaise lounge. We have a friend whose bathing routine is not to dissimilar today!
Is another National Trust property, the sun actually came out on the day we visited. This property was Sir Winston Churchill’s family home for over 40 years. There is a studio where he painted 535 paintings, 165 of which are on display around the property . He was also a great writer completing over 40 books on top of the many speeches that he wrote, and during this time he was Prime Minister, twice. This is one of those houses that you walk around and think how amazing it would have been to have been here during the time Winston lived here or to have been invited to one of the dinner parties.
“It’s raining men”
Or cats and dogs as it did on the day that we visited Polesdon Lacey! “The entrance is just along the path there” said the volunteer at the desk, not giving us full details of how long “just along” was, needless to say, it was enough for us to get a good drenching.
This property was the country home of Margaret Greville. Here she entertained politicians and royalty in the early 20th century. George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, spent their honeymoon in the house in 1923. It’s a pretty spectacular place.
The grounds are famous for the gardens in particular the walled rose garden, but unfortunately, due to the rain, we didn’t get to visit them on this day. We did however return on a clear day in the following week. It was worth the second visit just for the National Trust scones and tea.
We have really enjoyed our time in Banstead with Billy and Buddy who were both adorable. It also gave us the chance to meet up with a few friends and visit various National Trust properties and country pubs. We would definitely return if the opportunity arose in the future.