Farming it out
Carol and Rayner Peett regularly call in house-sitters to care for their home in Pembrokeshire – and its menagerie of animals – when they go on holiday.
The couple inherited their 12th-century longhouse with four bedrooms and large garden – which had been Carol’s childhood home – five years ago, when Carol’s mother passed away. At the time, the Peetts also inherited a host of animals: three donkeys (Frolic, Ianto and Geraint), two Labradors (Snipe and Plover) and three stable cats (Kathmandu, Cat Ballou and Catastrophe).
“In addition, we have some ducks and fish in an outdoor pond – so there’s quite a lot to look after,” says Carol, 58, who runs West Wales Property Finders and Pembrokeshire Farm b&b. “When we took over the property, we suddenly realised it was a complete tie when we wanted to go away.”
Initially, the couple advertised on Facebook and found a local man in his 20s, Matthew, to house-sit for them. “We paid him £30 per 24-hour stint, and also left food for him,” says Carol. “He was great with the animals, and the dogs loved him. He kept us regularly updated with text messages, and always left the place clean.”
Having Matthew around helped the Peetts enjoy their time off. “We could relax completely without having to worry about a thing back home; it was reassuring knowing the place was lived-in and safe,” Carol says. “He came to house-sit for us for almost four years – during which time we took trips to all sorts of places, including the Maldives and Bali.”
Carol recently advertised for a new house-sitter on Facebook after Matthew moved away, and has just interviewed and booked Lisa, who is in her early 30s, to look after the house and animals when she and Rayner go away in June.