• Carol Duval

Trying Lives: A House Sitter's Tale



At last! The book is ready. Here's an idea of what's inside.


FIRST THOUGHTS Australia — Pet sitting

1. Synchonicity Nimbin— hippy heartland—Donald Trump

2. From Seeing to Being


TESTING THE WATERS UK — House swapping

3. Flood, Fire and Torches on the Thames Goring torchlight procession, George Michael, floods

4. Flood, Fire and Tarts on the Tagus Lisbon, Inquisition, conquistadores, tarts, Buddha Eden


PET SITTING NOVICES UK — Pet sitting

5. Horse Country Berkshire countryside, dogs and chooks, unwelcome guests

6. Blown Away by Brill Oxfordshire village, windmill, Tony Blair, house hunting dilemmas


A YEAR IN THE COUNTRY UK Renting with a bit of pet sitting

7. Quirky Cotswolds Chipping Campden, Cotswold Olympicks, village types, Women's Institute

8. Summer's Sweet Excess Broad Campden and Quakers, Campden Literature Festival, Charles Wade's weirdness, Pudding Club

9.We Gather Together Cider, pub gardens, Betsy Harmony, dog sitting and getting lost in the Welsh borders, Croft Castle, Stroud at Hallowe'en

10. Lashings of Wind, Rain and Pudding Cornish pet sit, Bataclan bombing, a lucky escape, Christmas markets, Christmas and New Year's Eve in Netherlands, Grandpa Death Experience


FRENCH FOLLIES, FANTASIES AND FRIENDSHIPS France — House and pet sitting

11. Chains and Chatelains DIY in Cristallin, a crumbling chateau near Fontenay le Comte; relentless bells, weeds and friendly neighbours; the slave trade

12. Woods, Lakes and Leaves Dog sitting in Treignac, living in a valley, Brexit shock, bitter-sweet sojourn with old friends in Casteljaloux


AMONG THE OLIVE GROVES Spain — Pet sitting

13. Heat, Dust and Blasts from the Past Hilltop villa near Alcala la Real; Spanish civil war; festivals, weddings and mass baptisms; hippies; Credence Clearwater revived in a remote village

14. Casa de Gatos Faith vs Reason in Zaragoza and Seville; overrun by feral cats near Alheurin el Grande, Chilcot Report and Tony Blair, Basque country; Cristallin reimagined


HITS, MISSES AND CLOSE SHAVES UK — Pet sitting

15. Merlin of High Hope Barn Cat sitting on the Welsh borders, country walks, burying bodies, churches, fleeing cows, Hay on Wye walks and bookshops

16. Perfect Homes, Endearing Pets Three different homes — three different counties; the Aga experience; field mouse, pigeon and pheasant entrails

17. Space Invaders Overload of books and pug drool in a small Oxfordshire village, welcome but short escapes to Cirencester and London


THE RETURN Australia — House and pet sitting

18. The Perils of Oz Cane toads, snakes, infected ear; dodgy eggs and an elusive cult

19. Max of Molly's Farm Hippy revival, a friendly duck, the brutal world of poultry

20. Final Thoughts Making it work


I'm self-publishing through feedARead which is a print-on-demand service available pretty well everywhere. Details can be found here.




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