Former City Professionals become homesitters to make the most of early retirement
Posted on 17 March, 2019
Karen and Neil Oddy from Sidcup in Kent are both in their 50s and have been home and pet sitting through Homesitters Ltd for 18 months since spotting an advert in a magazine and applying for the role.
This new role is in sharp contrast with their former lives as busy city professionals. Neil was previously a bank manager and retired at 55, while Karen had enjoyed a 30-year career at Lloyds Bank before taking redundancy to join Neil.
The main attractions of home and pet sitting for the Oddys are that it enables them to spend time with animals which they adore and to explore different parts of the UK and stay in fabulous homes in the countryside.
Before joining Homesitters Karen wanted to get a pet but as the couple travel a lot it wasn’t practical, so home and pet sitting seemed like the perfect alternative.
After attending a very thorough and professional interview with Homesitters Ltd they were employed by the company.
One of the benefits of working through Homesitters is the flexibility the company offers. The couple own an apartment in Portugal where they spend several months of the year, so they appreciate the fact they can choose how often they do assignments. This allows them to spend time in Portugal but then come back in the busy summer and Christmas holidays for UK assignments.
This energetic and sporty couple love the outdoors and spending time in nature. They find taking the dogs for long walks really suits them. Karen says that before they started the role she thought she’d discover she had a favourite breed of dog but now she has actually fallen in love with all of them!
If they’re on an assignment without a dog they might play 9 holes of golf instead, and on a couple of homesits they’ve stayed in homes with gyms or tennis courts which they have been able to use.
Neil says, “The initial attraction of the role for us was the chance to spend time with pets, however, when we started taking on assignments we quickly found other benefits. When we both worked full time we’d take our holidays abroad, now through homesitting we get to explore the UK and we’re lucky enough to stay in gorgeous homes. We’ve visited areas that we’ve never been to before.”
On assignments the couple also has plenty of free time to relax and spend time learning Portuguese, reading and catching up on films.
The couple’s assignments have included some amazing properties such as a huge period house on a 50 acre estate with beautiful views over the Kent countryside and an ultra-modern house in Surrey with high spec appliances and a cinema room.
Karen and Neil’s favourite homesit was at an old farmhouse near Epping Forest where they looked after two French Bulldogs. They have returned three times now and enjoy the peaceful setting and spending time with the dogs. The home has a large farmhouse kitchen and they spend a lot of time in there chatting while Karen cooks on the Aga. They also thoroughly enjoy watching the deer and pheasants that visit the garden.
Having always lived in a city the couple are really enjoying the opportunity to spend time in the countryside. They say it feels like a holiday.
Karen adds, “We are really enjoying spending quality time together. It is such a contrast to when we had young children and worked full time and had to schedule a date night to spend time together!”
“We explore a lot, walk around local villages and enjoy pub lunches. I was worried I might feel restless in the evenings, but the time flies and sitting with a dog on my lap in the evening is heaven for me. We stay in such beautiful large houses that I feel like the Lady of the Manor for the week!”