[Reference] Yagoona (Sydney), New South Wales (Two full of character and life Malamutes)


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

This was one of my absolute favourite housesits, although it did prove to be in equal parts challenging. Mostly because I was trying to plough through a stack of work at the time, and the house next door was being built – from the ground up!

I’m an absolute sweetheart until my patience is sorely tested, and when the banging, bandsawing, drilling, shouting, and related carry-on only ceased one Friday night at 9pm, I sorta kinda lost it just a leetle bit!

And by ‘losing it’, we’re talking three terse text messages to the owner-builder to say, ‘Don’t do it again’!

With one or two -ing words thrown in for emphasis.

(The dog-owners/home-owners have since moved many, many suburbs away.)

miaApart from that, Yagoona was WONDERFUL.

I adore places like this in Western Sydney and other culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) areas of the world.

People look at me askance and wonder what I’m on about when I say this, but it’s true: I may be fifth generation Spanish-Irish Catholic Australian, but plonk me in a homogenous white area of my own country, and my hackles go up, and I’d bet my blood pressure elevates too.

Conversely, throw me into Yagoona, Lakemba, Liverpool, Bankstown, or another of Australia’s great multicultural melting pots, and I’m happier than a pig in muck.

Why? Because they’re my people.

They’re loud, expressive, demonstrative, engaging, greet you with a smile, want to talk with you. Don’t give a fig or felafel if you’re dressed outrageously or are carrying an old teddy bear with you.

mickIt literally takes me two hours to walk 500 metres along Macquarie Street in Liverpool. The voices are many, they’re loud, they are gathered in groups, in cultural groups, in cross-cultural groups – and I can go those two hours and not hear a word of English.

I love that. It’s like overseas travel in your own country. Continue reading

[Reference] Housesit in Oxenford, Gold Coast (An energetic boxer cross and a whippet cross)


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

On the face of it, Oxenford was an ideally-suited small jigsaw puzzle piece, slotting in nicely between Ascot (cats) and Capalaba (dogs).

Rather than on the Gold Coast itself, Oxenford is in the hinterland, very close to the big theme parks that are the draw card for the area. The locality sits right on top of the Gold Coast Motorway (which I variously refer to as the Gold Coast Speedway or Car Park), so it’s also very much the dormitory suburb for Brisbane.

The couple were very open about the fact that the place would be a bit bare bones because they were in the process of selling up and moving interstate. I was relieved to hear that the Foxtel Sports would be very much still in situ while I was there.

The only fly in the ointment of the eight day housesit came three days before I was due to arrive. At about 6.30pm on Wednesday 10 August 2016 as I sat in Ascot, I got the terrible phone call that my mother Mary had just died in Westmead Hospital in Sydney, just three weeks shy of her 80th birthday.

Mum had not been completely healthy all of her life, and epilepsy had added a very challenging dimension to her life from the age of 46 onwards with regularly irregularly visits to hospital, including a lot of ICU, and a few administrations of the Last Rites.

I mention this only by way of thanks to my hosts who were very understanding of my need to absent myself for a day during the week for the funeral. They also made their second car available for me to drive down to Gold Coast Airport. That was a rather long, big travel day. Up at 4am, collapse back onto the couch at 10pm, after a drive, fly, train, walk, bus, lift, lift, walk, train, train, fly, drive day.

But all that aside, it was a very relaxing week with my two little tour guides for the area. The house is on an estate where the infamous Russ Hinze used to have his horses. In the valley of the Coomera River, there are some lovely walks along its banks, and the streets are quiet and safe.

We never had a routine; we just went roughly in the same direction every time, doing a loop down to the lake and back by the main access road to the riverside parks.

Apart from that, the little whippet was very ball-oriented, so we spent a lot of time in the yard with the ball-chucker (that’s a plastic aparatus, not me! My shoulder is slowly getting back to scratch after the November 2015 accident. Well, not accident. Me pretending I’m 19 again: how does that sound?)

It was a quiet and contemplative week, and a shame I won’t get to go back as the household is transplanting itself hundreds of miles away.

This is the reference they left me on my Bill The Housesitter Facebook page:

Bill house sat (more importantly – dog sat!) for us for a week in August 2016.

Bill made the effort to meet us and our dogs prior to the sitting. Our girls were happy and relaxed upon our return.

We invited Bill to stay the first night of our return, before he moved onto the next house sit the following day. This was a great opportunity to know him better. He spoke fondly of the pets he had cared for as he described many pet personalities he had met. We would recommend his services to anyone needing a house sitter.


Bill The Housesitter dot com Video #9: Dog Training Lite


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

Nothing really much to say here except that it’s a delight to spend time with these two dogs, and we use a few little training tips every day in play and walking time.

Here’s what some of it looks like.


My 2016 Dance Card Is Now Full

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This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

As of this morning, Bill The Housesitter is now booked until at least 5 January 2017.

I have some dates already booked in for the first half of 2017 – see my Availability page for full details.

However, all dates are now spoken for in 2016, and hopefully will stay that way, the various good gods-willing, and if the creeks don’t rise and the crops don’t fail. 😉

In fact, I’m even taking two weeks for myself and having a holiday in Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria. This is something I would not even have considered towards the start of this year.

But while some cruel and even tragic* things have happened this year, on balance, it goes well. Good things are happening, and a little time for #1 is in order.

Full as a goog, as my old mum would say!

Continue reading

Bill The Housesitter dot com Video #8 Part B: Wide Open Dog Park


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

One of the great joys (of the many to be had) when you housesit is when you strike upon a winning formula with two new furry friends from the get-go.

I’m here in beautiful Capalaba, south east of Brisbane, a short drive from the coastline including Cleveland, Raby Bay and Redland Bay, with Wynnum and Manly a little to the north. It’s then a hop, skip and a jump to the ferry terminal down south for the islands: Stradbroke and Russell to name just two I can think of without consulting a map!

Raby Bay. Image courtesy of www.peterbellingham.com

Continue reading

[Reference] Wavell Heights, Brisbane (One very expressive sharpei cross and a low maintenance budgie)


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

My house-sit in Wavell Heights was one of a few I’d lined up while still in Sydney, so it was great that a few people like Samantha and Dan were prepared to take me on, sight unseen, before I had even arrived in the great south east of Queensland back in February 2016.

(And it’s also a testament to the value of collecting these references, and I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has provided them for me.)

Like a good one-third to two-thirds of the places I visit, I’d never heard of Wavell Heights before I lobbed there in June 2016. Put a gun to my head and there’s no way I could have pointed to it on a map of Greater Brisbane.

Like most of my canine companions, Gus had zero interest in the Tour de France.

Continue reading

[Reference] Burleigh Heads, Queensland (One sweet little border collie and two exotic mountain cats)


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

Burleigh Heads is one of my new favourite places on the planet.

It’s also my new nominal “””home””” address, and my use of the three sets of inverted commas is to denote that I don’t really have a home address in any sense of the word!

However, it is the home of an old, old friend and former work colleague*, his wife, and their furry triumvirate: a very sweet little collie dog, and the actual, true house-owners, two Persian Himalayan cats. Continue reading

Bill The Housesitter Video 7: Postcard From Burleigh Beach


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

It’s been a while since the last blog post and video here. So long that I’m currently under roof #12 for calendar year 2016.

This evening on Burleigh Beach, as I was trying to simultaneously drink in all the scenery and document it to within an inch of its life, I realised this was prime video material.

Et voilà!

I can’t tell you how much I adore drifting up and down the Burleigh promenade. Yeah, it’s tourist central, but this is mid-winter.

I adore it.

A hive of activity, people of all ages, nationalities, and descriptions. And I have more conversations and shared moments here on one evening’s walk than in some whole weeks elsewhere. Continue reading

Bill The Housesitter Video 6: Keeping Cool In Queensland


This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

After an absence of only 10 months, I’m back in south east Queensland for the foreseeable future.

This first house-sit in south-west suburbs of Brisbane has me looking after two dogs, two parrots, and four chooks.

And a pool! Which as you can see, is a source of heat relief for man and beast alike.

[Reference] Paddington, New South Wales (One large, friendly Labrador)

"Neville" the Labrador
“Neville” the Labrador

This is the blog section of the Bill The Housesitter site. See above tabs for ‘About’, ‘Availability’, ‘Contact’ and ‘References’.

I had a short, fortuitous two-week house-sit in inner Sydney city Paddington in December 2015.

Fortuitous as it fitted neatly in between five weeks in Holsworthy and the subsequent five weeks in Bankstown.

Paddington is a wondrous conundrum of a paradox wrapped up in an enigma with a little mystery sprinkled on top. It’s home to many of the upper middle class entitled semi-demi noveau rich that you’d expect to find in the electorate of the conservative Prime Minister of the country.

And yet it’s also home to a fantastic bohemian set, mostly foreign-born, and it was these people I met by the truck-load over just two weeks — in the streets, in shops, in bars. For a loan traveller, I rarely find myself alone in the inner city. (Suburbia is a bit of a different story.) Continue reading