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

yagoona

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

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

oxenford

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.