This is just about a comprehensive collection of all the pets I looked after in 2017 as Bill The Housesitter.
With the exception of a few fish and hamsters. And several chooks.
It literally is a collection from A to Y.
As I was compiling these photos, I realised I’d inadvertently put them in alphabetical location order: from Algester (Qld) to Yeppoon (Qld)!
In housesitting years gone by, I could have told you at any tick of the clock how many housesits I was up to for that year at that point in time.
But 2017 was such an absolute mess, I totally lost track along the way.
Just now, I’ve used a very scientific method (i.e. counting on fingers as this video ran through its paces) to come up with the definitive count for the year: twenty three (23).
From Machan’s Beach (Cairns) in the north to Baulkham Hills (Sydney) in the south.
(2017 housesit locations. Not pictured: Baulkham Hills (Sydney), New South Wales.)
So, with a little favourite music in the background, and arrayed in alphabetical order, here are my feathery, furry, and finned clients of 2017:
Here’s to 2018 and all who sail in her!
Bill The Housesitter
Sydney, New South Wales
Scarborough was yet another one of my short housesits, however, at eight nights it was starting to hit median length for my 2017 records.
I was already in wind-down mode in Queensland, with this being my penultimate housesit, divided by a week in my old faithful haunt, the Brisbane City YHA.
The small unit at Scarborough was ideally suited for a quiet, relaxing week before heading back into the city, perched pretty much at the absolute tip of the Redcliffe peninsula. From the front gate, there was a road, some parkland, and the bay. Pretty hard to take.
Misty the Jack Russell was in that mama bear range of being not too young, not too old. She liked to be around me, but was perfectly happy to keep her own company as well. Though come sundown, the back door was locked because, left to her own devices, she’d be out there chasing down anything that went bump, rustle or squeak in the night.
A question I get asked more and more these days is, “What’s been your favourite housesit?”
Try as I might, I never have a good and/or definitive answer for this. There are just too many variants: location, number of animals, sociability of those animals, comfort level of accommodation, TV and media choices in the home, and so and so and so.
I can honestly not pick one.
However, there are other metrics I can easily use to pick ‘The Most Something’ of a housesit and this is one. Namely, it’s been the shortest!
Initially intended to be a little over 24 hours, this short housesit at Wynnum West ended up falling about five hours short of two whole days. The family had forgotten that they had a Saturday morning obligation or two for their kids, and so rather than meandering slowly back from the Gold Coast on a pleasant Saturday morning/afternoon, they came barrelling back up the M1 early, and I’d barely (in two senses of the word) stepped out of the shower when they were back.
25 minutes later I was on the eastbound platform at Lindum train station!
The brevity of the stay was not a problem. I had a week or so in between housesits and, as usual, was hanging out at the Brisbane City YHA. So this just neatly broke that time up and gave me a couple of days in my own space, with access to Fox Sports and Netflix*.
* I was looking forward to seeing the last three episodes of Fargo Series 3 on Netflix, but had to smile wryly to myself when I was asked for a PIN code to get around the child protection lock, so I left that to another day.
My main companion was a lovely old Labrador who was content to sit around most of the day and catch up on some Zs, however we did wander over to the local dog park on both afternoons. I’d been to this particular dog park briefly earlier in the year when I’d done my mammoth Saturday exploring about eight or nine parks and ending up on Sandgate Beach at low tide. At that time, I’d mentally rated the Evelyn Street dog park pretty lowly amongst its peers, and so it proved to be.
Devoid of shade wasn’t really a problem in the middle of winter, but it was also bereft of other canines and homo sapiens. We saw exactly one other person plus child plus dog, and they gave us a cursory ‘hello’ before scarpering up the other end of the park. So, doggo and I amused ourselves for as long as we could and then loped back home.
The bearded dragons were a nice break from the ordinary run of cats and dogs, even if their movements were rare and glacially slow. One took the time to look around the living area and would then make for a spot out of sight under the TV cabinet. The other was happy enough to sit on my arm and keep an eye on affairs of state from there.
All in all, a very easy care option!
Like I said, blink and you’d miss this housesit, but it served its purpose for all concerned and the pack leaders provided me with this lovely reference:
We had the please of having Bill look after our home and beloved pets while we went away, and couldn’t be happier.
If you are looking for a friendly, down to earth person who will look after your home as if it were his own, and take great care of your pets as well (he looked after our Labrador and Lizards), leaving you to holiday without worry, then Bill is your man.
Great job Bill!
Rhiannon, Wynnum West
I was a little wary of returning to the Ipswich area after two previous housesits in the region had proven to be… challenging! To put it diplomatically. But, to quote a mantra from my old HR days, there are no such things as problems, only opportunities. Allegedly!
I shouldn’t have worried. This one was an absolute delight.
After seeing my ad on Gumtree, Emily had contacted me earlier in the year, about the time I was in the north of Brisbane and about to head way, way up north of the state. We met on my return in July, and locked in this two and a half week sit spanning October and November.
I had no other obligations or responsibilities during that time, other than to see the end of the baseball World Series on their fabulous cable sports TV (yay!), reunite with a local social group and attend a few trivia nights, and of course spend a lot of quality time with my two furry clients: Sandy and Piper the Kelpie crosses.
Being Kelpies, they were both of course incredibly intelligent and savvy. Sandy in particular had that amazing quality some dogs have: she honestly knew sometimes what I was about to do before I did it, and would move herself into place accordingly.
Following a trend for taking housesits in relatively far-flung parts of Brisbane, I spent two weeks in the deep south in a suburb called Berrinba with Cinnamon the Manx cat.
To be honest, I hesitated when it came up on my pick list. Just across the freeway from Berrinba are the localities of Woodridge and Logan, which have a reputation for being a bit dicey. If you’re familiar with the work of Jim Croce, and in particular his ballad of Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, then imagine his depiction of the south side of Chicago!
But I suspended disbelief, let my fingers do the walking to Google Maps Street View, and found the pictures of its streets uncluttered by pictures of knife-wielding gangs or cars on fire, and within a few days I was meeting with Annette and Bob.
Cinnamon definitely had the run of the joint, especially since as a 23.5 hours a day inside cat, she was absolutely queen of her domain. Her first couple of days were spent in master’s bedroom, but by and by she started spending more time with me on my sole pursuit for much of the two weeks: the league championship series and start of the World Series of baseball on their glorious Fox Sports cable TV.
For the other half an hour a day, Cinnamon got to have time in the exercise yard (read: small patio and grassed backyard), though we had to skip a couple of days as we were on the receiving end of a mighty amount of precipitation for the duration.
That aside, I spent a couple of days a week with a public relations mob in Logan, but Cinnamon was amply able to keep herself occupied on those days, as that’s what she’s used to her with her pack leaders. Continue reading
Mount Ommaney was yet another of those handy little Tetris pieces of a housesit that slotted fairly neatly into a gap in my housesitting schedule for the fractured mess that is my 2017.
Well, 2017’s not so much a fractured mess, but more like how a favoured author of mine describes the geography and topography of Norway: a landscape that resembles a dropped plate.
So, if memory serves, this opportunity in Mount Ommaney came courtesy of my association with a new housesitting website, and after I applied, it came extremely quickly.
Having gone on numerous cruises previously, my clients were breaking with tradition and jetting off to a region of Bali somewhat removed from the touristy hubbub of Kuta and Legian beaches. Continue reading