Bill The Housesitter – Open For Business Again Soon

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Bill The Housesitter has not crossed a provincial border since 26 March 2019.

There is no 13 month timespan in my 53.8 years on this planet where I could truthfully state this, prior to wheels-down on that late March day last year.

I’ve acclimated at a rate of knots. It came slowly, and while Darwinners, Palmigardeners, and those in the ruuuural area were starting to look forward to the explosion of wonderfullness that is the dry season, I was melting into the pavement.

By 1.30pm that day, I was in the Melaleuca YHA, whipping off my long trousers, stepping into my shorts – and my limbs would not be covered again by long pants, long-sleeved shirt, or jacket for another one year, three days, six hours.

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Picture: Ted E. Quinn and me, in the back of the NT Police divvy van. My landlady had called the police out to the place where I’d been renting a room since 18 May 2019. Within six seconds of my approaching their van, they’d summed up the situation, didn’t initially want to see the ID I’d proffered, told me, “Yeah, we’ve seen this situation before,” and asked me if I was OK.

After talking with the landlady, they agreed that getting me away from there post-haste was necessary. The only reason that Ted and I were in the back was that of the possesions I’d been able to flee with (the clothes I was wearing, some papers, and what I thought was a bag of food), I had taken a lighter for my incense and tea candles. That rode in the crew cab; Ted and I got our first ever ride in a police van. (They didn’t lock the door.)

That was 29 March 2020. Sunday night.

Since then, I’ve spent one night with a couple in Wanguri. Were it not for #pandemic I’d have been housesitting for them and their red cattle dog from 10 April to 10 May.

Then two weeks at Quest Parap. Hmmmm. So much feedback to give there.

Four nights with some other housesitting clients in Wanguri. They kindly allowed me to stay five nights, but I cut it to four. Wow! Did I learn some amazing things about their respective Australian stories from a few short wine/beer times on the veranda. Just mind-blowing stuff.

I did my first live weekly cross to 2EAR-FM Eurobodalla Access Radio that night while floating around in their pool.

Tune in on Thursday nights from 6-10pm AEST for Ian Traynor’s Still New And Looking For A Name Radio Show. Bill The Gypsy drops in from about 7.15pm-7.40pm AEST. www.2EARFM.weebly.com

Then seven nights in a shared rental arrangement back in Ludmilla which all came to a screaming halt less than a week after my arrival when I found out by pure accident that sub-letting there was strictly verboten under the terms of the lease. Repacked in less than three hours and on the road again.

One week minus a few hours near Casuarina Square. I’m nominally there, paid up to this coming Friday.

Now out in the semi-rural area of Darwin. 06:51am, 21 degrees celcius, feels like 21C, and I’m quite cold. My full acclimation to Top End weather took about 12 months.

Culturally? That’s a whole other story for another time and place.

Back on weather, I’ve had to step back inside and wait for the sun to pour into the backyard. It’s decidedly nippy. Not joking.

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See you down a dusty or frosty road, and here on the intrynetz zooper dooper highway.

Bill Q.

Palmerston, NT

09:58 Sunday 3 April 2020 ACST

[Reference] Eatons Hill (Brisbane), Queensland – One very energetic border collie

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

This was my second visit to the two-acre property at Eatons Hill to look after almost-two-year-old Milly, a border collie who’s built sleek, swift, and as football commentators are prone to say, ‘She’s full of running’.

For two weeks, we were each others’ constant companions, and we started out with a bit of light exploration of the streets, easements, and open green spaces of this rural suburb in north west Brisbane.

milly4However, after the first time I took up the owners’ suggestion to make the trek by car across to the coast and visit Sandgate Beach at low tide, I was hooked. We made pilgrimages there every other day to muck about on the great sandy flats, with a tennis ball being our main source of mutual entertainment.

I highly recommend going on a Monday or Tuesday for Doug’s Seafood‘s $14.95 special.

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[Reference] Kenmore (Brisbane) Queensland – Two dogs and two guinea pigs

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

This sixteen-day housesit at the end of January was a pleasant surprise as it came as a cold call (or email) from someone who’d stumbled across my Bill The Housesitter Facebook page.

I’ve had enquiries via the Facebook page before, but this was the first (maybe second) where I’ve been able to accommodate the request (no pun intended).

Kenmore, like many Brisbane suburbs, has a fairly out-of-town feel to it while being surprisingly close-in. Just jump on Moggil Road and in two shakes of a lamb’s tail you’re in Toowong. It’s even quicker if you choose not to be mucking around with lambs while you’re driving.

The house itself is an older style house and the designers/builders didn’t really have a good grasp of the mechanics of insulation, but a couple of fans set that to rights, even during the hottest and driest of days.

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After our first couple of walks, I realised that the dogs had very different exercise requirements and capabilities. A 4km walk around the hills was more than the old girl was up to, and a shorter walk around the crick just wasn’t enough to sate the young boy. So after a couple of days, I mapped out a 4km walk that I took the spritely young Cavalier on, and the traditional creek walk was more than enough for the grand dame.

A couple of days after that and the young, bouncy, sniffy one and I made it a twice daily hike, and he and I both shed some kilograms during my stay!

It was good to have use of the owners’ car, initially to run up to the shops, though once I got the walking bug, I left it out the front and got in some extra kms on foot on a regular basis. I also got out to my irregular trivia haunt twice where we got a first and a second on respective Tuesdays.

The owners were well-pleased with my housesittering and gave me this reference:

Bill housesat for us for just over 2 weeks while we were overseas.

He not only took great care of our 2 dogs, a few herbs and the kids’ sunflowers, but was also happy to take on a couple of guinea-pigs (not ours – we were babysitting for someone else) who couldn’t return to their own home before we left.

We came home to a house that was probably cleaner and tidier than when we left, and dogs that were far better exercised than under our own care! Bill worked out their needs as individuals and tailored their walks to suit them, which meant double the exercise for him!

We loved that he communicated well and shared pictures of our pets so we could relax knowing they were happy. We will definitely call on Bill in the future and highly recommend him to anyone else.

Liesl and Andrew, Kenmore

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[Reference] Coorparoo (Brisbane), Queensland (Two cats, one dog, two guinea pigs)

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

My last housesit for 2016 finished pretty much right on New Year’s Eve, so I was pretty lucky to get a last minute-ish housesit to return to the rolling hills of Coorparoo in the close-in southern suburbs of Brisbane.

I had quite the menagerie to look after with a little ball of energy of a… dog-gone – forgotten the make and model! I think she’s a Maltese-Shi-Tzu, but maybe with a sprinkle of Cavalier in there as well. Jalapeno Crepes, my memory’s starting to get Swiss Cheesy in my advanced years!

I’ll check.

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There were also two cats: a friendly young moggie, and a slightly more distant ragdoll cat. I rarely saw them during the day, but they were mercifully very good at coming inside in the late afternoon. Funny beasts: they’d willingly come in then would agitate after a while to go out again, but no, they were in for the night.

And then there were two very low maintenance guinea pigs who looked after themselves and passed the days and evenings by eating, eating, eating, making noises like R2D2, and eating. 2 January marked the start of my very much overdue and very much needed dietary blitz, so the pigs and I shared very similar diets!

The house, like many in Coorparoo, is pretty much directly under the flight path to Brisbane airport, but the planes flew over at just high enough to rarely be a problem.

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I expected a bit of commotion when New Year’s Eve struck, but apart from a few muffled thuds from the direction of the fireworks on Brisbane River, that was about it. A markéd difference to this time in 2015 when I was in the middle of the militiarised industrial pyrotechnics zone in Yagonna, New South Wales.

The house was a leisurely (albeit hilly) stroll down to Greenslopes, then a bit of an extra hike to Stones Corner, so having no access to a car was no problem.

It was a bit of a doddle of a week, with a couple of tropical storms to light up the sky and top up the pool, which was a blessed relief to have access to given the stifling heat throughout the week. The twice-daily dips were wonderful.

The owners were glad to have me and gave me this reference:

We had Bill the Housesitter pet-sit for us in December 2016/January 2017 for 1 week.

Bill did a wonderful job of looking after all our pets while we were away and we came back to very happy, healthy little pets. Bill had to look after 2 cats, 1 dog and 2 guinea pigs and he did so with ease.

Bill also did a fabulous job of caring for our garden, watering the plants/flowers, and the garden was probably in a better condition when we got home. Bill was excellent in looking after the house also, making sure all the windows were shut and cushions brought inside before storms. Bill also put in the effort to round up all the pets and bring them inside safe and sound before any storms hit. Finding someone like Bill to pet-sit your house and pets makes going away that much easier.

We would not hesitate in recommending Bill for any petsitting positions and we will definitely be using Bill again should we need to. He is kind, caring and seems to have a love of animals. He is also able to spend a lot of his time at home with the pets which the pets absolutely love!

Thanks again Bill for a wonderful job!

Lisa and Steve
Coorparoo

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

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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

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.

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

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Bill The Housesitter Video 6: Keeping Cool In Queensland

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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.