[Reference] Algester, Queensland – Two cats with very different personalities

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

Algester is one of countless suburbs I’ve discovered over many years of housesitting whose existence I may have ordinarily remained blissfully ignorant of.

It was a first on a couple of fronts, including the first time I’ve housesat in a ‘gated community’. That sounded very posh and elite at first blush, but you could easily forget that it was any different to your run of the mill townhouse complex.

Algester1My two moggie mates had very different personalities – the female grey and white was initially very affectionate and approachable, but from Day One she opted to make herself very scarce and only turned up for meals and in the evenings for curfew. The marmalade man was the polar opposite – an absolute character of a cat, and always very entertaining and diverting company. I nearly fell off the couch the night I looked over and solved the question of, ‘How many cats does it take to change a light bulb?’ I have no idea what he was up to, and I suspect neither did he!

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[Reference] Machans Beach (Cairns), Queensland – Two dogs, two snakes, seven chickens, many fish

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

2017 has been a year of repeat sits, a few fallow times, and an extended return trip of several thousand kilometres comprising the Sunshine Coast, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Cairns at the zenith, then six nights in Yeppoon before falling into a plane at Rocky and landing back in Brisbane.

As the clock is ticking down on this public library computer – where I cursed my itinerant status and had to plead for an extension to my library card to access this PC* – I’ll just drop in the reference for now and add some other vignettes from the great Queensland north at a later date.

* Brisbane City Council are very wary and circumspect about issuing library cards to tramps, vagrants, housesitters, and other suspicious wandering folk. 😑

Back live.

It was a funny old couple of months, as in funny peculiar, and only occasionally funny ha-ha.

First stop was a handful of nights in Buderim which were ok and uneventful enough. However, much as trying to watch football in licensed premises in Queensland on Good Friday is a wasted exercise, I’d counsel that not try to travel on Anzac Day as in similar company as an exercise fraught with pitfalls. A five minute hold-up by a delivery person as I was leaving the premises threw a $50 taxi fare spanner into the works. Ouch.

From there, it was 11 hours $150 on a bus to go 350kms to Gladstone, and from there the surreal and frustrating just kept piling on. The next few weeks were an amalgam of killing time late night and early mornings in roadhouses, a housesit cancelled one week into a four week stay, then a very haphazard string of nights in caravan parks, youth hostels and even one night couch-surfing with a French Russian and Ukrainian Australian in Townsville.

After a few nights in Cairns itself, I finally arrived in Machans Beach, literally across the road from the ocean.

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And pretty much stayed there for two weeks!

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[Reference] Upper Kedron (Brisbane), Queensland (One friendly dog who loved his walks, and a cat who sat them out)

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

Last year I began to embrace the existence of the multiple short housesits which had been something of a bane of my existence previously. For a while, the constant moving, packing and unpacking and not staying in any one place for long was beginning to grate, but necessity being the mother of invention, I was beginning to agree with and even welcome the short, sharp, staccato bursts of residency.

And so Upper Kedron came towards the start of a quite a few mini-housesits, not all in a row, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the company of all my charges, I stopped worrying about upping stumps quickly.

Upper Kedron is a strange beast in so far as you’d reasonably expect it to sit cheek by jowl with Kedron.

Not so.

15 kilometres separate the two suburbs, including a fair stretch of railway track and roads, and one sizable military barracks.

ChesterUpper Kedron itself is on one of the many green fringes of the city sprawl. Zip off to the west and you hit the bush and the Samford Valley. It has that feel of being a goodly way out of the rat race, while only a reasonably short train ride from the terminus at Ferny Grove in to Central and Roma Street.

My two companions were a friendly springer spaniel and a slightly aloof moggie who nevertheless rarely strayed far from home.

With the days fairly blisteringly hot after about 10am, we soon got into a routine of going for a walk early-ish and late-ish, with a good deal of avoiding the sun in the middle.

We had a couple of mildly successful visits to the huge enclosed dog park that was virtually over the back fence, but Chester has a little of the alpha male about him, so after the first day we ditched that idea in favour of a regular stroll to the shops where we became semi-regulars at the Poshamocha Café at Ferny Grove shops. The owner in particular took quite a shine to Chester and would always stop to have a chat while lavishing Chester with attention.

DexterDexter the cat spent his days hanging out in the backyard, or curling up a short distance away from where Chester and I were watching the cricket or football or whatever else took our fancy. It was a pretty cruisey week.

The owners returned refreshed from a big family holiday and sent me this by way of reference:

Bill house sat for us between 7 – 14 January 2017

Upon meeting Bill we knew our house and pets were in good hands.

When we arrived home Chester and Dexter were happy, and had obviously been cared for. The house was in good order too.

Thank you Bill.

John and Sarah, Upper Kedron

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[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