[Reference] Scarborough, Queensland – One Very Small Jack Russell With a Very Big Character

Scarborough

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

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.

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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.

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[Reference] East Ipswich, Queensland – Two energetic Kelpie crosses

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

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.

EastIpswich1I 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.

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[Reference] Berrinba (near Brisbane), Queensland (One very autonomous but friendly Manx cat)

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

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.

Berrinba1Cinnamon 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

[Reference] Mount Ommaney, Queensland – One very assertive middle-aged Maltese Shih-Tzu

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

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

[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

Cairns

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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