[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] 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] Return to Wavell Heights, Queensland – Two dogs: something old, something new

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

Much as I’d like to, I don’t get that many repeat housesits with favoured clients, simply because I’m booked at the times they want. The tyranny of distance also plays a part as a lot of Sydney and New South Wales homeowners would gladly have me back, however, I had to turn a few down when I took off to Brisbane in early 2016.

But Samantha and Dan from Wavell Heights got in very early after I spent a month there in July 2016, and booked me in for just the week in July 2017.

It came at the end of a whirlwind two and a bit months on the Sunshine Coast, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Cairns, and Yeppoon, so I fell out of the taxi from the airport late one Saturday morning in early July and hardly moved for a week!

I had one old mate to take care of, and the dog with the best ears in the business (a four-way mix of several breeds with the tell-tale Sharpei crinkle on his forehead) greeted me like an old friend.

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The new girl on the block is a young and slightly skittish young slip of a thing, but I could have written an inter-personal communications chapter or lesson just on my arrival. (The family had left earlier for the airport, so I was walking in cold into the animals’ home.) Continue reading

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

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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.

 

Bill The Housesitter dot com Video #9: Dog Training Lite

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

Nothing really much to say here except that it’s a delight to spend time with these two dogs, and we use a few little training tips every day in play and walking time.

Here’s what some of it looks like.

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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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