[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] Wynnum West (Brisbane), Queensland – One lazy, friendly old Labrador and two fairly sociable Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragon1

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

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!

Bearded Dragon2Initially 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.

Wynnum West1My 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

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

EastIpswich3

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.

EastIpswich3 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] Wynnum, Queensland – One very friendly Labrador and two bearded dragons

Wynnum3

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

As mentioned many times here and at www.Facebook.com/BillTheHousesitter, 2017 has been the year of lots of short housesits – and they’ve never if ever come shorter than this one!

The family at Wynnum were only looking for someone to look after the house and pets for two nights, but this housesit broke up a week-long spell at the backpacker hostel in the CBD just nicely, so I jumped on the Cleveland line one Thursday morning and headed out west.

The place is a modern house in a quiet street with easy access to one of the most under-used dog parks I’ve ever encountered. The old Labrador and I ambled over to Evelyn Street on both days I was there, but in all that time we only saw one other patron. Which is a bit of a shame, as other parks I’ve frequented have been a buzzy hive of socialising (especially Upper Kedron and Hamilton, to name just two).

But the extent of my interaction over those two days was one: “G’day’. 😥

Wynnum2Looking after bearded dragons was a first for me, but I have to say that on balance I prefer them to snakes and most other non-dog, non-cat clients.

My two companions were fine to be let out and happily roam around the living area, though their choice of roaming was mostly rather limited. They did a pretty consistent job of finding a preferred spot (perched on the back of the couch, or squirrelled away under the entertainment unit) and either kept a steady watch on the human and canine, or stayed well out of sight. Continue reading

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

Gus

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

oxenford

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.