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

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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

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

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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 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] 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!

Continue reading

[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.

Cairns

And pretty much stayed there for two weeks!

Continue reading

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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