Saturday, March 31

At home for a while

Nearly every day in my inbox are wonderful house sit opportunities around Queensland - and if I check the website for Housecarers I find a lot more. It is only dream material at the moment - but if a few things/when a few things come to fruition in my life, I hope to do house sits around Australia, and perhaps in the UK.

There have been some good ones just out of London, and from time to time in Ireland. At the moment though I can only dream.

I found it quite amazing that so many people are seeking house sitters, but when you think of the economics of it - it is a good option for people with pets, or swimming pools, gardens, and the like if they wish to go away for a long period.

A dog in kennels can cost upwards of $20 a day - so if you have to two dogs and going away for 4 weeks, you will be up for over $1000 - so to get a reliable house sitter, the savings are obvious.

Sunday, March 25

Farm responsibilities

One of the things that I keep in mind is that we have a Gerbera Farm and that I have responsibilities as a member of the family team. We pick flowers three mornings a week - and even from Lamb Island I manage to get to the farm by 7 am to do my share of picking. It does require an early morning wakeup - but that's no problem. I can catch the ferry at 5.50 am and get to the mainland, get into my car in the secure car park, and be at the farmby 7 am.

It is always something that I have to think about when I arrange house sit duties.

These flowers are from a pick on Saturday 24th, March, 2007.

Wednesday, March 21

Booked for two more house sits

I'm booked for two more house sits - but have a couple of months at home. I'm hoping that the renovations on our home will proceed and in fact perhaps be completed by the time I finish the second house sit. It is my wish to move out of this house - and put tenants in here, and buy another house and do it up. There are a couple of houses on Lamb Island that would suit - I can see me staying in the house sit, and hubby and the dog staying at the house while it is renovated. (I no longer wish to live in a construction zone.)

As it is at home now we have no front steps - the builder removed them on Monday, and paybe tomorrow (Thursday) he will get to start rebuilding. There is also the back deck to be completed within the next few days, and then the guttering. I hate it though - having to think where I am going to go to get out of the house so that I don't plummet down the hole - where the stairs or deck used to be.

(Actually we've deadlocked the door so we can't accidentally walk out of it.)

Hubby is keen to buy and renovate houses, but I am no so sure. He doesn't actually get moving on the project. I have to hassle him.

Anyway, we will wait and see.

Wednesday, March 14

Decisions, Decisions

Well, I will have a few decisions to make before the end of the week. Two house sits and I think I can manage them both. As well, I'm looking at a job that will keep me busy three days a week.

I will have to fund the TESOL course, so I can do that - and do everything else. We are looking at selling our house and maybe our investment property.

As I said, a few decisions to be made in a fairly short time.

Tuesday, March 13

More Job offers

I was contacted by the owners of the Lamb Island house, wanting me to look after their house from July for 3 months, and then I have a call from someone wanting me to care for their house and pets for 7 weeks - but the dates clash I think.

And I have an appointment this week about going to Vietnam to teach - so I have some decisions to be made this week.

As well, some interesting developments are occurring with my writing - isn't it always the same - either a drought or a flood? So many decisions to make!!!

I'll get overwhelmed and stressed about all the things that are happening. As well, I've decided to do something with an organisation called Club Freedom. It is something I was introduced to by my friend Barbara, who lives in Hong Kong, and I signed up last year. I've done nought with it - in part because I was so sick for several months.

My philosophy is that I need to look at all options for generating income because I am not getting any younger. For an investment of some $US200 - once only payment - you join a Travel Rewards Program, and one gets rewards (travel vouchers and money) for introducing others.

I joined last year and have watched it grow - quite amazing. Anyway I am going to spend about 5 hours a week working on it. My plan is to use some of the financial rewards to help women who are disadvantaged. I've always wanted to do this - and I guess I have in the past by trading my TIME, but hopefully I will be able to do more.

Sunday, March 11

Back to the "real" world

I certainly miss the peace and quiet of island living - and I've only spent two nights at home. The busy street traffic is already annoying me, but I've got other plans. I'll stay at home for a while, and investigate the Teaching English in Vietnam program, and do some workshops on Blogging.

As well I'm looking at a program to help women - I was impressed by Dympna Buholt and her Wildly Wealth Women program - and I shall be joining that too, but I have something else too, that I think will be more exciting. Certainly less expensive, and more rewarding.

I went to a presentation on the Gold Coast yesterday - for something that I looked at last year. I'm impressed with the program and it is low cost, and exciting for those of us who need more money and holidays. How exciting. Click here to get more information.

Looking forward to an exciting 2007 - in more ways than one.

Friday, March 9

My last day on Lamb Island

It is my last day on Lamb Island - the owners come back today, and I shall return home. Bella the dog is depressed - she's watched me tidying up, vacuuming and going to my suitcase. The latter is something that Bella picks up on and she doesn't like it.

It rained heavily overnight, so everything looks green and fresh. I remembered to put the bins out for the rubbish man (I'd forgotten last week), but they are both empty now. I've sprayed the orchids with a mist of water, and I've watered the other plants that didn't get their helping of rain.

I don't have another house sit to go to at this point - though there are a few "in the wind" as they say. In any case I have an appointment next week regarding going to Vietnam to teach English, so I'm not ready to make any commitments to house sit for a while.

The builder is due at our house next week - I'd been hoping that he would have done it while I was away - so there will be a bit more chaos in my life.

I do like Lamb Island - except for the mozzies and sand flies that have really taken their toll on me - I look like I have some strange disease!

But - I'd be back if I get a good offer.

Goodbye Lamb Island - for now..................................

Thursday, March 8

Second last day

It was somewhat of a miserable morning - with a little rain, but by afternoon it had cleared up.

The day before yesterday on my walk I noticed workmen preparing ground in what was essentially a vacant lot. I thought little of it until I drove back from the ferry last night in the dark and found the main road on the island blocked. Two pieces of a house, obviously brought over on big trucks on the barge were blocking the road, and another driver and I had to find our way past the trucks and their load.

As it was raining early this morning and the sky was black to the north, I chose to drive to get my morning paper and miss my walk, and there on what had been a vacant block yesterday was a house - complete with curtians in the windows. Quitre incredible really.

The two big trucks were waiting down at the ramp for the barge - so I guess the guys had worked through the night.

I guess it will take a few days before the plumbing and electricity is connected, but it should be liveable within a short space of time. Amazing.

It was a quiet day for me - a little tidying up, more writing, more music, more enjoying the peaceful surrounds of Lamb Island.

(Incidentally I was told the island was named after a Mr Lamb - so no sheep!)

Long Day on the mainland

It rained nearly all night on Tuesday night - and the wind blew making for some very strange noises around the house that kept waking me. I managed to get up early and do my chores before catching the 5.50 am ferry to the mainland, and as I got off a heavy rain show drenched me. (I'm not one to use umbrellas much as I don't have enough hands!)

I made it to the car and pulled in to get petrol at Victoria Point before heading to the farm. Some very beautiful flowers! Afterwards we went to a function for International Women's Day where this very savvy lady told her story - how in just a few years she managed to go from almost broke to quite wealthy buying real estate. She's got a business now called Wildly Wealthy Women - what a good name!

She was quite an inspirational speaker and I'm hoping to get her to speak at our local women's group.

Wildy Weathy Women Website

I had a meeting at night and left early hoping to catch a ferry in good time. Ooops. I was just 60 seconds too late - reaching the jetty just as it pulled out. And I had to wait another hour for the next one. It was raining all the way to the ferry terminal so I had thought it unwise to drive too fast. I'm glad I made it safely but annoyed that I missed the ferry. Oddly enough the hour wait didn't seem that long, and I was soon back at the house. Bella was very glad to see me!

A looooong day.

Tuesday, March 6

My doggy friend

This is the little darling that I have in my care at this house sit. A sweet little thing, that needs taking downstairs (she doesn't do stairs down!) every couple of hours for a wee. She's pretty good, but loves playing tug of war with her rope. Loves a cuddle.
I am happy to care for smaller dogs - I don't mind walking the dogs, and have done, but this little soul is not good at walking!
She's a Bichon Frise. Cute as a button with a beaut personality.

Afternoon walk

I'd made arrangements to visit the Lamb Island B and B - I like B and B's and have stayed in a few, so I was interested to see what this one was like. It is a separate two bedroomed cottage on the main road - Lucas Drive, with the owner's home behind it.

It overlooks the main road, and from various vantage spots, one can see the sea - either north towards Stradbroke Island, or east to Macleay Island. Well, you get a peek through the trees.

It's a neat little cottage with two bedrooms - one on either side of the bathroom. It is a great spot for a few quiet nights away. No children or pets allowed.

The feature of this B and B is the spa bath - which is very private, though perhaps off putting if you don't realise that it is only one way glass. You can see out - but no one can see in!

There are no restaurants on Lamb Island, but you'll find dining facilities on Russell or Macleay Islands - and your hosts will give you the details. (See post about the Blue Parrot Cafe.) There's no pool on the island - except that at the B and B, you are only a few minutes walk from the swimming enclosure - so you can swim safely in the sea without worrying about sharks.
I'm told the hospitality on a Friday night is exceptional too!

One can have a fully cooked breakfast, and there are cooking facilities for your other meals if you wish to cook. Your hosts are Col and Kay McInnes, and you can phone them on Queensland (07) 3409 4575. E-mail:
Click here - for a link to a website that has more information about the property and a slide show of photos so you can see it all.

Monday, March 5

Lunch at the Blue Parrot

I almost forgot to report on our Sunday activities. Probably the biggest adventure of the day was our trip to Macleay Island. The island is only 5 minutes by ferry from Lamb Island - in fact at low tide you could walk, but get very muddy legs!

So, within minutes we were at the Blue Parrot Restaurant and Cafe - which is only minutes from the jetty - up a fairly steep hill, but manageable. We had booked so were shown to our table - and initially forgotten. We saw two other tables of diners arrive and we saw them receive the menu's and so forth, but we were just forgotten. Until Lizzie walked to the counter and reminded the staff that we were there.

Oops - apology. We both had a glass of bubbly - Five Judges, and then ordered a dish of prawns and calamari with salad. The meal was very good - without being exceptional. The dessert though was great. Actually a great list of yummy desserts.
Then a slow walk back down to the ferry and a short trip back to the island.

We were planning to go for a walk - but the mozzies were pretty vicious - that's our excuse anyway.

Check out the Blue Parrot website.

Monday - picking day

Lizzie and I had an early start - had a quick bite for breakfast and caught the ferry at 10 to 6 am. On the mainland I drove to the kennels to pick up Kramer, before dropping Lizzie at home and then taking Kramer home before I got to the flower farm. Phew!

Lizzie took this photo with my camera this morning as we waited for the ferry.

The flowers were wonderful this morning and we were finished early. I went back home and did a few things and then left around 11 am. I was back on the island by noon.

It is hot and sticky - most unpleasant, but I have few things to do this afternoon - will go for a walk, and then keep on writing.

Sunday, March 4

Sunday on Lamb

We slept in a little - but them up to writing, breakfast. We pondered walking but it was too late, in that it was very hot, so we decided to drive to get the paper. I had flowers and cuttings for a lady on the main road. I'd tried to drop them to her the day before, but she was out. I tried again, but she was out, but her neighbour called out to me, and I gave them to her.

Lizzy and I went for a drive around the island - and called in at the Pioneer House - the original farm house on the island, built in 1924, andthe Lamb Island bowls club.

Then we went to have a look at the Macleay Island Bed and Breakfast - there was someone staying there so we didn't see inside, but we did chat with the lady and collected brochures, and made arrangements to call back tomorrow - when the place is empty.

Lizzy G visits

Saturdays are always picking days at the Gerbera Farm, so I was on the early ferry. Whilst waiting for the ferry to arrive, I got chatting with one of the local gents, who was taking his 4 boys to Karragarra to swim in the enclosure, and he commented about living in "paradise." I've got to say, the view and the peace at 6 am was wonderful. I commented that I didn't live on the island - I told him I was looking after a friends house and dog. Apparently he is looking for a house sitter.

So we chatted for a while - I've given him my card, so will wait to hear from him.

We picked the flowers, and prepared them and I delivered some to the Plaza. And then I went home - to my real home - showered, changed, and collected a few things before leaving to pick up Lizzy G.

I've known Lizzy for a while and indeed house sit for her earlier this year.

Lizzy G was going to be my weekend companion on Lamb.

We eventually arrived on the Island around 2 pm. Lizzy and I have chatted and laughed. We had dinner (I broiled the steak - it was a bit tough!) but all up we've had a lot of fun, done some writing and editing and generally enjoyed life on the island.

Friday, March 2

Mudcrab for dinner

There was a knock on the door late this afternoon - it was a man I see most mornings walking his two dogs with his wife. We often chat. He's asked me to join him for Scrabble - apparently he plays professionally. Scary thought - and I'm sure I have no chance of even giving him a good run for his money.

He had been given a mud crab - and he thought it was too small for two people so offered it to me. I think there is a big chance that it is undersize but I didn't argue. So it's mud crab tonight. Yum.

Macleay Island

I'd been told about the Bowls Club on Macleay Island - it supposedly has $5 lunches. There's a courtesy busy from the jetty to the Bowls Club - you need only phone to let them know to pick you up. So I did.

The ferry trip is only 5 minutes and cost me 70c each way. The bus was at the jetty and I had a commentary as we travelled to the Bowls Club. The Bowls Club has a wonderful location on the waterfront with views back to the mainland and Coochiemudlo Island.

Despite the signs everywhere that it was $5 for the lunch - it had gone up to $6 and there was a limited menu. I chose fish and chips. It came without salad - I guess one could have ordered salad. I didn't like the taste of the fish, but the chips were great. I put $5 in the poker machines and came out with none of my money. As usual.

The bus took me back to the shopping area and I had a look around. There's a post office, a marine shop, real estate agency and a restaurant called The Blue Parrot Cafe and Licenced Restaurant. I read the menu which was on the window and it sounds nice.

Next time I go to Macleay I'll try The Blue Parrot - it is only a few minutes walk from the ferry, in a lovely location.

Another day on the island

It rained last night - in all the time I have spent on the island it was the heaviest rain I've experienced. At least the garden got a good watering, and this morning the skies are blue. Sort of reminds me of Camelot. Doesn't it only rain at night there?

I went on my morning walk to the kiosk for my morning paper this morning. The horse I saw at Old Megan's Farm is gone - and another white horse has appeared fenced in a paddock in the middle of the island. I wonder if it is the same horse - but it is much whiter. Maybe the rain washed it clean?

On the way back I met a lady - she lives in a house with a wonderful garden and the house has it's name on it. "Flower Power." She's lived on the island for many years and has a wonderful tropical garden. I stopped and chatted, and will probably give her some Gerberas and Heliconia plants tomorrow. I'll see if I have time to get them ready.

I'm going to go to Macleay Island today - it is only a short ferry ride and there is afree bus that takes one to the Bowls Club at the north of the island so you get to have a look around as well. It's $5 lunches today too.

Thursday, March 1

Milo the Dachshund

On my return trip with my daily newspaper, I met up with a lovely lady who lives on the island. She lives in a house I have greatly admired as I walked past. The sort of house that looks, (from the outside) like one I could live in. She seems to live alone - has grown up family, and loves the island life. She told me about the $5 lunches on Macleay Island - and how there is a free bus to the Bowls Club for the lunches. I'll perhaps go tomorrow. As a treat if I do what I want to do today.

When I passed the house with the dachshund the owner came to the fence to speak with me, and I got to pat the lovely Milo. He's supposed to be a miniature dachshund, but at 6 months he's quite a big dog, and as he was from a litter of 11 I wonder if he really is a mini. Lovely dog though - reddish colour and fabulous personality.

He named the dog Milo - which is rather nice as we had a Milo once.

I wonder if I really could live here on a more permanent basis?

Island life

It is such a treat to sleep in a little - I'm usually up early - at home woken by the incessant traffic noise passing our house. Here there is very little traffic of course, and it is a pleasure to wake up to the birds and not the traffic.

It is overcast and somewhat muggy - there is supposed to be rain, but so far none whilst I have been here. There was some apparently early yesterday when I was on the mainland.

I went for my early morning walk - the 1 km to the shop to get the morning paper, and the 1 km back. It is only 3 months since I was here, but I noted some changes.

I didn't see the old lady Flo, and I thought perhaps she was not on the island, but found out later that she was. Must have got up later. And the couple who walk their ageing dogs - I missed them too, but they are still here on the island.

I noticed a few homes that had "for sale" signs up, no longer have them. A new home is being built, and I noticed the horse - which I call the red horse - was not in its paddock. The paddock has all grown over - long grass, and the fence has been removed. I was pondering this when I saw the horse in "Old Megan's Farm" - that's what it says on the gate. I call it the red horse because it is a grey white colour in reality but with the red dirt of this area, it looks a strange red colour. I wonder what it was like just after it had been hosed down?

There's a cute house with a gabled roof - I've heard wild domestic arguments coming from that house several time before but it was quiet today. Perhaps they have left the island.

The tavern and kiosk which I was told last year would be be started by February, is now delayed and will start building mid year.

A house that I had admired last time has had some changes - a nice fence around it and a great deck. There are two dogs in the yard - one a blue heeler, and the other a dachshund - my favouite dog. As I walked past he ran to the fence, but when I started to open my camera, he turned tail and ran. I spoke to his owner later.