Saturday, December 29

House Sitting Website

I am registered with Housecarers and they've introduced a forum for house sitters to share information and ideas. It is one of the three house sitting sites that I communicate with because it has so many Australian opportunities.

It also had a lot of UK and some Ireland house sits, but strangely they have all disappeared. There must be another site with these details, or no one in these parts needs a house sitter. I had hoped that I might find one in the UK or Ireland for July 2008, as I may well be over there and getting some house sitting opportunity would be great.

It would not be very easy to co ordinate dates, but if I was booked in to house sit and arrangements were made over the next few months we could arrange our arrival and departure times to suit.

I'm surprised how many people do use house sitters these days - and I'm also intriqued that some folk wish to charge house sitters for caring for the house. I always think I'm good value and I'm happy to pay for phone (though I always use my own mobile/cell phone), and anything I use.

I think that it would cost a lot of money for the owner to use alternate pet care solutions.

Anyway I shall watch the sites to see what opportunities come up in July 2008.

Friday, December 28

Blogging for money course.

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Thursday, December 27

So far all is well

The cat asleep in the washing basket on top of the washing machine.


All is well with the house sit - I've kept the remaining cat in all night so I see it each morning before it runs out the door and does it's rounds of the suburb each day. Initially the cat just ignored me - in fact I think avoided me. I was OK with that, but I know that the cat runs hot and cold.

The last two days it has been very friendly - over friendly in reality, and needs to sit on my lap. It is not easy to do things while a cat is "glued" to your lap, and she doesn't take too kindly to being moved.

On Christmas morning I fed her early, and then went to my real home, then my daughter's home, and later our son's home. Opening Christmas presents and celebrating as the children had a wonderful time. I must say I was a big gobsmacked at all the toys that the children received. So much money - and really so unappreciated. Not that the children didn't enjoy opening their parcels and finding more "loot" but I can tell that some will have little use. There were so many that it must have been overwhelming for them. No sooner had they pulled the paper of one present, but another gift was thrust to them to open.

In any case it was a big morning, and we came home from the Gold Coast after midday. Nice to see the police active on the highway. We have cruise control on the car, and it "amuses" us to see other cars passing us as if we were going backwards. The police caught many. :)

Since Christmas the cat has been exceptionally friendly - irritatingly friendly. I can't seem to do anything without her trying to get on my lap.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time reading and writing - and hope to do that later this afternoon and tomorrow.

Friday, December 21

House Sitter wanted for 500 Animals.

On "A Current Affair" tonight there was a plea from a lady in Western Victoria who wanted a house sitter to look after her myriad of animals.

From memory there were 150 cats, 25 dogs, 300 chickens, various other birds and animals. Well, as much as I like animals it is not my scene. You can see the film here - click onto the Video entitled Help look after 50 pets. They left one of the 0's off. Click here.

Sorry, it is not a job for me!!!

Four fish and one cat


How difficult should this be??? The fish are behaving well! I emptied the water (the required amount only) and the cat is alive and well. Well, last I looked.

But the cat is behaving badly. Last time we were very good friends, but at the moment she shuns me. I have patted her on occasions, but she tends to keep her distance from me. Last time she enjoyed being patted by my grand daughter, but this time she won't come and see us.

I have kept the cat inside each night, and she finds somewhere in the garage. I can't see her, but I know she is there.

I went to Coochie Mudlo Island to see our Gold Coast family and celebrate a 2nd birthday. I love visiting the island. It is so quiet, and peaceful. The red earth is a challenge. The red cliffs were used by the aboriginals many years ago to paint their bodies with the red ochre.
It is a 10 minute ferry ride from the main land, and has a lovely white beach. The wind was blowing which made the sea choppy and not so nice to swim, so we just went for a walk.
It was all green and fresh on the island - unlike our suburb which has seen very little rain. The lawns are crispy dry but will refresh when we get a good rain.

Tuesday, December 18

New House Sit

Here I am at the new house sit. This is a home where I have been before. One cat (now) and 4 fish to feed and care for. I can't forget that the last time I was here the other cat went missing, so I'm keepin Fleder in at night now. Fleder doesn't mind.

I've not brought much stuff with me yet - as I have been back home frequently, but I will bring my printer and a few other things tomorrow. I hope by the end of tomorrow I'll have completed my Christmas shopping, cards etc. So it will be a big day.

On Sunday before I moved in here, I worked at the Manly markets selling flowers. While there I bought a lovely sarong. It's funny, when I saw it, there was a connection, but I didn't realise then what it was. Today I discovered it. As I was walking through the loungeroom at the house sit, I saw an identical one draped beautifully over an unusual chair.

Strange.

Saturday, December 15

Eumundi Markets


The empty markets on a Sunday

The Eumundi Markets are famous. They are one of the biggest and best presented markets that we have ever seen, and usually only open on Saturdays and Wednesdays when the village of Eumundi is overflowing with cars and people.
The products vary - wonderful clothes, crafts, food, locally grown and organic produce, jams, novelty gifts, plants, - almost anything! It is a wonderful place to shop! As it turned out we arrived in Eumundi on a Sunday, but the place was still quite busy. The cafe's and restaurants were doing good business, and the tourists and locals mingled in the park.

It was then that we discovered a permanent market. The building would just look like garages, as the doors opened up just like our garage door. When open new market stalls were revealed. These are permanent. It was good to wander round and check out the wares - very similar to those in the other market, but here they opened 7 days a week. Many of the traders would have been in the other markets and enjoy being under cover and protected from any inclement weather.

Some of the traders had dogs with them, and Kramer treated them with disdain as he walked around under our "guard".

We sat in a park after our walk around Eumundi, enjoying an icecream and watching children playing in the wonderful playground equipment under the trees.

The permanent markets behind the "real" Eumundi Markets.

Friday, December 14

Dinner

It was a great meal. Excellent company, gracious hosts and wonderful food. And wine of course.

It was quite a warm night and we sat on the deck of the school master's house, and savoured every moment. Corned beef and vegetables, and a scrumptious caramel pudding, followed by rum balls and coffee. I don't enjoy coconut so I passed on the rum balls but they did look good.

We had a lot of laughter and we all chatted like old friends. Kramer sat under the table and made new friends, and growled if any of the bigger dogs came by.

The next morning we all met for breakfast at the school master's house. One of the bigger dogs had been banished. On the morning walk he chose to roll in some fresh cow dung! Again a great breakfast - this time fresh home grown paw paw and rockmelon, home baked bread rolls and muffins, followed by eggs and bacon cooked on the BBQ.

A wonderful lazy Sunday morning breakfast. Afterwards it was departure time for us, so we loaded our goodies in the car, along with Kramer and set off for a different drive back home. We called in at the South Gympie markets and bought some avocado, but nothing else.

It was a wonderful market, but not a lot that we wanted on that day. Driving back onto the main highway we headed south until just before the famous Matilda servo, and turned left and wended our way through the quiet country road to another winery.

Dingo Creek Winery has a grand history, and is apparently famous for its Jazz and Blues Festival each year. Hundreds of people camp out on the property, and some illustrious jazz muso's move in for several days of crazy jazz! Sounds fun. I wonder if we could make it next year?

The Winery was on the market, but proposed new owners are planning to continue with the famous Festival. We had a wonderful chat with one of the owners, and had a little look around the property.

The wines were wonderful and I bought a bottle of tall elegant bottle of Muscat.

The countryside is very green as they have had much rain lately, unlike other parts of Australia.

We were back on the "old" road, winding through some of the towns in the hinterland that we had driven through many years ago, prior to the motor way being completed.

Thursday, December 13

Breakfast at Lagoon Pocket Bed and Breakfast

Tin Can Bay Marina

Tin Can Bay


Meals at Lagoon Pocket are on the swish deck of the host's house, which was the former headmaster's house of the Lagoon Pocket school. Much upgraded of course, but it does come with interesting history.

We set off for breakfast at 8.30 am - and found our hosts ready and waiting with the tabled beautifully set, with home baked bread, home made jams, some wonderful fresh sweet pineapple, fruit juices, and scrambled egg on muffin. And a pot of tea each. There were other guests in that night, but they had left early.

Kramer sat under the table - and hoped for some titbits.

After breakfast we set off to do some exploring. We had decided not to go on the Mary Valley Rattler - it had been raining, and we weren't sure what to do with Kramer. We'll save that for another day............

We drove into Gympie and through to the Tin Can Bay Road. We had been to Tin Can Bay - a long time ago. It is on the mainland - adjacent to the Military Camp where our soldeirs and others train. The road between Gympie and Tin Can Bay is surrounded on both sides by pine plantations, in various stages of their lives. In some areas there had been recent harvesting, and the piles of timber neatly stacked on the side of the road were waiting to be transported to timber mills.

Tin Can Bay is a pretty seaside village really, which has undergone many changes since we were last there. We drove around and had a look at the area, some beautiful homes, and a pathway that was popular with walkers and cyclists.

We bought some wonderful fish and chips from a shop on the waterfront. The tide was out, and there was a most pleasant faint breeze. We sat under one of the shelters with tables and seats. I had our picnic basket - so we had tablecloth and plastic plates. The meal was wonderful.

While we were at Tin Can Bay we visited the House Boat office, to get some information on hiring a houseboat one day. We have done this on many occasions on the Gold Coast Broadwater, and would love to take one out from Tin Can Bay as the fishing there is excellent.

On the way back we took a detour to a Winery. Sweet Water Winery was quite a distance from the main road, and some of the road was gravel, but we kept going. When we arrived we heeded the notice "Toot on Arrival." We went inside to be greeted by Tony, the owner, who is a very funny guy originally from Hungary, who had us in fits of laughter as he told his life story to us! Very funny man! We tried a number of his wines, and left with a bottle of his fabulous Port.


Eventually we got back into Gympie and made the short trip back to Lagoon Pocket and prepared for the evening meal, dining with the hosts and the other guests.








Warm welcome

Our hosts at Lagoon Pocket were most welcoming and greeted us and Kramer with enthusiasm, and showed us to our suite.

Our suite was large (they are probably all the same size, but we only saw inside "ours". There was an entrance vestibule with small fridge, and coffee making facilities, wine glasses and two bottles of the house wine.

Inside the fridge were two slices of very tasty
scroggin. We'd had pizza for lunch at Imbil, so we were happy to snack on cheese, biscuits etc and a glass or two of wine. Kramer was quite funny. He was a little insecure for a while, and it took him a while to get used to the slippery floor, and the new surroundings.

As the sun went down at the end of the day, he stood up and with his tail erect, and growling he advanced to the sliding door. I wish I had my camera, but I'd have had to be quick. It was all over in seconds. As he got closer to the glass door it was obvious to us that he was growing at his own reflection and when almost to the door, he let forth an almighty roar and sprung at the "other dog" only to bang his face on the door, and realise his mistake! We did laugh! Poor Kramer.

He settled down though several times during the night we could hear his footsteps on the floor. But he was very well behaved.

Monday, December 10

Away for a few days

Not house sitting, but visiting a Bed and Breakfast establishment. I know only too well the challenges of taking time away from home even for short periods, when one has a pet. We have in the past been very happy to leave our precious Kramer at the kennels, but (a) he doesn't like it and (b) last time he got very sick.

So I am always on the lookout for quality establishments, with reasonable tarrif, that also welcomes canine guests, and a few weeks ago spied an article in the Saturday paper, and quickly booked. We had decided to go away for our 40th wedding anniversary.

And so it was that on Friday last, with car packed and Kramer strapped into the back seat that we headed north to Gympie. Well, just short of Gympie actually.

On this occasion instead of going all the way on the main highway, I had suggested that we go off the beaten track somewhat. So we left the highway just before Nambour and drove past the old "Big Pineapple" which for many years was a very popular tourist attraction. In recent years it has lost it's "shine" and looks like it needs a revamp. We didn't see as many tourists there as we recall from our past visits to the area.

In Nambour we bought a few supplies at Woolworths, before heading off again. On the wrong road as it turns out. So we went quite a detour almost to Noosa, and back through Bli Bli. I recall going to the Bli Bli Castle years ago with the children.

Back onto the highway for a short distance before heading off towards Kenilworth, but turning right onto the Mary Valley Highway, and up through Imbil, Kandanga, Amamoor, and Dagun on our way to Lagoon Pocket.

Each of the little towns is rather quaint. Small town with a few shops, and people who obviously love living a quiet life. We had lunch at Imbil, before heading north.

When we approached Amamoor we were stunned to discover that there had been a storm two nights earlier, and the huge winds had brought down hundreds of trees that were strewn along the side of the roads, and in paddocks all over the place. At Amamoor the roof of the local hall had been peeled off, and all around were workmen and the sound of chain saws.

The storm had cut a swathe right through, even to Lagoon Pocket.

The Mary River and surrounding area is the site of a proposed huge dam that will inundate a huge area including some of the small towns in the area. There were signs all over the place protesting at the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam. "No dam" signs were everywhere, and signs indicating the water level should the dam proceed. I must say we were disturbed by it.

What the community must be going through as they fight to maintain their homes, properties and lifestyle. Very sad.

Eventually we arrived at our destination- the very lovely Lagoon Pocket Bed and Breakfast

.

Friday, December 7

Some deep thoughts

Yesterday I met with a friend whose wife had died tragically and unexpectedly while working in the office of a community leader. I had met his wife several times, but knew very little about her. I did not attend the funeral - in fact it was some distance from here, and I was unavailable.

He gave me a copy of his eulogy, as well as a copy of the order of service, which was wonderful - dotted with colour photos of her, and their family. He's now left to care for himself, and of course as it is only a short time since her death, it is pretty raw for him.

As a family they were caring for her parents, which he will happily continue to do. But he feels ill equipped to do so. He loved his wife very much and it will be a continuation of his love for her, that he will maintain the caring role of his in-laws.

I am an ex nurse, and in my last nursing role was an aged care nurse, and educator for aged care workers. I met one of my students in a restaurant last week. He was wearing a council worker uniform. Seems he found bus driving more financially lucrative and he didn't have to bear the burden of nurses who were less than professional in their care of the elderly.

But he did tell me that he used his nursing skills, when he recently returned to India to care for his ailing mother. He taught his sister to change the sheets on the bed with their mother still in the bed and he laughed as he told me of his memory of the lesson in which I showed the students how to do it. He valued the lessons I gave him as he was able to pass on this knowledge to his sister, and be of great assistance in the last days of his mother's life.

So many people get "thrown" in to the care of elderly people - and most are ill prepared. I found a great website which should be of assistance to anyone with elderly family members, and it has a great forum for discussion about issues.

What impressed me is that in the UK they use terminology that is different to ours, and I like the sound of it. They talk of a care home. Is that the same as our "nursing homes"? The words "care home" conjure up something a lot more pleasant than "aged care unit" or "nursing home."

In any case I will direct my recently widowed friend to the website. It has great information that I am sure will be helpful to him in some way.

How did we ever manage with the wonderful resources of the internet?

Wednesday, December 5

A week to go

Well, it is just over a week before I start my next house sit. It will be for a long period - about 4 or 5 weeks I think it works out, and I do hope to get some writing done, even though Christmas and New Year is in the midst of the period.

We had a summer storm today - heavy rain in parts, but not much here, but the humidity is excessive. I'm glad the house that I live in and the one I'm looking after are both air conditioned, so if we have more of the same weather, I'll not notice it too much.

There are heavy rains forecast for summer, but after such a prolonged drought, we will just have to wait and see.

I remember years ago when we first moved here, this hot and humid weather was common at this time of the year, as were severe tropical storms, flooding rains etc. Climate has changed, of that I have no doubt.

Some pundits are predicting flooding rains this summer.

Anyway next week, I'll get myself organised to drive the 2 kms to the house sit.

Meanwhile this weekend we are off to a place called Lagoon Pocket Bed and Breakfast, just south of Gympie. We are taking Kramer and his new furry friends at Lagoon Pocket are looking forward to meeting him. He's not usually friendly with other dogs, so we shall see.

There are lots of house sit opportunities at this time of the year, but I'm busy. I am booked and looking forward to it!

Monday, December 3

Gambling

I love a little flutter on the pokies, and I love visiting the Casino. Now let me explain. I can't recall the last time I put more than $5 into a poker machine. It is usually what gold coin I have in my purse at the time and win lose or draw, I'm soon gone. I have managed a modest win or two at my last few visits, but I'm hardly a regular. The Casino? Well, there is one, the Treasury Casino in the city - but it would be years since I went. It is a wonderful old historic building and the restaurants are fabulous, but it would be years since my last visit. I'm hardly addicted to gambling!

In the last year or so, our laws had changed so that hotels could offer alcohol and poker machine gambling from 7 am. Crazy? I would think so. Anyone who NEEDS to drink or gamble at that hour of day has a problem in my book, though I don't overlook those whose working life is not 9 - 5 and just might benefit from this long opening hours.

Anyway, we are seeing a flurry of changes - the very government (State ) that relaxed the rules, has now chosen to reduce the opening hours of these places - at least the hotels. The Casino is on a 24 hour licence anyway, and I guess that is fair enough. Perhaps it is because NOW we have a woman Premier! Smarter thinking.

But it has lead me to investigate on-line gambling. In Australia we do have some online gambling opportunities, but in the US and Europe there is much more interest in on-line gambling. Apparently there are more than 3000 on line casinos. Amazing. Isn't it clever - no need to leave home. Just visit an online casino!


Would some be a bit "shifty"? I would think so. How do you find out which ones? How do you compare such facilities? Research, research, research. Then trial and error, I guess.

There is a website that reviews online gambling sites - Pro 360.com.
I think US and UK gamblers would find this helpful. I must say it is a bit overwhelming for me - I've never heard of all the games that are played and I think I'll stick to the poker machines. I do enjoy watching the activities on the casino floor - quite fascinating.

So, you don't need to go to a pub early in the morning for your gambling. Just check out the websites, especially those that review the online gambling "opportunities."

Meanwhile back in Oz - I'm impressed to see a woman take such strong control over the gambling in our state.

Saturday, December 1

That's it! I MUST have a spare!

Camera that is. While I await the machinations of the insurance company, I will purchase a lesser model, just so that I always have a spare.

My husband won't lose his easily. He seldom takes it out! I am constantly using mine. So a spare is essential. I spoke about doing just that when the old one broke down. This time I will do it.

Today is the Art on Florence, and I will go and after I am no longer needed I'll go to Harvey Norman at Carindale who have a Nikon on special. Today is my grand son's birthday. I will have to take a photo. Tomorrow I am taking our flowers to the Manly Markets. A photo or two will be taken. Must be!

And next week we go away. The thought of NOT having my camera for these events is to much to bear.

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