Tuesday, December 30

More house sitting to come?

My time in China is almost over. I have just over two weeks left here before I return to Australia. At the moment my only house sitting job is in September or October, so I will have to look and see what is available.

There are two house sits - one just north of London and another in Ireland which would suit me - but I cannot access the website from here, so will have to wait and see if they are still availabel when I get back to Australia.

If I was REALLY KEEN to do either of them I would of course find a way to access the additional information I need, but at the moment I am not sure what lies ahead of me.

I have some writing to do, and there is a possibility I will be working with another colleague to get more foreign teachers to China from Australia. I have been working on two books that focus on China. One is about helping Chinese students to get to know their foreign teachers and improving their English and the other is a novel about a Chinese girl. Much work needs to be done on both of these and I also need to work on the Irish story.

So what 2009 has in store for me I do not know, but I do hope to enjoy some house sitting in the UK or Ireland at some stage.

I love travelling - so I will have to wait and see what I can manage in the coming months

Monday, October 27

House sitting to be come more popular during recession!

With the world finances in disarray and people trying to find ways to get good value for their depleting funds, it is a good time to look at house sitting as a way to get a low cost holiday.

Despite the financial woes of the world people will still want to take holidays, or still need to travel on business. They will still need their pets and their house cared for while away so gret opportunities should arise for those who are free to do some house sitting.

Even if the house sit is in your own region, it is as good as a holiday. If it is in your locale the travel costs are low and you can keep and you will be close to your friends.

If it is some distance away you will only have to be concerned about your travel costs - and you could have a great holiday.

There are some great venues available - even overseas if you wish!

House sitting is a saving for all - a true win/win experience. A good house sitter is a great help to people who do not wish to leave their pets at kennels, or who want their garden and house cared for. I enjoy "getting away" and exploring new locations and I don't mind if it is not far from home.

Sunday, October 19

Updates from Housecarers

I am pleased to see on my daily emails from Housecarers.com that there are new opportunities opening in 2009. I will complete my current constract in China just after the middle of January, so I will be looking for some house sitting in Australia and/or Ireland by the new year.

I have not worked out wha to do yet, but I watch the emails with interest and know that there will be opportunties for me if I keep watching the website. Housecarers.

Monday, October 6

Signed Up Again

There is little chance of house sitting while I am living in China, but I still hope to continue my house sitting when this contract is over, though I may just go to do some other teaching in Vietnam. We will see.

But my subscription to Housecarers.com was up. Should I continue with it? I decided to pay up. It was not a lot of money and maybe early in 2009 I will be free to do some housesitting.

I do enjoy getting the daily updates on the available house sits, and I do look closely at the UK and Ireland offers too. I think I will do that one day.

Meanwhile it is teaching English in China that I do - and dream. Winter is approaching here, and I am going to purchase a down jacket that hopefully will keep me warm while here, and be useful when I go to colder climates in Europe. Hardly need it in Brisbane.

Tuesday, August 12

House Sit Dreams

It is less than three weeks before I head back to China. Obviously I am not looking for house sit opportunities at the moment but I am still a member of Housecarers and will maintain my membership.

I will be looking for house sits in England or Ireland for next year. One needs to be keeping a look out months in advance. Some folk organise their request many months in advance, while others have needs at short notice.

Daily I receive an email with offers for the regions that are of interest to me. Today there were four. Oh, how I have to just dream. There is one position near Bowen in North Queensland which is for two months, and is right on the beach. Now that would be a dream job for me.

There was also a short term one in Ireland - but not the area that interests me most. But I can still dreaM.

Certainly my house sitting days are not over - just on hold for a while.

I was in a hospital waiting room today, chatting with a lady who is a great traveller. Her and her husband have backpacked and cycled around places such as South America, China and India I think. They just set out and travel - whereever the urge takes them.

Maybe I should have started my travelling much earlier - but like other folk, marriage, children, work, responsibility etc gets in the way. Let's hope that it is not too late for me to do some more travelling.

Bring it on!

Monday, August 11

Neglect of blog

I was rather embarrassed to see that I had not posted here for many months. In part it was because I was not house sitting and was in fact living in China, teaching at a college there.
In part it was because a few weeks after arriving in China my computer "crashed" and I struggled with a Chinese computer and eventually bought a new one, and I've struggled with that for much of the time.

I have not forsaken my love of house sitting.

In fact, after 4 1/2 months teaching in China I returned to Australia - after a week in Shanghai and another week in Singapore, and arrived back in Brisbane on July 7th. Just in time to do some more house sitting.

My friends P and L were on their way to a wonderful holiday with a week in the Mediterranean and another week plus in Ireland.

And so it was that I did not go HOME but to P and L's home not far away - so I spent quite a bit of time between the two addresses. The cat Fleder was well behaved - except for the last few days. I wonder if Fleder knew that my tenure was coming to an end and that the folks were returning home?

I like the peace and tranquility of that address. But this time it was mid winter and I found it quite cold. I love sitting out the back of the house, but it was both too cold and often too wet. We had a higher than usual rainfall during that period, so it somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for being there.

But on the other hand there were some pluses. I could do/eat what I liked. I had lost 13 kgs in China and was pleased with my new body and very keen NOT to gain weight, but I know it is hard back here.

I had intended to ride my bicycle - but it wasn't repaired until AFTER I finished the house sit.

I am due to return to China on August 31st, so there is more house sitting for me this year. I will continue my membership with the House sitting website as it is my intention to house sit in UK next year if possible.

Tuesday, February 26

Searching for a business in China

What would we do with the Internet these days? So many of us have created online businesses and I'm often asked about payment online. There are many options but one worth looking at for those who want to organise for online payments and but check here for shopping cart software that really works.
While I am in China I will be looking for some products to sell on line when I get back to Australia, so shall be very keen to set up business then.

Thursday, February 14

My house sitting will resume

I have at least two more jobs to do when I return from China. I really won't look at much on the house sitting sites for a while though I do enjoy dreaming of the possibilities. I really am looking at some options in the UK and Ireland for later in the year.

I am surprised to learn how many people are house sitting and come across them from time to time. There are some wonderful opportunities to travel while house sitting especially in Australia, but that is not on my agenda for the timebeing. One day I will do it, perhaps.

I have had extra ordinary experiences though.

Last weekend at the Manly markets I bumped into a lady whose house was the first I looked after. She has a wonderful poodle, and he was with her and it seemed that he recognised me. The dog jumped all over me. He was quite excited to see me.

I told her that I was going to China, and she told me that her husband also goes to China on a regular basis. He is a lawyer that has business connections with China. I met up with him later on, and had a chat. Now I don't expect to need any legal assistance in China, but I'm lucky to have this contact as he speaks Mandarin too.

Quite funny really.

Monday, February 11

To Pay or not to pay?

This is a question that comes up from time to time when discussing house sitting. I have never been paid to house sit, but I have thought about it.

One of the things that I think should come into consideraton is why the house sit is being done. I have done it in the past because I have wanted the peace of living by myself, with plenty of time and space to continue my writing. So it suited me. And I only accept jobs that suit me. I have not paid for any utilities, and see no reason why I should do this. I do not use the phone of the owners, preferring to use my own mobile (cell) phone. This incidentally costs me more - but I don't wish to run up a bill on the owners phone.

I am aware that the owner would have to pay a considerable sum of money for the care of pets, garden, the security of the house, and the collection of mail which think are the main benefits to them of having a house sitter. I've not been requried to do anything else, but I know there are some housesitting jobs where there are other expectations of the house sitter.

I am aware that by taking on the house sitting position, I have restricted my own movements - and if I had to go somewhere for business or family (I do have considerable family in South Australia - including elderly parents) so if an emergency arrives, I have to make suitable arrangements - especially for the pets.

So, is it a fair deal that I or a house sitter do it for zero payment? It depends.

But let's look at this.

To put a cat or dog into kennels or cattery, can cost between $20 - $35 a day I think, so if there is one pet, I save the family over $200, and if there are two pets, the saving might be $400. Secruity of the house - I don't know what you'd have to pay for a daily/frequent visit - I'd think a couple of hundred dollars. Watering of garden? Could be $20 to $40 a week?

The utilities - power. Sure I use a little power - but much of the power is used by fridge, freezer etc that must remain on. I'd suspect that the power I would use (as I cook little), rarely use airconditioning if it is there, but perhaps I could use $10 power per week. OK, say $20.

Also I have a house - where I still have to pay for my utilities - though they are less when I am not at home.

So with one pet, secruity and watering of garden, I save the family some $400 a week. Perhaps to pay me $100 would be fair? Anyway, I'm not asking for money. But it is something for the home owner and sitter to consider.

Now the above is for short house sits - up to 6 or 8 weeks. What if the house sit was longer? A year? It depends. It depends on what the house sitter is expected to do, and why the house sitter is doing a house sit for a long period. I think there is more responsibility for the house sitter, and more restrictions. (Having to stay put for a year is a big committment!) However, if the house sit afforded the sitter a long holiday in a great property, or a place to stay while renting out your own home, or building or similar, where you are actually saving money because of the house sit, you need to weigh up the benefits to you, and the benefits to the house sitter.

I do think ANY house sitter who has any tasks (caring for animals, watering the garden, collecting mail, security, deserves some small payment. I know that most house sitters have given me a gift - I have been left a bottle of wine, chocolates etc, which I appreciate and sometimes a lovely gift from one of the countries they visited, and I appreciate that.

So that both parties benefit.

Thursday, February 7

A new house sit

I have another short house sit when I return from China. In the lovely house with the wicked cat. I'm just going to have to see if the dates really work, but so far it looks good.

And there was a brilliant house sit in Ireland that came into my mailbox today. Maybe next year!

Sunday, February 3

Updating my availability

My house sitting career is on hold - I go to China in less than three weeks so I am updating my details on the two websites that I am registered as a house sitter.

I'm impressed with Houseminders - and they have some interesting house sits for European countries, so I've listed my availability from July 08, when I expect I will be back in Australia.

My husband and I were planning to go to Europe in July - but that is probably going to be delayed until later in the year as he is considering a knee replacement - as it happens, while I am away. (I don't think this is a wise move really - as we have a highset (two level) house, and a dog to be cared for, and at best he will be on crutches with quite a few months of physiotherapy, and he won't be able to drive. Rather improbably to me!

I'm committed to China - in more ways than one - so not sure what we will decide in the next few weeks. Perhaps I'll need to "escape" to Europe in July - a long house sit in Ireland would be great.

I'm also registered on HouseCarers - so I will update my availability there too. Both sites offer house sits in Europe.

Thursday, January 17

It is all over...............

What a week that was! As well as a whole raft of things to do, including researching the possibility of going to China to teach, I had the TESOL course to do. For three nights (Wed, Thu, Fri) it was 6 pm to 10 pm in the class room, and on the Saturday and Sunday a marathon 9 am to 6 pm and there was little spare time.

It was very interesting and fascinating - so glad I did it. I met a great bunch of folk at Teach International and feel a lot more comfortable about taking on the teaching position in China. I wonder where it will all lead me as there are wnderful opportunities all around the world. But - one at a time.

As well as doing the course I had to pack up my things at the house sit, do the housework and move out - ensuring that all the animals were alive and well. It was 10 pm on the Sunday night that I locked the cat inside, switched off all the lights, and departed. The cat was not amused about being locked in - but I needed to know that it could not wander off.

I returned home and collapsed. Exhausted. Happy.

Thursday, January 10

Only a few days to go....................

I wonder if this is my last house sit for a while? I have only three sleeps to go here, and a pretty rigourous program for the next four days. I am in the TESOL Course for three nights from 6 pm to 10 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday it goes from 9 am to 6 pm, and on Sunday I have to finish my clean up and move out of the house. Sounds like a very early morning on Sunday!

As it turns out my opportunities to do house sitting will be diminished. If I am teaching in China for a few months and then travelling to UK in July there's no opportunity to house sit and I don't think China would be a good place for house sitting (but I guess you never know), but as I will have accomodation and all meals provided there doesn't seem to be any point to looking there.

The cat is still around, though I haven't seen it this morning, but I know it is in the house (somehwere) and the four fish were still alive last night when I fed them.

I've got a lot of dusting and cleaning to do over the next few days but hopefully all doable.

So my house sitting days are numbered........................

Tuesday, January 8

House sitting plans on hold

At the moment I have no bookings for further house sitting, but I watch with interest the offers that are available. If only.......

But today I have an interview with an organisation that is interested in offering me a position teaching English in Taiwan or China. I'm quietly excited about this - though know that I will have to take a big deep breath if I want to go. In some ways it is brilliant as I would probably be back in time to go o/s in July. They are talking about 4 - 4 1/2 month contracts.

I have been working hard on my Irish story - and hope to have that almost finished by the end of the month. It is exciting. But funny in that I have a few things "on hold" until I know what is going to happen.

I have enjoyed this house sit that comes to an end at the weekend. I love the peace here (I'm sure I've said that before). I know the folk want me back in July but that is probably the time I will be in UK myself.

I am working on my new weight loss program - Dr John Tickell's - which I am finding very easy to do, and I think will be easy to follow if I work overseas. Especially as it is based a lot on fruit and vegetables. Just think I might come back trim, taut and terrific. And healthier I'd expect.

Saturday, January 5

Today the Cat is Ignoring me.

Some days the cat is so close and personal with me that I feel terrorised by it. It wants to be on my lap, or on my chair, or on my computer, or on the table, on the bench. Anything.

It will climb on my back even. I when I place her in "her"place, she gets quite irritated. Last night my grandchildren were here and sat and patted the cat for a long time. She purred loudly. Very happy cat.

Today there are no grandchildren here. And I've been given the cold shoulder. The cat has enjoyed being outside as the sun has been shining somewhat and there has been little rain.

I caught her lying in one of the pot plants.

Thursday, January 3

The terrorist cat

OK, OK. So that really is not a terrorist. It just LIKES me. So much so that it has become very domineering again. It is not helped by the bad weather - it has been cool and windy, with frequent rainshowers, and I suspect the cat would rather be outside running around. Needs to burn off some energy maybe.

In any case, it won't leave me alone. I've fed it - probably overfed it to reduce it's meows. But it still seems to want more of me. If I sit down for a few minutes it sneaks onto my lap. I do allow it to lapsit for a while, but when I want to move, it protests and hangs on when I try to remove it.

It has sat on my computer keyboard to stop me typing, it has stood behind my computer screen and stared at me over the top, it has tried to sit on my paperwork. You name it - it's tried it.

Now I feel somewhat sorry for the cat - it's only family having left it behind, but I don't need to be terrorised. Can't we be friends without being up close and so personal?