Thursday, December 31

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve - tomorrow it will be 2010. Hard to believe really. The year has flown past. I often say - the older one gets the faster the time goes. I've got a few major things on my agenda for 2010 - I'm not one to make resolutions though if you read them you'd think they were the traudry old resoltuions. At least some. I like to plan my year. Not day by day, but have some idea at the beginning of the year where I want to be at the end of the year.

I have a contract to work in China for four months this year - starting March 1st, but I will need to be in China a few days before the beginning of the month. I've not booked my fare yet - but will do so in a few days/weeks time. I'm trying to find a flight that takes me through Hong Kong.

Also I want to get a book published in 2010. I've got a couple well on the way and know I will have to concentrate on one at a time.

House sitting? Well, I'll be doing one until the end of January, so won't have time to do any more before I go to China. Also I am due back at work next week - Mon - Wed.

I've had a short break from work. Nice really.

Monday, December 28

Busy time

I've spent a lot of time at the "house sit" but don't stay every night. I do need to feed the cat - twice a day, although some days I've managed to leave enough food for two meals. The cat is still happy with me.

I am concerned about the broken fence - but rightly or wrongly have decided to wait until the owner's son comes back from his holidays and can do something about repairing the fence and billing the vandal neighbours.

The weather has been cloudy and wet for most of the Christmas long weekend - but still I enjoy the tranquility there.

I've been looking at other house sit opportunities - but that will all have to wait until I come back from China. I don't finish this one until the end of January and then only have just over three weeks to go before I fly out for the semester at Shaoxing. You can read about that here.

Saturday, December 26

Christmas Eve Vandals.

I think this is an extra ordinary story. I am currently house sitting for a friend who is in the USA. I generally sleep in the house, feed the cat, empty the letter box, check the pool, do a few gardening jobs and generally enjoy the peace and tranquility.

On Christmas Eve I arrived at the house around 8 pm as I had been to a few Christmas celebrations (and not a drop of alcohol to drink as I was driving), and did my usual check, fed the cat.

Strangely I noticed pool toys IN the pool. The pool had been clear when I left earlier in the day. I wandered around and found the fence broken. About eight palings (timber fence pieces) removed and some broken. I went inside the house and phoned the owner's son, who suggested I call the police.

Now he and I knew that some neighbours had been given permission to use the pool, but there is only one access to the pool, via the back of the house. There are side gates but they are not locked. In this state we have stringent pool safety rules, too.

However, I chose to get a closer look at the damage before I phoned the police, (who probably would take no action on Christmas Eve anyway as it was not a major crime!) and I climbed through the hole in the fence. I came across some 8 people sitting around a table enjoying the Christmas spirit. I asked them about the damaged fence and they laughed. It had been them. Now these are not kids. Average age I would put at 60 years. They thought it was a huge joke. My hostess had given the lady permission to swim, and I would imagine she'd accept the additional guests too - but smashing their way in??? I know not!

I "suggested" they fix the fence that night, and if there was any court procedure relating to the damaged fence (a child drowning, the owner prosecuted for breaking the pool safety rules (and they do do random checks), I suggested they prepare for their day in court. I then departed. Unamused!

Later I heard some hammering, and the next day I found their rudimentary attempt at repairs. Clearly with four of the fence palings smashed, they were unlikely to be able to completely repair the damage.

As it is, there is likely to be a court case over it - the owners will arrange for the fence to be prepared professionally and the neighbours will be billed. If they don't pay happily - they will be sued.

I'm now waiting for someone to make the pool secure again.

Stupid lazy, (probably drunk) neighbours! Kids? No! Adults, who clearly should have known better.

Wednesday, December 23

Xmas Chaos

Several things have conspired against me this week - Christmas (ok, I knew it was coming but I was ill prepared!), and one car not working. But I've managed to stay at the house all but one night, and I've fed the cat every day without fail.

Christmas is at our place on Dec 25th - with the family, grandchildren and all parents, but in the afternoon the Gold Coast group will be headed back there, and the others will join me with a swim in the pool at the house sit house.

We've had some pretty hairy weather - massive thunder storms, lightening and rain, but we've all escaped damage to our houses and property so far, but this is the time of the year for it!

We are having roast turkey, ham, and vegetables including Christmas tree potatoes (I'll have to get a photo to show them off!), a variety of vegetables and pudding. Traditional Xmas Pudding.

I've got some activities for the children to do - and I'm making a special punch with Cranberry juice for those who don't want to drink a lot of alcohol.

We were planning to hold it outside - but decided the indoors with the air conditioning if necessary will be a better plan.

Saturday, December 19

What a lazy day!

Not ALL day, but quite a bit of it. I did walk down to the supermarket at Lutwyche this morning to get a few things. It was a hot walk but I enjoyed it. It's rather different to see the streets at the level of a walker - you see much more rubbish as well as detail of the old houses around here. Boy, so many need some updating.

Gardens are looking pretty desperate - mostly dead so it is not as lush and green as we'd expect at this time of the year. I bought a few bags of groceries and got a taxi back to the house.

I had my lunch and then had a sleep. I can't remember when I last did that. I am very tired and the peace and tranquility of this suburb are very conducive to the daytime nap.

This afternoon I've been lazing around and watching the Cricket Test from Perth on television - Australia v West Indies and it is quite interesting.

A storm came over this afternoon and there was some rain. Not a lot, but a warning has come on the television screen of huge storms to hit in the next half hour.

Lulu the cat and I are getting on fine - she's funny as she's not really friendly. I've done a few household chores and written a piece about Girl Guides, and pondered getting into the pool, but I'll leave that until tomorrow - especially with the storm looming.

New House Sit

My friend is travelling to the USA for Christmas holidays with her family and so I moved in to take care of the house. She'll be away for nearly 6 weeks, so here I am. A tough life.

The house is in a leafy upmarket suburb of Brisbane, an old house but modernised with a huge garden that like my own is ravaged by the lack of rain. (A storm with rain is predicted for tonight, so I hope it will refresh the plants.

It is a three bedroomed home with everything modern. Somewhat luxurious.

Did I say "quiet" leafy suburb? Oh, so much quieter than where I live on the corner of a street that seems to have become the joy of people speaking and roaring their cars!

In the back yard there is a swimming pool. A huge swimming pool.

In the hot humid summer of Brisbane which we are right in the midst of, it will be welcome.

Sunday, December 13

Now is the time for house sitting

People still seem to be travelling - balancing the low cost of travel against the uncertainty of the money market. I'm surprised how many offers for house sitting that I am getting - especially through the website

But I have one that will keep me busy for a while and other things in my calendar so I'm not looking for anything else at the moment.

If I was really serious about doing a lot of house sitting - the jobs are there.

My suggestion to anyone who is interested - get started. Do your research on the industry and the organisation you are interested in working with. Then slowly does it.

Don't be too pedantic - you are going to be in someone else's home, so life will not be perfect, but if you plan correctly you will benefit and enjoy the experience.

Wednesday, December 2

In Adelaide

We flew into Adelaide this morning, for a family wedding this weekend. We will be here for a week at apartments right on the beachfront at Glenelg.

I've been offered a 6 week house sit - was going to be four weeks, but will now be 6 weeks, so I will have to think about it. Sounds good all the same. It is summer and there is a pool.

Meanwhile I have time to consider it all while I catch up with family in Adelaide.

Sunday, November 15

Life's Journey

The past few months have been a strange journey. In September I had expected to go back to Korea for English/TESOL teaching. It was all organised. I was to go in October, and be back in November. I prepared - as you do - with clothes, and all sorts of things that I knew would be of benefit to me in the cooler months of South Korea, as they head towards winter.

But, almost at the last minute, it was all off. I was advised that the course in Pusan/Cheon An would not be proceeding as there were not enough students. So it was a bit of a shock - first of all, I was counting on the income. Secondly I was looking forward to another adventure.

As it turned out though I was recruited by an Australian international college teaching English to foreign students. There's a long story in that! But not for here. So much of the income concern was decreased - not as much money as I would have earned in South Korea, but enough to cover costs etc.

At the same time I resurrected the research I had been doing a few years ago about obituary writing. Now, let me explain. I'm not focused on death - it just seems to me that this is the last opportunity to write a life story. So many people "plan" to write, but never do it And then their life is all over. Obituaries are gaining in popularity too. In any case, I "dug out"my research, and thought - "let's do it!", and set in motion a consultancy. I'm still researching it - but hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to be positive about the direction this is going. Well, I am positive now, but a few things need to be in place before I officially announce it all.

Then there were two deaths. One a close family friend of many years - he'd been in a nursing home with dementia and had a fall which caused massive brain damage and he lasted a few more days. I attended the celebration of his life - and it surely was - and again I was "encouraged" to continue with my obituary writing plans. I did write a short obituary - but the family do not want me to do anything with it. At least not yet. I had hoped to have it published in the daily newspaper, but it was not to be. I asked them, and told them I would not raise the subject again. If they wanted me to - they had to ask me. Silence.

Then the other death. This time a woman who had bravely fought cancer for several years, and in the end it won. Her husband is someone whose life I have written about and had a contract of sorts to publish it - but it is languishing. The contract ended at the end of October, and I'm going to have to go "back to the drawing board" on that project! Her husband was not at the funeral service - he is in a nursing home with dementia. He has been told of the death of his wife, but he cannot deal with it. I will write her story.

Meanwhile, I am working three days a week at the college, and planning to return to China in 2010. That is an odd story, as the Chinese university sent me a medical form - I need a medical. I'd have preferred it if they had sent me a blank form, but they sent a copy of another teacher - complete with all detail - so I have had to spend time with whiteout so that I can go to my own doctor with a blank form. How funny is that!!! I could do a form myself, but getting the Chinese characters was going to be a challenge.

Now about house sitting. I have re registered with for another 12 months, and each house sitting job that comes in is unsuitable - in part because of the teaching job. Oh, darn! But today I had a phone call. A friend is planning an overseas trip. Would I house sit?

Sure! It is over the Christmas/New Year period. Maybe starting a few days before the end of the college semester - and I will have at least three weeks off. No money, but still, no work either. I can relax. I am committed to a family Christmas Day event - but I can manage that.

The house has a swimming pool!!!! Now ain't that grand for the Christmas period!!!!

Not all decided yet, but it is a plan. Meanwhile I am busily working on some short bio's - I'm going to focus on this sort of writing, and I hope to have one of my books published by the new year.

In early December MM and I will be going to Adelaide for the wedding of my only niece. I will see my folks there - my mother is 94 and dad is 90. So it will be good to catch up with them again.

Whew!!! I can hardly wait.

So the plan is - March - June I should be in Shaoxing, China. After that - focus on writing, writing, and publishing.

And the occasional house sit task. Bring it on!

Monday, September 7

Jewellery making - a hobby

One of the things that I enjoy doing from time to time is making jewellery. I generally make it for myself - making earrings to match a necklace, or a necklace to go with some earrings.

I have previously had a lesson on crochet jewellery but did another class on Saturday and make this one.

It is made of amethyst chips - a little small and fiddly, but I am impressed with the end result. As purple/lilac is my favourite colour, I'm thrilled with the end result.

I did the class at Beadsmart at Manly West.

Sunday, August 16

Plenty of House Sit jobs

appear in my inbox on a daily basis and I do look at them closely. Dreaming sometimes, because right now for several reasons I'm not in a position to take on any of them.

I'm still working to go to teach in South Korea in October - but have a lot of work to do on that. I have course material to write and still negotiations are under way - so not sure I am going to go. I have a house sit when I come back from South Korea - if I go. If I don't go, I will of course do the house sit anyway.

I am registered to get notifications re housesits in the UK and in Ireland as well as Brisbane areas, and there is no shortage of them at the moment.

My preferred site is Housecarers.

Thursday, July 23

Another job comes my way

I've received an email about another job - a week not far from home in October. Unfortunately I can't commit right now as I 'm not sure about any job in south Korea.

Possibility of one coming up.

Still, it seems that there is work around.

Thursday, July 9

A year away, but it sounds good

I'm certainly not sure what will happen in my life over the next 12 months, but I have been asked to block July 2010 for a house sitting job. Seems hard to plan that far ahead, but, well, I've blocked it in the diary.

I do hope to have one or two trips to Korea before then, and maybe one to China for teaching, but will take it one step at a time.

Anything could happen in that time. I might even get a contract for one of my books!!!!

Saturday, July 4

I keep looking

Each day I receive a message from listing the current/new opportunities for house sitting and I am a little frustrated by the fact that the dates don't always suit me. I did half heartedly apply for one recently - more in the vein of if you don't get a suitable sitter, and you are desperate let me know, as I live nearby and could do it at a pinch.

They found someone that sounded more enthusiastic than I was at the time - but I was after all, just back from 10 weeks in Korea, and had quite a few other things to do.

Todays offering was interesting. One for just over three weeks just north of Brisbane - not an area I'm keen to stay in, and one in the UK, and another in Ireland. The latter two had great appeal, but sadly the dates do not suit me, and until I get my tax money the bank balance is a little low.

However, it is a daily activity to check on the offerings and at the moment, though I dream of the UK and Ireland, the reality is that I am only interested in local - east side of Brisbane and bay islands - jobs.

The daily chore - ten minutes of checking and dreaming - is for me my only close association with house sitting, but it won't be long and off I go again. Somewhere.

Monday, April 13

Housesitting in Korea

I'm not sure that it exists. There are no house sit opportunities listed on the websites that I look at, and I doubt that they would be on English sites anyway.

Maybe within Korea there is a Korean site that offers this opportunity, but I must ask my students about this. I suspect that there is little house sitting in Korea. Maybe none.

Friday, April 10

I'm quoted

I was just doing a little exploration about other websites and found one on house sitting that quoted me. Gave me a funny feeling. Nice funny feeling. You can see it here. I think many people do not realise how much house sitting is going on in the world.

Another site I found had fabulous photography - click here

While I am not house sitting at the moment, I'm still keen to do more. When the Korean adventure is over.

All too short

My time at the cat house was all too short - and it was harder this time as I was not able to stay over as much - but because I lived nearby, and my husband was recovering from major heart surgery, I had to keep two households happy. I would rush to the cat house in the morning and feed the cat, and later in the day go back again for the evening meal. And never forget the two fish - they needed their daily feed.

In he midst of all of this I had an offer to teach English in Korea. It really was a rush to do all I had to do, and in the end, I did choose to go to Korea, so I watch as my daily report of house sitting opportunities come through from my little apartment in downtown Jeon Ju in Korea, and wait for my time here to pass.

Saturday, March 14

The Cat House

It is so peaceful here, though I can hear the drone of a lawnmower, and some sort of earth moving equipment nearby. I suspect the lawnmower will shut down soon as the sky is black with rainclouds and there is bound to be a heavy down pour.

In any case the noise is not interefering with my train of thoughts. Yes, I wrote thoughtS. So much going on in my head. I've put a CD on too, which I hope will help with the flow of thoughts as I get down to doing some serious work.

I am at the house sit, though I confess I have not stayed overnight yet. But I have been here early in the morning to check on the cat, and the fish. And I come back in the evening to "bed them down" and feed them at the end of the day. All three are alive and well as I type.

Here the peace and tranquility is more inspiring for me with my writing, but as usual I start with the not so high priority things. Like my blogs. And answering emails.

I still get regular emails from students and other foreign teachers back at Shaoxing, so I like to reply and keep in touch.

MM is still recovering from his double bypass, but he's OK on his own, and I'm only a short distance away and certainly contactable by phone.

Yesterday there was a big water dragon on the back lawn. I wanted to rush and get my camera, but I thought the movement would have sent him scurrying away. Maybe with the rain about I will see more green frogs. I can hear them croaking in the swamp at the back, but I like it when they come near the house.

Thursday, March 12

Here I am again

The owners are only away for a few days this time, but I'm thrilled to get a chance to write there. It is so peaceful - no traffic noise like I have at home, and no interruptions.

I've spent this morning working on two projects - one my book about nurses, and the other a short story that I am submitting to a competition. Today I have a writer friend with me, and we are both silently working on our respective projects. It is nearly lunch time, and we have already completed quite a lot of writing and editing.

I like working alone for the most part, but it is very helpful to have a good writer colleague spend time with you to work on some projects. Discuss them. We read what the other has written and make comment. Discuss it.

I hope by the end of the day I will have made much progress.

On the bed of the house was a book. The title of the book says it all - with a note from the owner of the house "Couldn't resist it!!" The book is called "Curiosity killed the Cat Sitter" by Blaize Clement. Sounds like a good read and a lot of fun. I hope I get time to read it while I am here.

I'm pleased to find that the Admin of one of my favourite blogging sites has reappeared. I've had limited moderation capabilities at the site, but things were going pear shaped and I was unable to help. I'm glad he read my email and has returned to help us out.

Sunday, March 8

A short house sit

MM is doing well, and my friend needs someone to look after the cat for a few days. So, my first house sit for 2009 starts on Wednesday.

I'm looking forward to being on my own again, especially as I really am in the writing mood again.

Each day from the website I get offers - I love to dream about the possibilities. There have been a few in England and Ireland that I would love to do, but I'm not ready for that at the moment. Some of them have been good reading. How I wish!

Thursday, February 5

Strange things happen.

I knew that when my friend went overseas, I would be asked to "house sit" for her, and sure enough when I spoke with her yesterday she gave me the dates - it is next month (March) for nearly 4 weeks.

But things change. My husband has been in hospital - he has had some heart pain and it seems one of his coronary arteries is blocked. Today the surgeons attempted to put in a "stent" which would open up the blocked artery. However, they have not been able to do the procedure. I am waiting on information, but it may be that the artery was not straight at the point that needed the stent, so alternate methods are required and I am still waiting to find out what that will be.

It may be that further surgery is on the cards, and that a longer stay in hospital with a longer recuperation. Maybe I will not be able to house sit on this occasion.

I guess I will know in a few days. Strangely this is all happening just days before his 65th birthday.

Monday, February 2

Would you like to be a house sitter?

I have enjoyed my experiences as a house sitter - and will continue to do so, but if you would like to be a house sitter, why not click here and start on your wonderful housesitting journey. I'm happy to answer any questions for you.

Sunday, February 1

Plenty of House sits but...............

Each day I get advice about 3 - 5 house sit opportunities, but I'm not ready to do any at the moment. MM is about to undergo heart investigations, so probably not a good idea to leave him alone at the moment, and my parents are struggling, so I am "on call" so to speak to go back to Adelaide.

My mother is 93, and my father is 90 in a few months time, but as mum's carer he is finding life very difficult, but there is little we can do. Despite his challenges about looking after my mother, they don't want to change. My mother has refused any care. I've just spent some time with them - but there's not a lot I can do.

I can't commit to house sitting for any period at the moment as I just don't know when I will get a call. I've promised to be mum's carer if something happens to my dad, so for a while my housesitting is but a dream.

Friday, January 9

House sitting soon?

It is a bit annoying as I have found a good house sit on one of the Bay Islands on Housecarers, but I can't access the details from China, so am unable to find out more or even contact the people. I guess I will just have to wait until I get back to Australia next week.

I am due to fly into Brisbane on the 16th after more than 24 hours of travelling or transitting from Shaoxing to Shanghai, then to Singapore and then on to Brisbane. Then I have a dental appointment as I broke a tooth on New Year's Day.

When will I get to sleep? Who knows. But I doubt I will be worrying about the house sit for a day or so - until I get over the fatique and/or jet lag.