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 Housecarers.com

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.