Friday, January 29

Update

Well my house sit is over and I'm back home. It was a great one to do - and I hope I get to go back there at some time.

And I received a wonderful thank you gift - some great purple gloves and a purple scarf - great to use when I head off to China in a few week's time.

I think house sitting is becoming more popular - more folk are going away and they've learned that it is better to have someone stay in the house - the pets can be cared for in their own familiar territory, and there is someone to "care" for the house.

There were two events that made me feel that the stay in the house was a good idea. One was the damage to the pool fence and the security of the pool (see previous entry), and the other was when a pipe broke in another neighbours yard and started pouring water. Not only the waste of water, but left unchecked there would have been some damage.

I actually heard the water pouring minutes after the pipe broke and we were quickly able to stop the flow of water.

Also people with ill intent can see (by the presence of the car and the lights on and other activity that signals that the house is occupied) that there is someone there.

It was good to leave the house clean and tidy and feel confident about a job well done. I would have done washing this morning, but strangely enough it rained this morning and I didn't want to leave behind wet washing to be managed.

I'm welcome back there again, and there will be more opportunity there in the future.

Meanwhile, it is off to China.

(Saw a good long job in Ireland, but the dates are not good for me. A week later and I'd consider it.)

Friday, January 22

Another week to go

I've enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the latest house sit, but in one week it will be back to home again. For about three weeks before I head off to China for another semester at Shaoxing.

I'm still working as an ESL teacher and will work right up until the Friday before I go overseas, so I will have to catch up with a lot of things before I go.

I've bought my ticket, but not arranged by Visa yet. I was going to go to the Chinese consulate today, but I was called in to work for another teacher. It is always hard taking on someone's class at the last minute, and I had little time to get ready and go, and much less to prepare!!!

I met with one of my other regular house sit owners yesterday and she has more work for me later in the year. So busy! I'll just have to wait and see.

So much to do.

Tuesday, January 19

My house sitting goal.

When I do any house sitting I set out to genuinely care for the house. I don't like using much of what is available to me. I tend not to cook very much so many cooking appliances etc are not touched by me.

I am happy to use food that has a "used by date" that means it will be of little use when the home owner returns, and I like leaving the fridge with some fresh milk at least for when the home owner returns home.

I like gardening so I endeavour to not only keep plants alive, but I like them to look refreshed, so some things I carefully prune. I dead head some plants - at least with the dead blooms gone it looks much better. I don't touch things that I am not familiar with, or that I know are precious to the owner.

I do like to leave things cleaner than when I came. I have a few little tricks up my sleave that I don't sare with anyone, but I have the confidence in knowing I have made a difference. Curious? No, I'm not saying.

I'm careful to replace things EXACTLY where I found them - there's nothing worse than having your cupboards "rearranged" by a guest even if it was not intentional.

I hae just over a week left here. I'm "on top" of things, so there will be little extra to do as I leave. But I will ave the windows open so that there is fresh air, and I will endeavour to leave fresh flowers too.

Welcome home.



Saturday, January 2

Tamborine Adventure


Mt Tamborine is about one hour south of Brisbane - up in what is called "the hinterland." It was settled in the late 1800's and the heavily timbered mountain and surrounds was used to harvest timber and much of the good old timber was taken away. In recent years the area has become a popular destination for people wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and the Gold Coast, and it is a popular tourist destination with streets full of cafe's, shops, wineries, art galleries, B & B's, wedding chapels, and rain forest walks.

I could stay there a week and not see everything!

We parked outside a winery, though in the end did not get to taste the fruits of their labour as the queues were long. We did wander around the shops and we had coffee and cupcakes at a cute little coffee shop/gourmet shop, and I bought a few lavender things at a gift shop (bag of lavender, lavender oil, soap, and some body creme).

However, the main reason to go to Tamborine ws to visit the Rainforest Skywalk - a fairly new tourist attraction with a walkway through the treetops of one of the rainforests. And it was well worth the visit. It takes about an hour to go along the walkway through the treetops and back via a pathway that takes you through wonderful rainforest.

It was great. Despite being somewhat dark, I managed quite a few photos. We are so pleased we did it - well worth it. There are several other walks through rainforests in the area, but no other has the treetop walk. Next time, I'd like to visit them.

Around lunch time we'd planned to visit a Brewery and eat some lunch, and duly found a park, wandered around looking at the cheese factory, and brewery before ordering lunch, and a glass of wine.

And we waited and waited. We only ordered two salads, and after 40 minutes we asked a staff member about our meals. She said she would ask, but then didn't speak to us again. We saw her but she clearly avoided us.

After nearly 15 minutes more, we'd had enough. My husband asked at the counter, and as they could'nt give us a satisfactory response, we cancelled the order and asked for our money back. It was given to him, without argument.

As we were leaving, the manager came and spoke to us. We explained the situation and all he could say was "they had served over 300 meals and were busy." We said he'd have to learn to manage it better. As the walked away he said "Do you want to hit me?" Strange response. There was never any indication of violence or abuse on our part.

Before we left the permises, another man approached us. He was a Captain in the Australian Defence Force, stationed at nearby Canungra Jungle Training centre, and he too had complained and had guessed that we had. He spoke to us and encouraged us to write a letter of complaint, which I will do.

By now it was about three in the afternoon, and we were starving. We considered our options and then decided to drive down the mountain and get a burger at Hungry Jacks! Fast food. We needed to eat, and fast!

I will write a few letters of complaint - (a) to the Brewery and (b) to the tourist organisations.

Totally unsatisfactory.

'Tis 2010

I spent new year's eve at my own home. Didn't go anywhere. We had a glass of champagne, and went to bed early. MM was coughing and sneezing, so felt an early night would be good. I too was tired, so welcomed the early bed time, but I'd only been asleep for less then an hour and the local louts woke me up.

Again I dozed off, but another group of loud revellers with whistles woke me, so I hopped out of bed and turned on the television in time to see all but the first 60 seconds of the fireworks from Sydney. Amazing. Though would have been more spectacular to have been there!

Had a quiet day for the first day of the month, and went back to the house sit later in the day. The cat is fine - didn't even come to welcome me this time, as she probably wasn't hungry.

And I notice the fence is repaired. So I imagine they will have to come in the correct entrance to get a swim now. That's OK. Just didn't like the big opening in the fence - it would have been awful if a child had wandered in and drowned, and the legal dramas would have been exciting.

Today I'm off to Mt Tamborine - in the hinterland between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. I'm looking forward to it.