I don't know about you, but with travelling so much, I've become something of a demon packer. I still strive towards the goal of 'travelling light'. It's a goal I'm not sure I'll ever achieve. Even when I set off 'light' I inevitably return 'heavy' having indulged my love of retail therapy. My interim goal is to squeeze every last cubic centimetre of space out of my luggage. I can honestly say that by the time I close that zip, the only thing more densely packed than my suitcase is a black hole! I'm always watching videos about packing hacks, folding tips and the like and giving them a try. My latest find is this great little video from Emily Brooker . In it she shows a great trick for folding a hoodie to take up minimal space in your suitcase or drawer. https://youtu.be/spga09MsB7M I love the neat little package that the hoodie ends up being. So easy to store in a drawer or pack easily in a suitcase or holdall bag. I might just have ...Read More
It's late October 2017. The eve of my departure from Cyprus has arrived. In the weeks since Annie and I confirmed our housesit, I have been at the centre of a whirlwind of activity. Leaving home for three months (and hopefully longer) takes a lot of planning - especially when you are travelling with a dog. Not only were there travel plans to be made but the apartment had to be prepared for being left for a long period - and there were so many people to try to meet up with to say goodbye to (some of whom I suspect I may never see again). Eddie also had to be prepared. She had never been in a flight crate or on a plane and gets petrified at anything new. All this and trying to carry on working and also starting to think about what happens at the end of my three month assignment with Annie. There were times where I thought I'd have to give up on the idea. I went round and round in circles trying to find the best way to travel with Eddie so as to minimise her str...Read More
Many people may think of the Hoodie as a fairly modern piece of clothing, dating back perhaps only a few decades at most. However, as Paola Antonelli explains, its origins can be found as far back as ancient Greece. Garments with a hood - which we can retrospectively define as hoodies - have been around almost since clothing became a thing in itself. A hood attached to a cloak or robe is a practical solution to that problem of what to do with a hat when you don't want to wear it. With a hoodie, the hood is instantly accessible when needed, but neatly out of the way when not. A hood offers the wearer protection from the elements, privacy and anonymity and a special comfort from feeling swaddled and nestled in your own shell. Practical, comfortable, easy to care for, a cotton jersey hoodie is a perfect garment to include in your nomadic wardrobe. It bridges the gap between summer and winter when it may still be too warm for a coat. It i...Read More
ChoiceOne of the fundamental freedoms we all desire in our lives. That sense of self determination, control perhaps. We want to choose for ourselves, not have others dictate the content and direction of our lives. Yet, sometimes choice can become a burden rather than a freedom. When we are surrounded by too many choices, we end up paralysed – unable to choose. A restaurant menu that goes on for pages and pages, any tile shop these days with thousands of options, and - as Harvard Graduate, Pete Davis says in his 2018 Commencement Speech - the unending choice of movies in Netflix's infinite browse. https://youtu.be/qHMHK4i_oLg And for me at the moment – the endless choice of housesits across the numerous housesitting sites I've signed up to. The ever growing list of 'Today's New House and Pet Sitting Opportunities' that arrives not once but twice a day from TrustedHousesitters.com. Should I apply or shouldn't I? What about the ones I've already applied ...
A recent incident on my current housesitting assignment got me thinking about how well prepared any of us are when we take responsibility for a client's home and pets. I'd been overseeing some renovations on the house and while the builders were bringing in tools and materials, the dogs (Mac - my client's dog and Eddie - my own dog) took the opportunity to sneak out and go for a wander in the nearby woods. I wasn't too worried as they'd done this a few times - both on my watch and when my client was at home. The routine was to periodically yell their names and eventually they would both turn up, usually filthy dirty but very pleased with themselves. However on this particular day, things took an unexpected turn which resulted in me having to deal with the kind of situation every housesitter hopes they will never have to face. Three hours after the escape to the woods, Mac returned - as usual caked in mud and ready for a lie down in a shady spot. But there was...Read More
June 2017. I return to Cyprus after a blissful week visting my Italian part-time neighbours at their other home in the Veneto Region of Italy. We have explored castles and towns, visited wineries and mountains, seen art in all its forms and indulged in some retail therapy Italian style. Together we have shared so many wonderful meals - both home cooked and restaurant prepared and, with the exception of breakfasts, washed them down with delicious wines of every hue. The sadness of our parting for the timebeing - at this point in time with the intention of seeing each other again in Cyprus in November - is only tempered by the warmth of the memories we have created and the excitement I always feel at the prospect of being reunited with my beloved Eddie. Arriving home I at once take in the view of the valley behind. The view that held me spellbound when I first came to view this place. The view I thought I would never tire of. And I realise that I have fin...Read More
The town of Servigliano in the Le Marche region of Italy is unusual for the region. It is not built atop a hill with a commanding view of its surrounding domain. Instead it lies on one of the few flat areas of this undulating landscape. The old part of town is enclosed within a fortress of sorts. Its high walls have small houses and shops built into them. Once through one of the three gateways, you pass along cobbled streets and emerge into a large central piazza. Three sides are taken up with the shops and houses of the external walls. The centre is a combination of marketplace and urban park with memorial statues. The centrepiece of the piazza completing the fourth side is, inevitably a church. Visit the town on market day and you will probably be so focused on the stalls you will not look up at the church. But come here on any other day and you will notice a large white plaque on the front of the church. The majority of the plaque is taken up with a ...Read More
What is Housesitting?Housesitting is taking care of someone else's house - and most likely pets - while the owner is away. It can range from a night or two through a couple of weeks to a few months and beyond. Some friends of mine did a housesit for friends of theirs for over two years while they were relocated due to work. While many people considering housesitting are attracted to the promise of living in fabulous homes in fantastic destinations, the reality can be quite different. Housesitting is first and foremost providing a service to your clients rather than them giving you a free or cheap holiday. If you approach housesitting from this perspective you are much more likely to:
- be given the assignments you apply for
- have housesits that go well
- be invited back to housesit again
What Housesitting Is
Loving and caring for your client's pets as if they were your ownThe vast majority of people looking to use a housesi...
Coming Soon!Over the coming months, I will be gathering together my experiences from my first few housesitting assignments and collating them into a housesitting guide for those who are just starting out on their own housesitting adventure.
Profession Not PastimeHousesitting is a profession - or at least it should be considered as such by those contemplating taking up the lifestyle. It is not simply a case of travelling the world living for free in other people's houses. Rather, it is offering a service - and peace of mind - to home and pet owners so that they can travel away from home without having to worry about what's going on in their absence. As such a housesitter has to equip themselves with a wide range of skills - from the ability to care for a wide variety of pets to good communication skills.
Making a LivingFor those who choose housesitting as a full time way of life, and who have not yet retired from work, there is also the ne...
Apologies to Jane Austen for borrowing the structure of a truly inspired opening line, and turning it into something altogether more mundane. But what is a girl to do when presented with an empty box to fill and inspiration deserts her?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new blogger in possession of an empty blog must be in need of some posts.
What will my blog be about?I suppose, in the tradition of diaries through the centuries, it will be:
- a miscellany of factual recordings of events in my life (tastefully edited to protect the not so innocent),
- random musings of my overactive mind,
- a scrapbook of words and images from elsewhere that have caught my attention, and
- a window into the murkiest depths of my soul - for those who dare to venture so deep.