Just before we headed up to Perth to start our house-sitting gig in Mt Lawley I noticed a "House-Sitter Wanted" advert on one of the many house sitting websites we belong to. Although the advert wasn't wanting us to fly to Spain, or Portugal, or Portland for that matter, the house was situated in the same town as my parents. Gelorup, Western Australia.
The advert mentioned that the owners were heading overseas to fulfill a life-long dream to visit America. They would be away for over ten weeks in total but already had house-sitters for the first six weeks. This left four weeks for other house-sitters.
We applied for the position and I added my parents home phone number at the end of the email as mobile / cell phone reception is pretty poor in the country parts of Western Australia. Five minutes later we received a phone call. A few hours later we were sitting at the kitchen table discussing the finer details of what would be required of us.
Sometimes, things just click.
On Friday 14th December, we moved into a very homely bushland house just two kilometres from my parent's place. We looked after a four bedroom house with two living areas, an awesome spacious kitchen, and the best backyard in the world. Total Australian Bushland.
Along with the house, we became faux parents to two cats, Nelson and Marshmallow. Nelson is around fourteen years old and only has one eye and one ear left. We are unsure what happened to Nelson in his past but he can still get around without any problems.
In the evenings, he takes medication for his heart. Andrew and I were both worried about having to give a daily pill to a cat. I'm not sure why we worried as all I had to do was dip the tablet into a bit of tinned cat food and Nelson would eat it from my fingers. How cool is that!
Marshmallow, who was quite a few years younger than Nelson, is a full of beans cat. He would constantly be running around the yard, munching on mice that he had caught throughout the night, and playing with sticks and leaves. Oh, and teasing Nelson.
We had a lot of trouble convincing Marshmallow to stay in at night. Nelson came in just before dark and was happy to hang out with us until morning. In the end, we took to leaving water and a bowl of biscuits outside for Marshmallow to make sure that he got enough to eat and drink. We knew he was nearby as both cats liked to sleep in the garden beds just outside the front door.
Then there were the two chickens. Andrew mainly looked after these feather-kids. We couldn't recall their names so he named them "Red" - that's the red feathered chicken, and "Matron" - the big white feathered chicken.
Surprisingly, Red really liked to be stroked. She would come over to wherever you were standing and kind of crouch down with her wings stretched out. This was her way of saying that she wanted to be patted.
Matron, on the other hand, was big, white, and looked just like a hospital Matron. If you remember Matron Maggie Sloan from the Australian TV show from the 80s and 90s - A Country Practice - this is who we named her after.
Amongst the bushland setting, we also got to hang out with a lot of other Australian native animals. Kangaroos were in abundance. We often enjoyed hanging out with a family of kangaroos. They would come and sit in the shade of the trees and bushes just outside the kitchen window, or munch on the lawn.
We also got to enjoy seeing many lizards, flies, and way too many spiders for our liking! We were in the bush after all!
The only fly in the ointment was the limited Internet access. Even though Gelorup is only ten kilometres from the city of Bunbury, the house was still stuck with satellite ADSL. This meant that we only had 3GB to use for the month. After that quota was used, the charges were very high. As we also had no idea how much quota we had been using we pretty much avoided it altogether and headed to my parent's place every morning.
Thank you Mum and Dad for making us breakfast every morning, letting us use your house as our personal office from the hours of 8am to 12pm Monday to Friday, then feeding us lunch, then telling us to come back for dinner at 6pm.
We really enjoyed this house-sitting gig. We were situated very close to my family and saw nearly every one every day. But yet we were able to head back to our own place for our own space. We even had some friends drop by on their way back from a holiday in Margaret River. Thanks to us, they had a toilet stop on the way back to Perth!
Thank you Jo, Cam and the kids for letting us stay at your wonderful place!
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