2017 April - June, House sits in Klemzig, St Peters and Toorak Gardens, Adelaide, S. Australia

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June 22nd 2017
Published: October 14th 2017
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Klemzig Adelaide March/April 2017

What great timing! Arriving in Adelaide just as the Adelaide Festival was opening. Before we could relax and get into all the action we had to settle into our newest house sit.

Sascha in Klemzig was waiting for us and we were excited to spend time with her. She was a golden retriever with such a child like personality. Easy to love and our new friend for 6 weeks.

We arranged this housesit when we were last in Adelaide. These people were known to the house sit hosts we worked for in St Peters last year but we weren't aware of this until after we were booked. We visited them back in September and were booked well in advance. Both of us felt really comfortable with Sascha and a house with a peaceful, lush garden and pool. We were hoping for warm weather to use the pool and we certainly got it. Our first few weeks in Adelaide stayed in the 30's and it needed to be warm for us as we have difficulty getting in the water unless the air temp. is roasting hot. The property backed onto the River's Linear Park, which made cycling and walking Sascha a breeze.

Having such a lush garden meant that there was plenty of maintenance, so we actually spent a half day in advance training for this house sit and then a full day before the owners left, when we spent the night and then drove them to the airport at 6.30 the next morning. The document of information for this house sit was an ambitious 16 pages long but this also included local information.

March 1 we started living with Sascha and on the balmy night of March 5 was the Adelaide Festival Opening Celebration Concert with Neil Finn. We were told that at capacity of 15,000 the gates would close, so Tomas and I packed picnic blankets and arrived at 1.30 to get an awesome spot. It was well worth it and Neil Finn was better than I ever anticipated. Being close to the front meant that I could sing my lungs out at the top of my voice and no one could hear me. I hadn't expected so many favourites from Split End and Crowded House. I was on a complete high. To make the experience even better a good friend unexpectedly walked by and shared the experience with us. That's Adelaide! Look hard enough and you will always see someone you know, especially if you grew up here. We also had the opportunity to experience the Writer's Festival across from Elder Park on the same day.

Tomas and I frequently cycled here and there in the March heat to get ourselves around Adelaide. Easy access to the river cycle track and the ability to jump in the pool upon return made it rewarding. The March night of the Adele concert we took picnic rugs and snacks, including bags of backyard figs and nectarines and set ourselves up on Montefiore Hill. The sound quality of the concert was amazing and we could even see snippets of the screen. We always enjoy a freebee!

Sascha was so much fun to take to the beach, which we did weekly, as we had use of the owner's cars. Seeing her so happy encouraged us. She surprised us with her love for swimming, no matter how cool the air temp might have been the water was irresistible to her, especially when she had sticks to retrieve from the water.

The balmy Adelaide summer nights also offered many opportunities for outdoor evening cinemas. We had already seen many of the latest releases but managed to catch a few new family favourites. Once April arrived we needed to wrap ourselves in a snug rug to be comfortable.

Apart from our few outing highlights we enjoyed seeing old Adelaide friends and family. The garden where we were staying was pure delight and although took a little work to keep looking and feeling amazing we reaped the rewards enjoying it with Sascha. She was fun and a great friend during our stay.

We got to know Sascha's parents Michael and Bunty well after being invited back several times for coffee, dinner and walks once the house sit was over. Even during the house sit we were invited to Bunty's mother's for dinner, Sasha was invited as well.

St Peters April 2017

It is always tricky getting house sits to follow each other tidily but St Peters followed Klemzig to the day.

We had spent time in this house sit in August 2016, so it was familiar to us and we had got to know the owners quite well during and after the house sit. They were lovely, special people that we bonded with as well as with their 2 little dogs, Bonnie and Cooper. Bonnie was a West Highland Terrier and Cooper a Lhaso Apso. We also enjoyed living in this house. It was close to the city, shops and library; cycling every where was easy and I had friends in the area.

A week there went far too quickly but we managed to reconnect with Bonnie and Cooper and enjoyed taking them on walks and to the local parks. On Sunday mornings in a nearby park there was a lively, friendly market which was a great place to meet locals and their dogs. Bonnie and Cooper were a little weary of other dogs but had gained trust in us by this stage. I knew they loved us as they were so happy to see us. I always have a special place for them but then I think about all the others as well and I feel a tenderness when I remember them all.

Fulham May 2017

For a short period between completing the house sit in Klemzig and starting the next one in Toorak Gardens we were homeless so took residence with my mother, in Fulham, in the house where I grew up.

My mother is elderly but still lives independently in the house where 6 of us used to live when I was younger.

My father passed away in 2012 and I remember that it had bothered him that there were maintenance jobs in the house that he wanted to attend to but was no longer able due to his illness.

Like it did with my father, it also bothers me to live in a house where there are small, niggly things need to be attended to. It is difficult to relax while they stare me in the face. For this reason the short time with my mother was the time to attend to these jobs that had been bothering me since my father passed.

The major job was to paint the hallway door. For some reason my mother had been cleaning her used paint brushes on the hallway doors and they were a patchwork of different shades of beige. We removed each one and painted in the back garden to avoid as much smell as possible but then the mismatched door frames also needed attending to so this defeated the purpose and smelling the house out was inevitable. We paced ourselves breaking the task into a smaller job each day and were happy with the result.

The next job was a badly rotted window frame for which I had no idea how to tackle but was proud of myself putting together the knowledge I gained from youtube and advice from the hardware store in doing an admirable and resilient fix for less than $50 of materials.

Being back on home ground, where I went to school and grew up gave me access to people from my past. While here I managed to make a new connection with my high school PE teacher who only recently moved from Canberra back to Adelaide. Growing up near the beach often tends to draw people back to the beach and familiar ground later in life. I felt a connection with her which I remembered from years ago and felt very satisfied to have been able to introduce such a special person back into my life. The same happened with an old high school friend, who I connected with 2 years previously who also lives in the area. I spend time with her and her husband whenever I am in the area and she has introduced me to the world of agility and dogs.

One special day I acted as a steward at a dog agility trial, which I thoroughly enjoyed and was disappointed that I wouldn't be around for any of the next trials to be able to do it again.

All these things are to be looked forward to hoping to have more opportunity in the future to do again.

Toorak Gds, Adelaide May/June 2017

How great it felt to have our own space again and to be in such a new immaculate house with the most loveable creatures being so close to the local library and shops

Ted and Lilly were our new babies. Ted, a Tenterfield terrier and Lilly, a mini schnauzer; both adorable in their own way.

My Adelaide friends made me feel so special for my birthday. They took the initiative and arranged to spend the special day with me, which I otherwise had assumed that no one would have cared about. This house sit started May 8th and my birthday was on the 12th. I was lucky to have a friend "home" from Darwin at this time.

I started some private personal training sessions during the time that we were living here and we arranged to train twice a week at the Adelaide University Gym. I cycled there for every session and then came home noticing the slight elevation more than I would normally.

Tomas took off for a week with a group of friends during this time to do a newly opened bush walk on Kangaroo Island, where he had never been and I took advantage of this time to do a 5 day fast for the first time in my life. My theory being that since I had experienced cancer in my past that a fast theoretically had the effect of killing early cancer cells by starving them of glycogen. I found it surprisingly and relatively easy, considering there were few temptations around me and this freed up time and energy to do other things rather than concentrate on food, shopping, preparing and cooking.

A remarkable coincidence happened to me when we were living in this house. When we first arrived we introduced ourselves to the neighbours and later in the stay she popped her head over the balcony overlooking us in the courtyard and said that she remembered me from many years back. As it turned out, I used to lead a walking group in North Adelaide twice a week in the early 90's and she was in my group. Today she is the leader of the same group, which, remarkably is still active. She also leads a free group on Wednesday evenings, which I felt was in my spirit of how to do things to build a better community and connections. It felt great to make this connection again. She had been a prominent, memorable, member of my group and I joined her on my final Wednesday in Toorak Gardens on her community walk which made me feel that I was completing a broken circle that had opened up since my passed. It somehow made a part of my life feel tidier and more satisfying that my past was enhancing my present.

We had loads of lovely walks with Ted and Lilly. Lilly was loveable and sensitive and Ted also, of course, loveable but also very silly and entertaining. We walked to Hazelwood park, Tusmore Park, when I visited my mother we took them to the beach and on a day trip to Victor Harbour, Port Elliot and Goolwa they joined us making the trips much more enjoyable than if we were alone. I hadn't understood how much Ted loved swimming in water, no matter what the weather until I experienced it in Hazelwood Park for the first time. He dived into the water and wouldn't come out. The first time he went in I was worried that he was struggling and waded in to rescue him, until he did it again and again and I learnt better.

I had memorable get togethers with my brother, sister in law and old friends. Most special was afternoon tea with my immediate family. I baked many semolina cakes that we enjoyed together. The Indian takeaway night with my brother and sister in law, catching up with Daphne with afternoon tea and getting to know her Stephen better than I had before and reconnecting with Carol from my past when she dropped in at short notice. It was a novelty to have such a social life which I haven't enjoyed in many years of moving. There was also the regular yoga classes on Wednesday nights.

Tomas left for Sydney a few days before this house sit finished to help out in Mosman with Boomer and Lyla owned by Robert and Barbara, who we had house sat for twice before and had become a pleasure to do. I joined him after handing Ted and Lilly back to their parents when they returned.

I can't wait to go back and do it again next year.

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