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MindMyHouse News 21 January 2006

by Susan Holtham, 22nd January 2006

Tune into the seventh edition of MindMyHouse News for all of the following: we take a discerning look at the big industry in Holland and the UK that is passive property guardianship; introducing a new section in our Community area just for you called ‘Meet the house sitters’; the Comments facility in our blogsite is now officially open; and we welcome our 1000th house sitter to the MindMyHouse family!

Posted in: MindMyHouse News2006

Dear MindMyHousies,

I hope that you are feeling refreshed at the start of 2006. If last year was something of an ‘annus horribilus’ for you then take heart in the fact that it’s over! We had a relaxing family time at home over the festive season. Despite having the coldest winter for a very long time here in England (and sitting around the oven for warmth) we hardly got a flake of the nice powdery white stuff (sob).

Can you believe that the MindMyHouse project has been up and running for close to 11 months? Wow! (OK so I’m impressed even if you are not). We had our 1000th house sitter join the site on the 14 January, which was something of a thrilling milestone for us.

Tune into the seventh edition of MindMyHouse News for all of the following: we take a discerning look at the big industry in Holland and the UK that is passive property guardianship; introducing a new section in our Community area just for you called ‘Meet the house sitters’; the Comments facility in our blogsite is now officially open; and we welcome our 1000th house sitter to the MindMyHouse family!

What else could I do? Passive property guardianship the ‘Camelot way’

I thought I’d start a regular spot in this e-newsletter called ‘What else could I do?’ to perhaps inspire you to seek more adventures along the lines of house sitting. It seems that there are many ingenious ideas out there on how to trade your services for an adventure and help out someone else into the bargain. We think this is a good thing!

First off, if you fit the rather narrow demographic profile (single, 25-35, living in the UK or Holland, working full time and with no children or pets) then you may want to try your hand at becoming a passive property guardian. A very entrepreneurial Dutch man, Joost van Gestel, has worked out how he can bring the owners (of disused and mostly industrial) properties together with willing property guardians (also known as house sitters) to meet each others’ needs. However, there is a catch to this arrangement as the guardians are required to pay a rather hefty weekly fee (up to UK£50) to Joost van Gestel for their accommodation. In setting himself up as the middle man in these arrangements, Van Gestel is collecting fees from both owners and house sitters and is undoubtedly laughing all the way to the bank. I’m not promoting his ‘Camelot solution’ but you may want to investigate further and see if it’s for you. And if you have been a passive property guardian I would love to hear about your experiences.

We’ve created a new section, ‘Meet the house sitters’, just for you!

You may remember that I was gushing about a series of house sitter members’ profiles that I discovered on a competitor’s website a few editions back. Well, we’ve launched our own section in our Community area called ‘Meet the house sitters’ to feature our members’ profiles! If you think you have a story to tell and don’t mind giving up your anonymity then consider becoming one of the first to be profiled on ‘Meet the house sitters’. If you are looking for a little bit of fame and even some more interest from home owners, write to me with an outline of your story. I’d love to interview you by email and compose 500 words about your life’s adventures and philosophies (for your approval before publishing – of course!) – you can learn more by reading this FAQ.

Comments facility is now officially open!

We’ve decided to open all of the articles, poems, stories and archived versions of MindMyHouse News in our Community area up for your comments! This is an experiment to try and get you, our valued members, to feel that the site ‘belongs’ to you a bit more. If you have been moved by a personal account of house sitting on our site or want to add your two cents at the bottom of a published piece now is your chance. You don’t need to be logged into the site to leave a comment and you can remain totally anonymous so don’t be shy! The editor will be monitoring the Comments to check that nothing unsuitable remains on the site.

Welcome to our 1000th member(s)!

When we launched MindMyHouse on 22 February 2005 we wondered aloud how long it would take before 1000 house sitters registered with our site. Now we know! As of today, the MindMyHouse project is only eight days away from 11 months old. We think this is a remarkable achievement as Google have yet to release our keywords from the metaphorical ‘sandbox’. (Excuse my IT jargon here – all will be explained in the first birthday issue of MindMyHouse News due out next month).

Pat and Ken
Caption: Pat and Ken Heaton in Spain

Anyhow, (drumroll…) come on down 1000th house sitter member! We are stoked that our long-awaited 1000th house sitter member should be not one but two New Zealanders (the editor is originally from the same fair country) who have a nice story to tell. Pat and Ken Heaton are retired sales executives who describe themselves as ‘young at heart, fit and healthy with a love of travel’. This retired couple have really figured out how to work with nature by moving from the southern to northern hemispheres (and back again) to catch the longest, warmest days. While living in their own colonial house in New Zealand from November to April (to enjoy the delightful beach and BBQ season downunder) they spend the northern summer (May to October) in England’s beautiful Cotswolds district. And why not?

Pat and Ken are becoming quite adept at caring for the resident animals at one of their repeat house sitting assignments. The stubborn nanny and billy goat whom they last sat for have since become proud parents so things will be even more interesting when they go back! Pat and Ken are looking for more house sitting assignments in Europe and we wish them the best of luck with it. We also hope that they take up the offer of a free lifetime membership with MindMyHouse.

View Pat and Ken’s sitter available advert on MindMyHouse. That’s all for now. Happy house sitting (or best of luck with your sitters!)

Susan Holtham
aka the team at MindMyHouse

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About the author: Susan Holtham

Susan Holtham

The editor at MindMyHouse is a fun gal, intrepid traveller (in a former life), holder of three passports and enthusiastic house sitter. A book editor by trade, she did a three-year stint with Lonely Planet Publications at the start of her career. During her time at LP she shepherded many titles through the production process. Baaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa! Now that two gorgeous little girls call her mummy she's a very busy woman tending to their needs and to the occasional cries for help from among our 5000+ membership. No really, she's always keen to help!