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Stories II

More of the good stuff for your enjoyment. Who would have thought that house sitters and home owners could be so inspired to write about their assignments (and their sitters)?

Flowers make wonderful pets

‘Flowers are helpless. They can’t even turn on the hose.’ So begins Henry LeFevre in this ode to his beloved ‘pets’. Henry thinks his flowers won’t let him go on vacation. If only he knew that he could find a free flower-sitter through MindMyHouse. (But you knew I was going to say that!)

From summer to winter; Wild animals!; From salad to soup

Six weeks spent house sitting in northern California seems to have done wonders for celebrity Kiwi chef, Alison Holst’s, appetite. Funny how seeing rattlesnakes and mountain lions make you want to eat soup and salad.

A perspective on houses

After living in 200 square feet of yacht for years on end, Todd and Ellen Mandeville found themselves lost in the cavernous spaces of someone else’s house in Auckland (New Zealand). The pluses of their house sitting gig were being able to finally scrub out and de-clutter their boat as well as enjoy the luxury of daily baths and citrus fruit off the trees outside. The minuses? Their teddies were suddenly very prone to falling out of the family bed. Cute.

House-sitters anonymous (reference for a house sitting star)

What happens when your isolated home stands empty for a while? I’m guessing you can see the removal truck-sized answer to this question coming a mile away. Introducing super-sitter, Roger.

To leave home, find someone to leave behind

A loving dissertation on one American woman’s quest to find a good, free, available house sitter. According to freelance writer, Karin Winegar, the existence of such people diminishes with the age of the home owner. ‘Not so!’ says the editor at MindMyHouse, ‘you just need to widen your search to an online database of enthusiastic house sitters’.

Willy Trolove: Unusual talent for living in other people’s homes

Willy Trolove and partner are really hunting for a little patch of New Zealand to call their own. Since starting their quest to get onto the property ladder, they have gone from naïve and full of hope to…something else. Nice to discover that you have an unusual talent for living in other people’s homes.

Partially perished parrot

Buckbeak the princess parrot has full-time house sitter, Clare, at her beck and call. Despite being lovingly blown on and having her beak stroked, Buckbeak suffers an affliction common among the aged of any species. Nobody mention that insensitive Monty P*thon sketch!

New means to friendship: the house sitter

Three Long Island stories of happy house sitters helping out busy home owners in the Hamptons. These home owners discovered an easy (and reassuring) way to take the worry out of caring for their second homes while they weren’t there. If house sitters Butchy, Kathryn, Carlos and Melanie can become friends with the owners of their (spring, autumn and winter) homes, maybe you can too!

A season in Cairo

Erika O’Neill was only 19 when she landed a house sitting gig in Cairo, Egypt that changed her life forever. When the house’s Scottish owner went back to his summer home in the damp, cool climes of bonny Scotland, Erika moved in and found her bliss. Not in a man – but in a culture and a language that made her feel totally alive.

Upon returning from a brief vacation and I seem to remember that we said we might have brunch this Saturday (a poem)

Will the real house-sitter stand up? Julia wonders whether her folks’ tradesmen have gone over the Iguazu Falls in this poem written in the throes of her house sitting assignment.


A six-month sabbatical is a whole lot more enjoyable when you’ve found a house sitter to hold the fort at home, even when he’s seen to be moving his drum kit into your sewing room. Academic couple, Anne and David, extol the virtues of young Jason the house sitter – ya gotta love the kid!

Ten homes a year

‘Frequently, my desire for quiet times reminded me I needed a home of my own. So I borrowed ten.’ So begins retiree Frances Turney’s tale of how she discovered ‘the friendly trade’ of house sitting for people in her community. With her career behind her and no home of her own it all worked out swimmingly…

Sitting pretty

By a stroke of luck, Australian girl Vicki Williams beat 900 other applicants to a plum house sitting job: a month spent minding an old stone farmhouse in Italy’s Le Marche, the ‘undiscovered Tuscany’. Reflecting on her time house sitting for Giovanni and his two Scottish terriers, Alfredo and Luigi, Vicki couldn’t think of a single reason why she shouldn’t have done it (apart from the scorpians).

Trust. The T-word.

‘It is…happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.’ Samuel Johnson. So begins maïa’s treatise on the beauty of trust. This writer, philosopher and traveller has been house sitting full-time across the planet for the past six years and swears she’s never met an ‘un-nice’ home owner. Their one act of trust is multiplied many times over, says maïa, as she is then able to help others from wherever she finds herself.

House-sitting politics: food, perfume, dogs – all mine! Or is it?

The New York Observer’s New York diary gal’ Maura Kelly seems to be on to a great thing with her summers spent house sitting luxury apartments in the Big Apple. But she’s a house sitter with a finely tuned sensibility: Just how many liberties can she take with the owners’ stuff? Hmmmm.

Signs and wonders

Writer and theology student, Jonathan Callard, is looking for some kind of revelation while on house sitting assignment in Berkeley, California. He ends up having a tussle with one of the absent couple’s precious heirlooms. But do fir trees really spontaneously combust? And to what ends of the Earth does a house sitter have to go to avoid violating city codes? Luckily the neighbour with the Navajo earrings wasn’t watching the whole thing (but the cats were).

Home Alone 3: Macauley finds cat poop, and other tales

Writer and theology student, Jonathan Callard, had several near misses while searching for a room to rent in Berkeley, California. Not a ‘psycho’ at all but a ‘good egg’, Jonathan just wanted a sunny room in which he could find the space to pray. Not much to ask? But for now, Roshi the cocker spaniel and Zoe the cat need his companionship and care (no biting!).

Nothing left to salvage

Australian woman, Seargent Rachelle Heath, was stationed in Cyprus when she got the news her Canberra house had been burnt to the ground in a bush fire. Here’s a tale of how your house sitter will go the extra mile to save your treasures. (Nelson Mandela would enjoy reading this.)

Power outage

Powercuts can bring on the most fantastic behaviors. Published poet and academic, Diane Thiel, found an anthropologist’s collection useful in fending off the ‘power outage’ boogieman while on house sitting assignment.

The online housesitting nightmare

Writer guy, Will Fleitch, found himself burned out after the demise of his (now legendary) contemporary culture website, Ironminds. So what does an adventurous but unemployed, broke and homeless, dot-com casualty do for kicks? He decided to rescue his friends and take on what could have been New York’s weirdest house sitting gig. In his own words ‘They couldn’t stand living under the gaze of 32 webcams, so I thought I’d give it a shot’. (Warning: this article contains some adult content.)