Colin and Marian Hargreaves
The following is probably far too long now and I will edit it down soon. However ... We have been successfully house-sitting in England, France and Australia for four years.
We are interested in house sitting as a way of staying for a reasonable period of time in a relaxed environment (not a hotel), so that we can really get to know the locale rather than just be a tourist popping in to see the major tourist sites and then moving on. We would like to get to know the way of life in the area. We have been here in Berry since April.
In the past, we have had border collies that are great fun and never tire of walking (!) and cats of no special breed, one of which now lives with one of our daughters. We had family pets for some 20 years and thus have lots of experience looking after pets, including house cats as well as outside cats. When we stop travelling, we will certainly have pets again. We have almost always had chickens.
We love gardening. When we lived in New England we restored the homestead's garden from an acre of thistles to a decent garden in which we planted varieties that were suitable for the soil and climate there. Unlike most of Australia, we had severe frosts, being nearly 1000m above sea level. We have experience with all types of mechanical gardening equipment, including ride-on mowers. I have ag-bike certification.
We also have experience looking after pools, including our own, from small plunge pools to large swimming pools, both salt water and chlorine.
We did a lot of restoration work on the homestead, which included filling, sanding, painting, carpentry, carpet laying, guttering and quite a bit of plumbing. We essentially had to do everything ourselves at the homestead as professionals did not like driving the three hours it took to drive there and back to town. We also cut all our own wood for heating.
We would now like to live in or near a town for a while, rather than 80kms out of town. My wife and I, during our careers, have both lived in cities (London, Edinburgh, Canberra, Sydney) and we greatly enjoy the cafe life and visiting art galleries and churches.
In 2016, we had a great house sit looking after a French chateau near Niort in the Deux Sevres region of France, for two months. We were invited back for last year, 2017, as well. The owners wanted us to look after their lovely dog, Victor, a Weimeraner, and very large garden, which included using a variety of mowers including ride-ons. We also maintained their pool and nurtured their flowers and plants both inside and outside the chateau.
Frome June last year to April this year, we were house sitting since in Europe. The first sit was near Auxerre in France, looking after two tiny Shih Tzu dogs. Going from one extreme to the other, the second was near Plymouth, England, looking after the largest dog we have ever known, a Beauceron, a young, incredibly large dog but extremely loving and caring. This was followed by looking after a beautiful collie near the Cevennes in Southern France, with marvellous walks in the mountains. We then had a two long 3 month sits in South-West France.
We have both owned and rented properties and understand the identification and attachment people have with both their properties and their pets. We have had and can show you a 100% perfect rental record and would be very happy to maintain regular contact while you are away and send you photos of your pets having a great time with us.
If you would like to know more, we would be very pleased to come over to see you in Kiama Downs, but here are some basic biographical details.
* My wife and I have been married 41 years and have four children (an accountant; a Qantas pilot; an ex-Army Qie and now reservist; and a registered nurse) and six lovely grandchildren. When our children were young, we had dogs (collies), cats, hamsters, white mice, chickens, and even goats. My wife and I both love music; I play classic and jazz music and my wife played the viola. We do not smoke.
* We have dual nationality, Australian and British/EU, after moving to Australia 30 years ago.
* I used to be an academic; my last position was as a Senior Research Fellow at ANU and I am now a member of the ANU Emeritus Faculty. My wife is an art historian but she has taught English as a second language for the last 15 years.
* We use other house sitting sites such as Trusted House Sitters and Nomador. If you have a log-in to those sites, you can read our references; otherwise we have uploaded screen captures of some references from the other house sitting sites. Please go to the photos section to find these screen captures and for a copy of my Police Check, dated 13 Sept 2017. My wife and I also have "Working with Children" certification. We needed the latter for teaching children.