Housesitter in Gers-Mission Accomplished

31 Dec, 2023

Housesitter in Gers-Mission Accomplished

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One of our regular housesitters Robin who finds housesitting a great way to fund affordable travel recently found himself as housesitter in Gers, near Pau in France. He was housesitting for a retired British couple who had spent their working lives in the Airforce.

A lifetime’s memorabilia in the home and around the property inspired Robin to write this blog and to record a video about his experience and the joy of housesitting in South West France.

A housesitter in Gers, France

the pet dog standing in the rose bed observed by the housesitter in Gers France
The garden was a paradise for the pets and this housesitter in Gers

After leaving Australia it seemed to me that the opportunity to be a housesitter would allow me to investigate and experience Europe from within.

On this trip I had already spent time in London and found I could live in real homes as a housesitter, enjoying local recommendations for experiences suggested by my hosts the homeowners.

First housesitting assignment

My first assignment was to be a housesitter in Gers, in South West France, I would be staying in what the French might call une maison de caractère.

The property is located in the centre of the Armagnac wine region and surrounded by Roman ruins, but it is filled with a lifetime of souvenirs of the service lives of the fascinating homeowners.

Particularly interesting was the personal history of the homeowners, now retired from the British Airforce. Here is my piece inspired by my time as a housesitter in Gers.

Mission to Gers
Pilots flight sheet with a picture of a spitfire
I enjoyed some of the memorabilia around the house

Gers, France. There you will find a helipad, nestled inside a greedy bamboo forest, on a sloped prairie dotted with Daisies and Dandelions, overlooked by heaving willows, flanked by the infamous Armagnac vineyards.

At 09:00 hours I was picked up by Squadron Commander Jones from the civilian airport. Rather than take the helicopter into Gers, SC Jones opted for a more common form of transport, less conspicuous.

During the one-hour drive to the property in a civilian vehicle, I was briefed on my mission – I was to look after four souls: K9s Gibson and Leica, and Felines Tee-Tee and Spice. All terribly friendly.

One of the dogs sitting happily on the white sofa
Leica the older dog was happy in the comfort of her own home in the company of this housesitter to care for her

A briefing for the housesitter in Gers

Upon arrival at the base, Squadron Leader Pam handed me documents to sign, agreeing to guard the squadron in the absence of both her and SC Jones. I was shown my quarters – abundant, luminous and luxurious for what I was used to.

I unpacked my things and was fed well – a fried cod fillet with a side of mushy peas, a British staple I was told. It was unlike the food I’d been having in the South of Italy, and certainly unlike what I expected to find in the centre of France.

An arbor of pollarded trees in Pau France
The town of Pau was very attractive, bedecked with pollarded trees shaped into an arbour in the centre of the town
Equipped for the task of house and pet sitting

I had done some pet sitting before in Australia and have had pets of my own at home. So pet care was second nature. I am a photographer by profession so I was particularly interested in the beauty of the region and the

One real advantage was that I was provided with a private vehicle to reach nearby bases; patisseries, supermarkets, the local bistro, a coiffeuse and the nearby towns, Nogaro, famous for the Paul Armagnac Circuit, and Auch.

To most people Auch is known for it’s monuments, Course Landaise and canopies of conjoined plane trees shading the local squares, to us, it is the quiet town where twenty years ago there were two unsolved murders in one month.

Ancient Roman bath in the centre of the town of Nogaro
The town of Nogaro had some wonderful ancient sites, like this Roman Bath

Household routines and duties

Every Tuesday, the house-keeper came to wash couch covers, beat the cushions, wipe dust from the mantel and move things about. She refused to speak English to me, I guess she didn’t know how. However, she responded to my requests with a taut smile and enthusiastic eyes, wide and beaming and fixed on mine.

I had to adapt, I wasn’t in London anymore, it was good for me to hear another language, though I communicated mostly by gesticulating and over-articulating.

Communications with the outside world were uninterrupted via the wireless fidelity network, this kept me up-to-date with the latest intelligence and allowed me a steady channel directly to the Squadron Leader and Commander.

Beautiful sunset over the fields
The sunsets were stunning overlooking the fields and vineyards

Supplies for the duration

The garage was well stocked with lumber, though I only needed to use the fireplace twice as it was nearing the end of an ailing winter.

To stock up on food supplies during mission, at certain intervals I meandered throughout the village, the shops and markets.

This housesitter in Gers has time to wander

Wandering among the coiled trunks of dormant vineyards, along the old rusted train line now overgrown by weeds and carelessly crossed by deer, I also visited the humble cemetery on a white rocky hillside, and walked past the abandoned washing pool, now a monument lined with algae.

It’s easy to ponder your hopes and dreams, and your woes, in the quiet, in Gers, watching the bumblebees float from Roses to Crocus, the tall dewy grass tickling your ankles, under the radiant sunsets and undulating clouds.

Recommended viewing prior to your mission: Blue Thunder, Platoon, Hacksaw Ridge, Black Hawk Down, Apocalypse Now, 1917.

cat lying on the back of a white sofa
Tee Tee the cat was very friendly and laid back

Need a house sitter?

In general, getting a house sitter is an excellent option for many reasons, as they will step into your shoes and look after everything at home while you’re away. Your pets will be cared for in their own home and routines maintained, your plants will be watered, your mail will be attended to.

Your sitter may also be willing to do a few extra things, like cut your grass and harvest fruits and vegetables from your plot.

Most importantly your pets are cared for in their own home.

dogs playing in the large garden
Care for pets, 2 dogs & 2 cats in this case, is expensive. Pet loving sitters are an affordable alternative

Profile photo of author in the shadowsRobin is a regular house and pet sitter for HouseSitMatch and also a professional photographer, originally from Australia. he travels and writes about his housesitting experiences for us on our blog.

And house sitters are free!

An added extra is that home sitters through a house sitting platform like Housesit do not charge you extra for the jobs they complete and ensure that your home is not an invitation for burglars looking for unattended houses. They take care of your home and pets.

Travel with the added peace and comfort of knowing your home is safe and sound in the care of a checked Housesit Match house sitter. You no longer have to panic and say ‘ I need a house sitter ‘ you will know what to do.

Further reading about housesitting and trusted long-term house-sitters

At Housesit we like to share useful blogs and practical advice to help you answer that question about why might you might need a house sitter. Our recommended further reading is about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs useful.

London calling – London house sitting

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Housesitters keep pets safe at home and save money

Preparing a home for a house or pet sitter

What is House Sitting?





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