With housesitting – you never quite know what to expect!

4 Jan, 2017

With housesitting – you never quite know what to expect!

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Mike and Marion, a retired British couple from Tenbury Wells started housesitting only a few years ago. They thought that with their love of animals and experience of running their own small holding they would be set and ready for anything that ‘housesitting; could throw at them! Their winning submission for the HouseSitMatch ‘New Voices’ Blog competition entertained and informed us about just why that was not quite the case. Congratulations!

With housesitting growing in populartiy the world over we at HouseSitMatch love to share your stories. One way we do this every year is to host a housesitting blog competition in 2016 we asked ‘what is your favourite thing about housesitting?’ And we were stunned by the quality of entries. Thanks so much to all who entered. It has been a hard decision to decide on a shortlist of entries. This is one of our top three blog competition entries. Please congratulate Mike and Marion on making the shortlist with their blog  – ‘My favourite thing about house sitting is – you never quite know what to expect!’

My favourite thing about housesitting is…

about housesitting - Mike walking the dogs
Mike walking the dogs

…you never quite know what to expect!

We are Marion and Michael, a retired couple who have professional backgrounds and who owned a smallholding in the country town of Tenbury Wells where we had sheep, dogs, cats, geese etc. We have been house and petsitting for five years and diarise our journeys and experiences throughout Europe on our Facebook page so that family, friends and indeed home and pet owners themselves can enjoy our experiences with us.

about housesitting - the dogs wait in the van to go to the lake
Taking the dogs to the lake

With housesitting we think it is the element of surprise that keeps us entertained.

So what is our favourite thing about housesitting? Well, we think it’s the fact that we never quite know what to expect when we agree to an assignment. We know that we are going to care for treasured pets in hamlets, villages, towns and cities where perhaps we have not been before, so from that point of view it’s very exciting. We feel very honoured that people who do not know us are entrusting their pets and homes to us and once the assignment is over we look forward to seeing their faces, initially showing some apprehension and then breaking into smiles when they realise that Smokey or Jack or Bonnie have been well cared for and that they have come home to a sparkling home and a meal in the fridge.

about housesitting - dogs helping with the gardening
Favourite things about housesitting – the unexpected pleasures

We have made so many new friends through house and pet sitting and it’s given us new challenges in our retirement. The very first housesit abroad we undertook was in a tucked away hamlet in France, very far from the madding crowds, and we were to care for Min and Womble, two dogs that had been rescued in the Caribbean where their owners had had a business. Seclusion was not the word for where the huge farmhouse was situated, but – and this is one of our favorite things about housesitting – it transpired that those owners had lived very near to us in the UK and that Marion’s legal firm had completed many conveyancing transactions for them until they left for the Caribbean. Yes, housesitting has confirmed to us that the world is a very small place!

With housesitting we are constantly surprised. We were asked many times to return to that first housesit and we felt we knew the property so well, but one day something happened that threw Michael off kilter a little. The gas supply was from a huge underground tank, which needed checking from time to time. On one occasion, as Michael lifted the cover, he was greeted by his nemesis – a long snake.

with housesitting - Mike dressed to deal with the snake
Mike ready for the snake!

Now Michael loves all animals and spent many years in Africa when he was younger, but snakes? No! So he came back to the house and geared himself up with protective gear for the encounter with that snake. (Photo above). How did he fare? Well, the snake had gone when he lifted the cover again – sighs of relief. With housesitting you can never underestimate the challenges to be faced!

about housesitting - saving a hedgehog from drowning
Rescuing a hedgehog from drowning

So we never quite know what will happen next, and that is one our favourite aspects of house and pet sitting. On another occasion we needed to rescue a hedgehog who had found himself on top of the swimming pool cover of a property in the Charente, and had he wandered close to the edge could have fallen in and drowned had we not come out in time.

Housesitting offers a great opportunity to visit quirky places

With housesitting we also love visiting quirky places of interest such as Luc sur Mer, near to Caen, where there’s the skeleton a giant whale that was found on the beach there in 1885. It’s in the gardens at the rear of the Mairie and we would never have known of its existence had we not done some homework previously.

about housesiting - the unexpected included a whale skeleton in France
Whale in Lac sur Mer 1885
about housesitting - whale skeleton behind the mairie
Whale skeleton displayed behind the Marie in Lac sur Mer


In that area too we were fortunate enough to see the wonderful sculpture called ‘Conditional Surrender’ (photo attached), celebrating the end of World War II; later to experience a ride on the mechanical elephant in Nantes (photo attached) – all of which (and more) we would never have had the experience had we not been asked to look after pets and homes.



So, to answer the question “What is your favourite thing about housesitting?”. It’s difficult to separate one aspect because the whole experience is housesitting itself, something that we intend to continue for many years.


To start your housesitting adventure or to find your housesitting solution register with HouseSitMatch:

To register as a House-sitter follow this link

To register as a Homeowner follow this link



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