There is nothing worse than going away on business or on holiday and coming back to leaking pipes, slates off the roof and worse.
I live in a flat where, on separate occasions, the two previous tenants upstairs have had a blocked cistern, and left the tap on in the kitchen. I had been in my sitting room minding my own business when I started to realise there was a repetitive sound which all too quickly became a torrent of water through my ceiling. The cat was a little perturbed, she had been lying under the first drip but showed an amazing turn of speed after the first few drops. Water isn’t neat and tidy, is it?
Panic sets in, what to do first? I had to grab bowls, saucepans, anything to hold water and contain said torrent, then scamper upstairs to bang on the neighbour’s door.
The first time it happened, the tenant was out at work so I had to text the landlord who eventually got hold of the tenant who then came home to stop the water and on the second occasion, the chap hadn’t realised he had left the tap running so it wasn’t quite so bad as he was in but even so, had I been away working or on holiday, my ceiling could have been my floor when I got home.
The first time I heard the drip it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as the second time but by then I knew what to expect which somehow made it worse.
Now, I’m a belt and braces type of girl and thought afterwards if I had been away working even for one night and had taken my cat to the cattery rather than have the sitter at home, the outcome could have been so different. Not to mention if the water caused a short circuit in the electrical wiring and resulted in a fire.
I used to work away quite a bit, nothing glamorous but always at short notice and my cat was my priority so I needed flexibility and rather than having to fit in a hurried trip to the cattery, I could just phone the house sitter and she would “move in” as I left.
I live on my own so there is no one as my backup, which means my house sitter is my security blanket.
These things always seem to happen at night, don’t they?  But I knew if anything happened she would be able to sort it out, even if only to stop the water – so, next time you are going away, even if it is for one night, you should consider having a house sitter. Preferably, an insured professional from House and Home Sitters.
With all the instructions for the house sitter (and I leave reams!), it helps to leave information like where the emergency water stopcock is, the plumber’s number, in fact, all the maintenance numbers. (House and Home Sitters provide a handy 50-point Homeowner Checklist). Then you can ensure your pet is safe and not left floating about on a soggy bed, plus your home will be safe and dry when you get back. And there’s nothing nicer than coming home again to find everything fine and as it should be, is there?

Julie Fairbank
Guest Contributor (and a House Sitter with House and Home Sitters)