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House Sitting


For the second time within a month, I was asked to do house sitting duty at our eldest daughter's home. No problem. She lives in a secure townhouse complex in the Johannesburg region where she presides as chairlady. Her second in command, (I shall call her Kay) would look in on me on a regular basis to see if everything was okay. Again, no problem.

On our first meeting, I had discovered that Kay held similar beliefs to me on the subject of the supernatural. We could chat easily about our 'visits' and experiences, with no indication of disbelief from either of us - it was reassuring to say the least. On my last stint of house sitting in March, Kay had lent me two books on the subject of Angels and Guardians, which I read with interest. ("Spirit Guides & Angel Guardians" by Richard Webster and "Angels and Companions In Spirit" by Laeh Maggie Garfield & Jack Grant). In the second book there is a chapter on Spirit Messengers which includes birds, feathers and smells, all of which I was familiar with. It also listed butterflies, which was new to me - I had never taken notice of them before, but now I did.

I spent most of my days outdoors, sitting at a table on the patio, soaking up the Autumn sunshine while reading. I was amazed to observe that I had a lone butterfly visit the garden every day, but never the same butterfly twice. Was this coincidence, or was I just being more observant?

On the Monday afternoon I had fetched myself a soda from the kitchen and decided I needed ice in it. I pulled the ice drawer all the way out and grabbed a handful of ice. When I tried to put the drawer back in the fridge it just wouldn't fit. What now? The fridge was just too iced up - it needed defrosting. Later in the day, a kind neighbour moved the fridge for me so that I could switch it off at the wall plug. The cleaning lady did all the mopping up the next morning. Problem sorted.

Wednesday was not a good day for me. I had been reading voraciously; I was in danger of running out of reading matter. The thought of not having a book to read in bed at night was intolerable. I went in search of something else to fill the hours. Laundry came to mind. Nicky, our daughter, had left a large basket full of dirty laundry - wouldn't she be surprised if I did it all for her. After the third load I opened the washer to a nasty surprise. Something had become unravelled and tangled up the whole load with miles of thread. As I painstakingly unravelled the mess, I saw that it was her expensive (?) heel-guards that was causing the problem. Oh gosh! I was in for the high jump. I would have to replace them.

That night, as I opened the fridge to get something out, one of the door shelves crashed to the floor. Why Now? I had opened the fridge numerous times since it had been defrosted and cleaned. There was an explosion of glass on the ceramic tiled floor and shards flew in every direction. Luckily the two dogs were on the patio - I raced to close the glass sliding door, shutting them out. If something happened to Them, I would be in deep, deep sh*t.

With dismay, I saw that it was a jar of imported ginger jam that had smashed. Something more to replace. By now, I was feeling extremely upset; first the laundry muddle, now this. I carefully collected the larger pieces of glass, depositing them in a plastic bag for disposal. The smaller shards I vacuumed up. As I was vacuuming the last traces of the mess, a butterfly alighted on the floor, inches from the nozzle. What the heck? Where would a butterfly come from at that time of night, and, in an enclosed house? Admittedly, the patio door had been open all day, but I hadn't seen a butterfly in the house. I hastily switched off the vacuum - I didn't want to accidently suck up my beautiful, jewel coloured messenger (vivid reds and oranges surrounded by jet black). I managed to capture it with cupped hands, then looked around anxiously to see how I could set it free. With cupped hands, I wouldn't be able to open the patio door - I didn't want to risk squishing my delicate captive. I looked towards the high (for me) kitchen window. If I stood on tip-toe maybe I could lift up the handle/latch with the back of my hand, push the window open and let it escape into the night. After a few nerve-wracking mistrials, I did just that. Now that was one for the books!

The next day, as Kay sat adjacent to me at the patio table, listening with glee to my tale, a sudden movement above our heads caught our attention. We watched a Cape Robin fly from under the eaves, across the postage-stamp sized garden, to settle just inside the high surrounding brick wall, where it was joined by its mate. The same species of shy bird that came so close to me shortly before our youngest daughter was taken from us. Kay enthused that it was another sign.

Kay mentioned to me that on a previous visit, some time back, she had observed someone descending the stairs. Nicky had been in the kitchen, Kay had been sitting opposite the glass door on the patio, looking in. When she told Nicky about it, Nicky said that she knows about it. 'They' always come down, never go up. Hmm... I don't recall Nicky ever mentioning that to me.

Nicky has the habit of switching on the front and back outside lights at night, then switching them off in the morning. I continued with this regime; didn't want everyone to know she was away. One morning I switched off the back light as I was waiting for the kettle to boil. The front light was switched off as I passed, on my way to have coffee on the patio. Later, maybe about 10 or thereabouts, I glanced up to find the front light burning. Um, maybe a memory lapse. Next morning I made a point of switching off the front light when I opened the security gate to let the dogs out. After I made my mug of coffee I went to switch the back light off - it was off already. Did I have a helper or am I going batty?

On Friday, or was it Saturday evening... Can't remember for sure, I prepared the dogs food. I preferred to feed them before I had supper. (Less chance of them begging for mine, lol.) I hadn't switched on lights inside the house yet; there was enough back-lighting coming from the kitchen window. I put the two bowls down in front of the closed kitchen door and called the mutts in to eat. They both came running. I turned back to the kitchen island/counter or whatever you call it, to prepare something for myself. I was facing the front glass sliding door when movement caught my attention. I glanced up to see the shape of a dog casually walking towards me. I thought it was Ash, the slightly larger male. That's strange, I thought. I swear I just saw him eating his food. I snapped around to look behind me. Sure enough, there he was with Muffin, both with their muzzles in their bowls. Naturally, I looked back to where I saw the 'shadow' dog - of course there was nothing there. On reflection, I never heard the sound of claws on the floor. Could it have been Toffee, the beautiful soul Nicky had to put down a few years back?

Nothing strange happened the rest of my days there. Hope you enjoyed my non-scary but eventful days of house sitting.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Fergie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Tweed (17 stories) (1924 posts)
2 hours ago (2017-05-22)
Hi Fergie,

Would your butterfly be a painted lady? They have an amazing migration. It really makes you think about how little we know about the critters around us. Smile This article explains it better than me:
There may also be some African mythology surrounding butterflies which could shed some light on flutterby companion.
Great read, I'd say you encountered Nicky's old dog too. As for the lights, I know the feeling. You just don't know if it's you, or a ghost, or what to think. Always leaves me wondering either way lol.

What an eventful stay! Laugh
Fergie (35 stories) (1079 posts)
1 week ago (2017-05-15)
Babygoatpuller, I managed to corner Nicky yesterday to ask about what she sees on the stairs. She admits to seeing 'someone' on the top landing, or coming down the stairs, on numerous occasions. She can't tell if it is male or female as it is too shadowy. She doesn't get a 'vibe' from the shadow, so it doesn't scare her. She also isn't sure if it is the same one all the time, or if there is more than one. My guess would be, it is the same one.

At first, she thought it was just her imagination, or a trick of the light, as she sees it from her peripheral vision. But, as Kay saw it 'full on', I presume it is for real.

Personally, I have not seen it - wish I could. Wink
Fergie (35 stories) (1079 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-11)
Hi BeautInside,

Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comments.

I too, never knew that butterflies could be spirits or spirit messengers. My only thoughts of them before, may have been "Oh, isn't that pretty". Now that I have read that book, I view them differently.

I also believe that the white feather was Angel's way of letting me know that Nicky was in safe hands... All would be well.

Blessings to you too. Love
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (322 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-10)

I do hope everything turns out alright for Nicky. I'm sure with Angel watching over you all, she'll be fine.

I recently went through a 4 month bout with stomach problems. I couldn't eat, couldn't leave the house, lost 20 lbs and was on so many meds, I couldn't keep track, had an ultrasound and a CAT scan. Finally went in for a colonoscopy and I haven't had a problem since. Nothing showed on it so it must've been the "clean out" before that did it. Laugh

If my Dr. Tells me one more time, "This is what happens when you get older", I'm going to deck her! She's young and perky and almost makes me wish I was in my 20's again. HA!
BeautInside (2 stories) (151 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-10)
Hi Fergie,

This was a lovely reading! Happy

I really do like a lot, and I mean a LOT, butterflies and wasn't aware that they could represent somebody who has passed away or a higher being! Loved it!

About the feathers, well I believe it was your daughter that somehow tried to tell you that Nicky was going to be okay, so comforting! Your experiences were just like fresh air to me, thank you for sharing them! Smile

Fergie (35 stories) (1079 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-10)

Ha ha, thank you. Once you have reached the almost mid seventies, you know it will be all down-hill from now. Easy going from now, lol.

Thanks for that anyhow, young lady. Laugh

No need to apologize for the interruption.

Regards, Fergie
Fergie (35 stories) (1079 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-10)
Ah! Babygoatpuller, my 'old faithful'. You seldom disappoint me.

About white feathers and Angel. Monday 1st May was the end of a long weekend for us. Nicky and an 'old' friend had come for lunch and to collect Shenay. Nicky was on edge as she was to be admitted to hospital on the following Wednesday for a procedure - she had been treated, unsuccessfully, for severe abdominal pains. As they were pulling out of our driveway, Ray spotted a white feather stuck to the right front wheel of her car. We called out to her, telling her of it. Ray subsequently told me that he had felt Angel's presence around all day while Nicky had been visiting.

Nicky's 'scopes' came back all clear so she was sent for a sonar. I was still worried; then I found a tiny white feather next to our bread-bin on the kitchen table. To me, just another sign that Angel would be looking after her big sister. Nicky has nothing life-threatening wrong with her.

You are correct, Shenay isn't so little any more - she is taller than me,lol. I must admit though, I suffer from 'ducks disease', every time I step off of a high pavement (sidewalk) I bump my a**. (A comic way of saying I am short.)
Shenay is a very bright, sweet and sensitive child - the light of our lives. So much like her mother.

I haven't found the right opportunity to speak to Nicky yet about the 'person' on the stairs. Hopefully I will get a chance to ask her this coming Sunday. I am so curious about that.

Kay brought me three good books to read before the end of my house sitting, rescuing me from boredom. I have always been a 'reader', since I first learned how at about the age of seven. I will read almost anything, but prefer historical novels. Archeology is extremely interesting especially Egyptian archeology, well for me anyway.

Thanks so much for your lovely comment BGP.

Be well,
Fergie. Love
Melda (8 stories) (237 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-10)
Fergie - I apologise for interrupting your conversation with Spiritwaiting. Don't ever see yourself as an old lady!

From one "young lady" to another Smile

Regards, Melda
Fergie (35 stories) (1079 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-10)
Spiritwaiting, you honour me; thank you sincerely. Shy

I was amazed to see how many types of butterfly were around, and I had never noticed them before. It was so curious that a lone, new butterfly would put in an appearance each day. Strangely enough, on the Wednesday, I hadn't seen a butterfly in the garden, but then that extra beautiful one showed up on the kitchen floor. I was extremely taken aback by that experience.

So sorry to hear of your allergies. It would put quite a damper on enjoying the wonders of nature. Sad

Yeah, the light switch business gave me a couple of "Huh!" moments. I still don't know if it was a playful spirit or just me going a little batty. It would be nice if it was a playful spirit - sort of comforting.

I am so glad you enjoyed my experiences, even if they were somewhat mundane.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It does an old lady's heart good, lol.

babygoatpuller (4 stories) (322 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-09)
Oh Fergie, you do enrich us with your "non scary" accounts. Every time I see a feather floating around, I think of you and Angel. Love How is little Shaney? Probably not so little anymore eh?

Did you talk to Nicky about the stair "person/people"? Why does she think it's a 'They'?

Hope you've found some good reading material to last you for awhile. I know exactly what you're talking about. When I get low on crossword puzzles, I start to panic. Laugh But it's just for a second or two. I can always read. Right now, I'm into archeology. Good stuff! Smile
spiritwaiting (33 stories) (773 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-09)

I really loved this one.
It had me giggling somewhat because you noticed the butterlfies entering the garden but different ones each day.

So unique that experience, and yet so simple. I absolutely love it.

It reminds me, everyday I try to take my walk back from my daughters bus stop just a little slower so I can enjoy the trees,nature,birds chirping. And then the allergies set in, and my non stop sneezing slaps me back into reality.

And the light switch ha that spirit seems like he was playing with you.

Thanks for sharing
I needed a regular experience to read. Loved it going into my favs!

Melda (8 stories) (237 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-07)
Fergie - Thanks for the reply. Good to hear Nicky was so grateful for the laundry and defrosted fridge. She obviously appreciates your motherly gestures!

Craig, my son, does indeed believe that the dove was a spirit. He believes exactly what I do, that it was the spirit of his paternal grandfather, who had a very soft spot for him and was very proud of all his achievements.

Well, time to join the rest of us in our humdrum lives Smile

Regards, Melda
Fergie (35 stories) (1079 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-07)
Melda - Thank you for reading and your comment.

Yes, it was an interesting interlude in my hum-drum life. I had to laugh at the "stuck in place with Prestick" comment you made. Nicky was so pleased that I had defrosted the fridge for her, and the clean laundry, that she easily forgave my mishaps. She wouldn't hear of me replacing anything.

What an interesting account of your son and the dove. Did he take it as a sign?
A few of my friends have had inexplicable encounters with various birds at stressful times of their lives.

The instances of smelling perfume or baking, had by Ray (my husband) or I are so common that I don't even bother to enter them in my journal any more. We just know it is our deceased daughter, Angel, saying "Hi!" It is nice to know that you have 'visits' like this too.

The visits by Kay, the butterflies and Toffee made me feel very special, and comforted. Happy

Regards, Fergie
Melda (8 stories) (237 posts)
2 weeks ago (2017-05-07)
Fergie - What an interesting holiday you had at Nicky's house. And yes, I am calling it a holiday! (Vacation to many others Smile )

Perhaps next time you are asked to house sit you'll find all moveable appliances securely stuck in place with Prestick and all laundry placed in neat little piles, for hand washing etc. Laugh

I too believe that spirits often appear in the form of birds and butterflies. My eldest son once had a wonderful experience with a dove which simply perched itself on his shoulder and stayed there for about half an hour, until he personally removed it and perched it on the branch of a tree. This was witnessed by his wife and a friend. He was going through a difficult time in his life at that stage. Anyway, I don't want to detract from your account.

I quite often also experience sweet perfume-like smells. In fact this happened to me again in the early hours of this morning and I just know that it was one of my sisters or my mother!

I wonder why your daughter never told you about the person on the stairs? Perhaps she held it back as a little "surprise" to keep you entertained!

As for the dog, he was probably dropping in to say "hi again" Smile

I think that some beings, besides your friend Kay, were all trying to make you feel at ease and comfortable and they wanted to make sure you knew it!

Regards, Melda

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