Dave, 75 and wife Susan, 74, have been keeping active during the pandemic by tending to their allotment at Great Alne Park. They say being outside in the fresh air has been a great help and being part of a community is important as you get older.
“We heard about Great Alne Park through our daughter who lives not far from here. We first came to have a look when it was very much a building site and very early days. When we came back to visit our daughter we went to the village to see how it was coming along and as soon as we drove up the driveway we said ‘wow’. There was a south-west facing apartment on the ground floor with some garden, so we said yes we’ll have it straight away and went back and put our house on the market.
The position so close to our daughter and way the village has been landscaped and is so open with lawns and plenty of places to walk was a big factor in deciding to move here.
Our apartment now is much easier to maintain, we used to have a three bedroom house with garage and garden. My wife wanted to be on the ground floor so she can still play about in the garden and it’s great having no stairs.
Since we’ve been here we’ve got a small allotment and have been growing basil, parsley and chives, and also potatoes, tomatoes, beetroot, cabbages, courgettes, leeks, runner beans, corn on the cob, parsnips and lettuce.
Having the allotment also keeps your mind active because you have to think about what you plant in which month. Getting the fresh air is good, and it’s a double-helping of exercise because you have the walk to and from the plot and the gardening when you’re there.
We’ve also joined a bowls club in Stratford-upon-Avon. We do bits and pieces at the village too, I like going to the gym and swimming and it’s easy to get into an exercise routine here at the village.
I think it’s important to be part of a community and it certainly helps having friends and neighbours here. If you’re in a house on an estate you usually know one or two people, but here you know everybody. We all see each other and say hello and socialise in the restaurant and bar at coffee mornings, lunches and dinners. We’re much more sociable then we used to be.
I think as you get older, especially if you lose a partner and you’re in a house by yourself, you’re bound to get a bit lonely, some say the television is their best friend. At least here if you are single there are other single people here you can talk to and once Covid stops go on holiday together, if you’re that way inclined. I would say loneliness is more by choice in a place like this, but if you want to socialise there’s plenty of people you can talk to.
Lockdown has been pretty easy for us really as we have kept busy with the allotment which is just minutes away, we also have a woodland walk which goes all the way around the village. When things were at their worst the village team delivered essentials like milk, eggs and bread and would even deliver meals if we didn’t wish to cook.
We’ve kept in touch with friends and family via telephone and skype, we’ve been in touch with lots of people and even our friends in America. We’re quite tech savvy which has been a big help.
We’re very happy here, we do enjoy the facilities here and feel very safe.”
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