My wife is a well of good ideas. Well, she thinks her ideas are good ones, but sometimes I beg to differ. She has her moments, but in response to some of them I smile politely, then cross my fingers she’ll forget.
A couple of years ago, she suggested that – as we nudged towards our 60th birthdays – the time might be right to think about down-sizing. We were in a four-bedroom home, and her thinking was that selling up and buying smaller gave us the opportunity to put a few quid away for a rainy day, but also find a nice community where we would be happy to retire. It all seemed perfectly sensible to me, and my wife was on the case in no time.
Indeed, days after that conversation she told me she had seen a place we should go and have a look at. She showed me a few interior photos, and it looked lovely. She then told me it was a Park Home, and my developing interest immediately waned. Sorry, a non-starter.
Why was I so set against it? I don’t know, to be honest. But it wasn’t for me, and the idea was dropped. Well, I thought it was. But cunning as my wife can be at times, she refused to bury the idea for good, and last summer, suggested we go for a Sunday afternoon drive. “Let’s have a ride over to Stratford (upon-Avon),” she said that morning, knowing I love the place, and would be happy to oblige.
And as we approached this beautiful town she suddenly threw in the curve ball: “Pete, if you carry on through the town, there’s a lovely new Park Home development about 10 minutes the other side, heading out towards the Cotswolds why don’t we pop by and have a look…” I had no alternative.
The site was Marston Edge, in Lower Quinton, and it was, literally, a 10-minute drive from the Stratford town centre. It was easy to find, and within minutes of parking my car, I felt myself in the early stages of a massive ‘about-turn’. Honestly, it was that quick. But the positioning of the site had me sold from the moment I climbed out of my car. It was beautiful, and so was the scenery surrounding it, as were the villages nearby. Even the local garden centre we stopped at for refreshment was awesome too, and that’s from someone with a natural aversion to gardening!
With each show home we viewed, I felt myself increasingly warming to the idea. My wife, by the way, fell in love with the site and the homes immediately. For me though, I needed to think carefully before committing myself. But I was definitely taken in with Marston Edge, and the following Sunday we went back. Once again, I Iooked closely at all the show homes, and my initial warmth became a genuine interest; so much so that by the following weekend, on our third visit, I was hooked. A week after that, we paid a deposit, and put our house up for sale.
Six months later we moved in. New Year, new home. Mike Brain and his wife Jeanette own the site, with Avon Estates project managing it on their behalf, and they have been amazing all the way through the process, and beyond, too.
This time last year, if someone had told me I’d be moving into a Park Home, I’d have responded with a ‘yeah, right’. Now I’m in one, and I absolutely love it. The home itself is incredibly cosy and warm – metaphorically and realistically.
All my life I have loved visiting Stratford-upon-Avon and living in the country is something I’ve always wished for, and now I am. As I write this, in the tranquillity of my lovely new office, it is delightful to look out at trees and greenery all around, and free of the persistent hum of cars driving by, or the rattle of a bus passing by every half hour.
The community was another big plus for me, living in a friendly, secure, maintained environment. But what also struck me was the diverse range of age groups – the site in Long Marston is described as ‘luxury living for the over 50s’, but there are people who are, like me, still working, but looking long term, some who had just retired, and others long since retired.
At this point, I should say my father lives with us too. Yes, there really is room for the three of us, though the homes are essentially designed for couples.
I have happily conceded to my wife that this was not just a good idea, but easily the best one she has had for many years. I love my new home. And I will gladly endorse this move to anyone who may seek my opinion.
Peter Jones - Resident at Marston Edge