Sue Parritt, Victoria Regional Meeting
Mark and I have been making plans together since the late 1960s, when we visited Australia House during our 3-day London honeymoon to apply for assisted passage. Over half a century later, as retirees living in bayside Victoria, we were considering the pros and cons of “downsizing” by visiting local retirement villages and perusing real estate advertisements. So, imagine our surprise when a chance phone call to Martha’s Point Retirement Village resulted in an unscheduled relocation! We viewed the only vacant villa on a Friday, paid the deposit on Saturday and sold our house privately on the following Tuesday!
Some friends thought we were mad; others endorsed our, to us, hasty decision. There followed a spate of sorting, packing, and divesting – to local charities and Op shops – including the selling of Arthur, Mark’s 1959 Morris Minor panel van that he had lovingly restored ten years earlier. Arthur was purchased by my nephew, Peter in Queensland and now shares a garage with Valerie Valiant. We are delighted that Arthur remains in the family. Fortunately, we were able to keep Mark’s other 1959 Morris Minor, Muriel, now residing in our villa’s double garage alongside my 2001 Toyota Celica, Cecily. My first car was a 1937 Austin Ruby and our first car in Australia was a 1953 Morris Minor, which may explain our enduring love of elderly vehicles.
Following an unforeseen problem with settlement of our Prince Street house – the best laid plans etc. – we moved to Martha’s Point on May 20. Mark refers to our downsizing as “future proofing”, which to him meant ensuring we were settled in a home and location suitable for our twilight years, before we became too old to face the upheaval.
Four months later, we have no regrets, our new home is comfortable and easy to care for, our courtyard garden blooming following renovation. Gregarious Mark has joined the Green Thumbs Gardening Group and enjoys chatting to fellow residents over a glass of wine in the community centre, or anyone passing our house as he works in the garage. I have taken up aqua aerobics, a surprise to a sedentary author who spends solitary hours in the study pursuing her retirement career of creating novels. Despite the Martha’s Point pool being 4 feet deep throughout – I am about 4’ 9” these days – I find the exercise beneficial and enjoy the camaraderie with other participants. A monthly book club enables me to meet other bibliophiles, while movie afternoons and the occasional lunch or dinner in the community centre also prise me from fictional worlds.
Another blessing is that Mornington Friends can continue to meet for worship in our home. I explained to the village manager that Quaker worship is mostly silent, having no hymns, sermons, or communal prayer. However, I didn’t mention the noise level during morning tea, but so far there have been no complaints!
I have always found the Advices and Queries helpful guides to living the Quaker way. I joined the Religious Society of Friends in 1967 as a sixteen-year-old and have tried to take heed to the promptings of love and truth in my heart, to live adventurously and let my life speak. So, when making relocation plans with my beloved husband of 52 years, I took heed of Advice #31, believing it is wise to approach old age with courage and hope…. Pray that in my final years I may be enabled to find new ways of receiving and reflecting God’s love.
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