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John and Jean, who met in 1959, three years after John had won a cycling bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics, believe in making the most of their free time. Now, they enjoy the occasional cycle ride together, Jean goes swimming and enjoys Chi Ball (T’ai Chi with a bit of Pilates and a bit of Yoga) and they regularly host friends and family in the restaurant and coffee lounge at The Sailings.
Before the move, they were both feeling worn out by the upkeep of their family home.
John comments: “We were living in a massive five-bedroom, two-bathroom house and it was just getting too much for Jean. I couldn’t do much and she was doing all the work. She didn’t realise but she would come in of a night and she was exhausted.”
When the couple painted the exterior of their house, two years before they moved, it had cost them a huge sum due to the size of the house and the scaffolding required. Even the indoor cleaning was hard to maintain with eight-foot-high ceilings. The maintenance of the house and garden was becoming a full-time job for Jean and left her with no time or energy to do anything else.
She said: “I didn’t want to be tied to the house. I wanted to go out and do things.”
John added: “It’s better for both of us here. I can go cycling. Jean can walk to the shops, use her bike and go for a ride if she wants to, and we have plenty of friends here. We should have moved years ago.”
Soon after moving, they’ve already got a busy social life: “I’m making friends here. I do a lot myself. I go swimming, I go to Chi Ball – it’s T’ai Chi with a bit of Pilates and a bit of Yoga. I go out and join things so I’m helping myself. I go to the church every Sunday morning and I walk into town. We’re getting a pilates class here soon. When the weather gets better we’ll go out on our bikes together.”
John adds: “She goes once a fortnight to Knit and Natter in the lounge and they never stop. They’re chatting and chatting away. I’m doing my jigsaw here and she’s happy! We had a coffee morning the other day and all the new neighbours came and she was chatting away to them all. I think it’s really good here.”
“Our youngest daughter Rachael, lives in Brighton now and she came for Christmas with her son Luca who’s 11, and her partner Martyn. They stayed in the guest suite here and they’re coming again this weekend.
“Helen, our middle daughter lives in the Wirral and she came last weekend with her husband, David. Their children, Oliver and Philippa came up here the day we were moving in and the restaurant here made us a lovely dinner.”