42 Melaleuca Court, Tea Gardens Grange, 33 Spinifex Avenue, Tea Gardens, NSW 2324
OUR NEW FIXED ABODE
42 Melaleuca Court
Tea Gardens Grange
33-93 Spinifex Avenue
TEA GARDENS NSW 2423
Well, well, who would have thought that we would buy for our New Fixed Abode, a beautiful 3-bedroom house in a Retirement Resort of all places – certainly not us!
Our lovely home at Horseshoe Bend in Buderim, Qld, was sold remarkably quickly; so quickly in fact that it seemed that it was meant to be. After all, we had only been in the house twenty months and from the start we had not planned to move again.
There was only one buyer and it turned out to be the one that mattered. We had spent our time in that house just spending money on getting it liveable – well, it was actually liveable but the longer we were in it, the more we realised just how much money we were going to have to spend on it.
David almost lived in his garden and he worked tirelessly just about every day, in rain, heat and humidity, to make it the pride of the Bend – which is how it was always described by our many neighbours. A terrific effort - and so did the boys when Tim came home for Christmas.
Talking of neighbours, it would be remiss of me not to mention here the kindness and friendship we found in the neighbours of Horseshoe Bend. They – and they know this – are a very special group of people. Just seventeen families made up The Benders and that was just the top half of The Be; , they made us welcome from Day 1, their shared-stories made us feel at home immediately, and from the start we were made to feel one of them.
It was much much sadder to leave The Bend in June 2014 than it was to leave North Rocks in 2012 where we had lived for almost twenty years. To this day, the Benders are all still very good friends and we are still included in their special mailing list – and have even been invited to their Christmas Party in December.
To find such a group of friends was never going to happen again. And during our wonderful 11,000km trip to the Top End and back, we kept wondering where on earth would we decide to live – and indeed what sort of a dwelling would make us happy. We’d had one of just about everything, so what could possibly be next . . . .
Farms, small acreages, and sometimes small villages were the types of places we envisaged living in – fulfilling our dream of having “a bit of land” and some space around us.
From Innisfail just south of Cairns, heading to Coffs Harbour we continued to think this way, and neither of us ever were able to come to a comfortable decision.
About two months ago, some friends mentioned Tea Gardens Grange to us and how kind of them to do this. However, we have to admit to giving it no more than a cursory thought – how could WE possibly consider living in such a place. A retirement village for us – most definitely not – no garden, no shed, no room for visitors – no!
Towards the end of September, however, we began to realise that perhaps we should just ‘look’ at the Tea Gardens idea. It was, after all, within relatively easy access to Sydney and family and friends, without having to put up with all that Sydney has become and NOT for us.
So it was with a bit of reluctance, and a definite lack of real interest, that we rolled into Hawks Nest Caravan Park last Thursday, 9 October. We set up the van and by the middle of the afternoon, we decided to at least find this place and do a ‘drive by’. No harm done, and at least we could say we’d seen it. We did have a Saturday morning appointment with the CEO to have a look around – but really only half hearted about it all and we’d take a look first and possibly cancel the Saturday morning visit.
And here’s the surprise … as we drove down Spinifex Avenue, we could see the rooftops of some lovely houses with well kept gardens, space around them too, and wide streets. We drove in to the first street and found ourselves both lost and surrounded by some really beautiful homes. This doesn’t even look like a Retirement Resort.
Could this be right – perhaps we’re not at Tea Gardens Grange after all, so we stopped and asked a couple walking in the street. Yes, that’s right you are in the right place – but the Administration Office is the next turn left into that entrance.
We turned round and headed for that office – and decided to drive around as we went. Well, to say the least we were astonished to see some quality homes, a quietness about the place, many different types of homes, each with a private small and beautiful garden. What’s this, we wondered .. can’t be a retirement village because we thought they didn’t look like that.
How wrong can you be? We made ourselves known to the Carer/Receptionist at the front desk – 24/7 care here should it ever be required! – and she suggested she ring Peter and he could have a chat to us. This was about 3.00pm.
After a long chat and inspecting a few houses and round 5.30pm we realised we had arrived at A Destination – and quite possibly Our Destination! We’re shaking our heads at each other by this time.
The Grange was built 14 years ago, and there are 190 homes with about 300 residents.
It is owned by RSL Life-Care which is essentially a charity organisation, and has the reputation of being a first class retirement village. All this was new to us – and we are learning more about it every day.
There were 3 homes for sale last week – two of them were single garages with 2 bedrooms; and the third in a really splendid position at the edge of the village had 3 bedrooms and a double garage. Bingo – that’s the one for us!
But what was the catch? We were invited to meet the elderly couple who were moving out. Meg and Ken, aged 84 and 93 respectively, had been there 13 years and were moving to a similar Village away from here to be near their family as Ken is very ill and they want to move before it’s too late. Family was important and they were happy to move.
We found them to be a lovely couple, smart, bright and with a lovely home. What a surprise – again! Chatting to them made us realise that this was indeed just what we were looking for.
Neither David nor I require any kind of medical help whatsoever – not even pills - so far. We are healthy, active, lively and want to see friends and family and do more travelling in our coming years, before we are too old to do so.
But – this Village ticks all our boxes. To start with it is certainly within our price range at just $475,000. There is a very modest weekly charge to administration for the care of the Village – in fact – once we decided that yes, this was the place for us, our new friend Peter who showed us around – dropped his bombshell …
… the entire house, once any owners leave, would be almost gutted and replaced with new carpets, new tiles, new kitchen and appliances, new bathroom and appliances, painted throughout, new blinds, new lights, new pavers on the patio – all at their cost.
The gardens are beautifully cared for, lawns mown, leaks are fixed, ovens fixed, bathrooms fixed – at no cost to us should that be required.
There is no stamp duty and we have secured our new home with a simply (and even refundable) $1000 deposit. I kid you not …
But the most important factor is that once we have been in it for 10 years, then the Departure Fee will reach it’s maximum and will be 30% of the (at that time) sale price.
However, with no stamp duty to pay for (which would be around $20,000) and the cost of all new fittings in the house, we reckon we’d be ahead.
We will have to pay for electricity (there are solar panels fitted already), and phone – plus our own household insurance – all things we would have to pay for anyway.
In any case, it would be our boys’ problem – but after discussing this with them, they are delighted we’ve made this decision – Tim even thinks he’ll come and live here and better still – he won’t have to worry about us. James thought it was a great idea too.
So folks, that is how we came to find No. 42, Our Next Fixed Above.
We will have a lovely home, which will be tended to by the Organisation at no charge to us, whether we are there or not.
Like the majority of the householders in The Grange, we look forward to joining in (and only if we want to), the model sailing boat club (on the lake each week); the veggie garden, the library, the gym, tai chi, the craft room, the film club, lunches, a free bus to Newcastle, Raymond Terrace, etc –
And perhaps be fortunate enough to continue travelling as and when we want to .. instead of spending all our money doing up a house which was far too big, too far away and a really just a lovely memory.
We have even found a storage facility for our caravan up in Tea Gardens.
There are beaches to walk on, ferries to ride on, fresh air to breath, fishing to do, restaurants and bars to enjoy, golf to play and, most important of all, someone else to worry about our home!
You will come and visit us – we know you will – and we look forward to seeing every one of you.
We’re not sure when we move in – possibly mid November.
Stay tuned ….