Diving into each day 

Annie is an accomplished artist. With contemporary oil paintings on exhibit at the local art gallery in Havelock North. “There are only a couple left for sale now. I’ve offered to do an abstract piece of the view out my windows for the village. It’s quite interesting and I’d like to do an abstraction of that next.” 

She’s quick to describe her glorious view at Ryman’s James Wattie Village. “I have an extraordinary horizon line of Mount Erin, Te Mata Peak, and all around the hills. On a very clear day, you can also see the snowy top of Ruapehu.” 

Her decision to move to James Wattie came after two years spent DIY-ing a 1920s villa. “All of a sudden, I thought ‘this is going to get hard’, and most of my children are overseas. It was a serendipitous moment and the right decision to make once I realised it was time to downsize.” 

Now, with time to enjoy the things she loves, Annie is having fun. Between painting, health and fitness, her love of reading, movies, and socialising, she’s also found time to join a swimming group – with a twist. “We swim in the ocean. The Mermaids, that’s what we’re called,” smiles Annie. “We’re all great mates. I’m lucky I have a lot of friendships. My lovely mermaids.”  

And when she’s not splashing about, Annie travels abroad to visit family. With some grandchildren based in the South of France and more in Melbourne. “It’s part of why I like to keep fit – so that I can travel. You have to be fit to travel alone,” she explains. 

Annie lives how she wants. Quietly painting, loudly socialising, swimming in the ocean with her mermaids, and taking off whenever she likes to visit family. That is Annie’s measure of a full life. 


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