The moment Henderson resident Diane Garner met her new next-door neighbours Dave and Judy Brown, she had a feeling they would all get on.
“We were introduced by the land agent and we just got on, from that day on,” says Diane.
And that’s proved to be true, because during the 18 years of living side by side a firm friendship has developed – so much so that they’ve now decided to move into the same apartment block at Ryman Healthcare’s new retirement village on Lincoln Road.
Dave is quick to point out that they don’t live in each other’s pockets but they have had a few routines over the years that they plan to continue in the village – all except one that is!
“We get together for drinks every so often or a cup of tea,” says Diane. “And every Saturday I exchange my NZ Herald for four eggs! Judith and Dave have got chooks and I get the Herald but I don’t like the weekend one because it’s too big. So we’ve been swapping for a few years now!
“We won’t be taking the chooks with us into the village though!” Judy adds with a laugh.
The idea to move into the Lincoln Road village was first planted by Diane about a year ago when construction first began, but the idea didn’t initially appeal to the Browns.
“I used to just jokingly say ‘that’s where I’m going’ thinking that in a couple of years I would move in, and Judy used to refer to it as ‘Diane’s house’!” she laughs.
“Di said to me ‘if I go down there will you come too?’ but I said ‘No!’” says Judy.
But then when Diane came back from holiday in the new year, she found her friends had changed their minds.
“Judy called me in and said ‘We’re moving.’ I said ‘where to?’ thinking it would be out by her daughter’s and then she said they were going to Lincoln Road!”
Judy said after having time to think they realised they wanted to put things in place for the future.
“We thought as we got older we might not be able to do the housework like we used to and with the village having all the different care levels, the resthome, hospital and dementia, it’s there if we do need it and we don’t have to move anywhere else,” says Judy.
Dave, who ran his own joinery business in Mt Albert for many years, liked the village’s proximity to DIY stores and supermarkets and he loved the flat site it was on.
And they all agreed that no more lawnmowing and house maintenance was a great proposition!
Since her friends were now on the same page as her Diane decided now was the time and the three of them went through the process together.
“Amy the sales advisor came out and saw us all together and we all went and had a look at the Lynfield village together,” says Judy.
Dave said all their questions were answered during the tour: “We asked about the money side of it, and the furnishings and car parks and all that sort of business.”
All that was left to do after that was to sign on the dotted line, which Diane did the day after Judy and Dave!
“We’ve got one above the other, I’m downstairs and Judy and Dave are upstairs.
“We wanted to be in the same building,” adds Judy.
With their move-in date slated for early November the focus has been about getting rid of surplus possessions. Judy’s volunteer role down at the local hospice shop has been handy in providing the perfect destination for them.
“I take things every Tuesday that I go,” says Judy, who often gets Dave to fix up the furniture items that come in. “And Diane can take her stuff there too!”
One of the great things is that the village is local so Judy can continue with her hospice work and helping the children with reading at the local primary school, and Diane will keep up with her weekly walking group, RSA outings and picking up the grandchildren.
But the best thing?
Says Judy: “With this decision, we’re looking after ourselves.”