If Ryman Healthcare was a type of apple, it would be the Golden Delicious, according to Carmel and Peter Barton.
The Bartons are the first residents to move into Ryman’s Cambridge village and proudly admit they have been researching countless retirement options up and down the country over the last 20 years.
“Peter had a spreadsheet,” says Carmel, who used to work in administration at the Ministry of Transport. “The big things for us were the exercise space, the library, the swimming pool and future care.”
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Adds Peter, a retired fire safety officer: “Many of them were either too old, or they didn’t comply with the current building standards, some were suffering from leaky home syndrome and some didn’t have the full scope of care.”
“We were trying to plan ahead,” says Carmel, who has to manage arthritis in her arms and hands on a daily basis and has had two knees and a hip replaced.
“There are all sorts of apples but they’re all different – Gala, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious…. Ryman were top notch, they were the Golden Delicious, they get the prize!”
It was Carmel’s arthritis combined with her shorter stature that led her to ask Sales Advisor David de Veth about lowering the height of the washing line.
The response blew them away.
“David has been wonderful to work with – he’s always available, he’s a lovely, cheerful person and he always went that extra yard.
“And Ryman is now looking to lower the height of their washing lines across the board!”
The couple has got house moves down pat, thanks to moving around from Christchurch to Orewa with Peter’s work, with their recent shift from Paraparaumu to Cambridge marking their 16th.
They say they aren’t fazed about the construction continuing around them having previously been ‘the first on the subdivision’ with four previous house builds under their belts.
Their cute chocolate spotted silver British Standard tabby cat Misty loves watching the workmen going to and fro from the window!
The unpacking is mostly done so Peter and Carmel can now look forward to enjoying life in their new home.
Peter and Carmel have two daughters and a grandson in the Wellington area but have moved to the Waikato to be nearer to Peter’s extended family.
Both are from large families, and it was when Carmel visited her brothers in New Zealand from her native Queensland in the late 1960s that led to her meeting Peter, looking very handsome in his firefighter uniform, in Tokoroa.
“I sat across from him and decided I was going to marry him, but he didn’t know it.”
Fifteen months later, the couple wed, pursuing shared interests such as Car Club, and then raising their family. It was regular stops in Cambridge for ‘eats and treats’ that put the picturesque country town on the map for them, plus being back in the Waikato where they first met.
As the village begins to fill up with residents, Carmel and Peter are looking forward to making new friends and enjoying all the facilities and lifestyle options that will be on offer. And for Peter, it’s all the things he won’t have to do any more that are the icing on the cake.
“I won’t miss the maintenance and looking after the property!”