A day in the life of the Fab Five
Morning tea at The Avenues dishes up much more than just a caffeine hit. The daily ritual provides residents with a regular opportunity to mix and mingle. And for one particular group of mates ‘The Fab Five’ – who also happen to be the cover stars of the Winter 2021 edition of The Villager magazine – it’s the perfect gathering place to cook up ideas and plan adventures.
Conversations often revolve around travel, a passion shared by all five men. But while the brainstorming usually takes place over tea, more detailed holiday plans are often thrashed out during village Happy Hours, and the men’s twice weekly games of pool.
We’re a group of five single men aged between 76 and 90 who all met since moving into The Avenues,” says Dick Williams, whose accomplices include fellow-residents Barney Sowerby, Hans DeBeer, Ray Simpson and Warwick Kingston-Smith.
Morning tea is available every day for residents and we men usually all sit together. That’s where much activity is discussed and organised.”
Two years ago, the group toured the lower South Island via rail, and last year they’d planned an overseas cruise – although COVID-19 put a stop to that.
The Fab Five’s latest jaunt? “We’ve just returned from touring the Bay of Islands and the Far North,” says Dick. “We flew to Kerikeri, hired a van and stayed six nights at the Kingsgate Hotel in Paihia.”
Highlights included a conducted tour of Ninety Mile Beach and the Cape Reinga Lighthouse, a slap-up seafood dinner at the Swordfish Club, and of course nightly pool games at the hotel.
We all had separate adjacent rooms and were able to please ourselves where we went each day, covering all the interesting areas. Each of us lives alone so it’s great to have a group of friends you can travel with – we probably wouldn’t go on our own.”
The companionship, support and friendly banter have woven an unexpected magic into the lives of all five men.
Age does not have to be a barrier for people with a positive mental attitude. We all live in apartments at The Avenues so regular contact happens easily and we all watch out for each other. Friendship contributes so much to your wellbeing and sharing your concerns about aging helps tremendously. There’s no need to be lonely.”
So where to next for this fantastic Fab Five? According to Dick, that’s still under debate.
There is so much planning at morning tea times for months ahead, much to the amusement of other residents. It may take time to get agreement for the next excursion!”