From bonnie Scotland to The Orchards
It’s a long way to go to retire, but a trip to New Zealand saw Helen and David Douglas decide to move from Scotland to Metlifecare The Orchards on Auckland’s North Shore. We heard from Helen all about their colourful lives and selling a painting to royalty!
Hi Helen, what made you decide to move from Scotland to New Zealand for your retirement?
Both of our sons married New Zealand girls – one was from Auckland and the other from Christchurch. Our youngest son and his family now live in Perth and our elder son has twin girls here in Auckland. They persuaded us to come and live either in Australia or New Zealand, so that they could take care of us in our old age. We’d visited both countries and decided on New Zealand.
Tell us about your life in Scotland
David was born in Kirkcudbrightshire and I was born in Edinburgh. We married in 1970 and moved to Fife, where we had our two sons and lived in Aboyne Aberdeenshire for around 30 years. Our life in Aboyne was very happy. It was sad to leave all our friends, and it was a big decision to make, but we love our life here in New Zealand.
What made you choose Metlifecare The Orchards?
It was on our 2015 trip to New Zealand that David saw an advertisement for a retirement village, which led to us visiting 15 villages and finally deciding we wanted to live at The Orchards. We moved in and we have never looked back. The reason we chose The Orchards was its size. There are only around 130 residents, which gives the feeling of being a big family. We love our apartment, it backs onto the local college and has a lovely, open outlook. We thoroughly enjoy taking part in the village activities and I run ‘housie’ and a ‘Beetle Drive’ every month.
Helen, you’re an established artist, tell us about some of your career highlights?
I joined the Upper Deeside Art Society in 2005 and we exhibited our work at Balmoral Castle, from April until the end of July, when the Queen was in residence. Our other exhibition was in Ballater and the Duchess of Cornwall opened this every year when she was at Birkhall with Prince Charles. It was at the 2015 exhibition that Duchess Camilla bought one of my paintings.
Are you still enjoying painting in your retirement?
Yes, I have kept up my art and have exhibited at The Estuary in Orewa and The Lake House in Takapuna.
We hear David is a writer – tell us more!
David has published four of the 13 books he has written. He wrote them initially for our granddaughters, however some of the residents have bought them for their grandies too. Poems David has written have also featured in the Village Manager’s weekly update. Life is good here at The Orchards.