Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hilda, Hilda, Hilda

Today the girls and I drove their Grandma J into Hamilton to attend her Aunty's funeral. It was a private funeral, in fact neither myself or my girls had ever met Aunty Gracie, who sadly had suffered with dementia, so we were just giving Grandma J a lift in and out of town.

Aunty Gracie was 97 when she passed away and was my mother-in-laws father's, baby sister. It seemed odd taking my 84 year old mother-in-law to her aunty's funeral. We worked out that she in fact would have been my daughter's oldest living relative and was their Great, great aunt.

Near the funeral home there was a retirement village, where Grandma J's cousin Shirley lives so I offered to take her there for a visit. The poor lady suffered a stroke quite a few years back and has trouble speaking, and is on a frame, etc. We had never met her and Grandma J hadn't visited in a while so we thought it best if the girls and I waited outside.

We had no idea what the place was like but when the girls and I drove in, it was like ... wow! Beautiful homes and the most gorgeous landscaped gardens everywhere. Much to the girls delight I had one of their cameras in my bag, so we were more than happy to have Grandma go visit awhile and for us to go for a walk around such a lovely village.

So weirdly this whole post is photos of our wander around a retirement home. This picture above is of the road that we drove down when we entered.

There are near a couple of hundred self contained units but there is also a main hospital, for those people that cannot live unassisted, seen in this picture behind the bowling green / petanque court that they were redoing. You can just see the top of my cream car on the very far left of this photo parked outside the entrance.

Here's a closer pic of the entrance.


This wee lake was right behind me ... they even have ducks!

And this gazebo was right beside the little lake. The girls were a little apprehensive as there were a loads of bees buzzing around the roses and lavender.

I took this photo from the little bridge. Those are some of the many private units in the background.

Another wee waterfall ...

These pathways run along between all the units. I think it's supposed to be their backyards as they don't actually have any fenced yards and their front entrances run off the roads that run along the other side of the units. There are also lovely wooden bench seats dotted along the walks.

We me a few gardeners out and about keeping the place tidy. Even though they have obviously employed gardeners for the village, you could see that some of the residents had added their own little touches in their own gardens, like windmills, different flowers and ornaments. Some had garden furniture out the fronts on their porches too.
It's only 10 kph so we were able to wander along the roads quite comfortably. We had a few golf carts pass us. I wasn't sure if they were workers or residents but they all waved and spoke to us.

Agent Smelly was quite taken with their "olden days" (as she put it) street lights.

And their letterboxes. They are all the same throughout the whole village ... a little bit Stepford, but it all looked really neat and tidy and welcoming.

The Fashionista was taken with the street signs, which were just signs with the unit numbers. At the beginning of or walk we met one old dear on a zimmer frame who had started to walk down a path in front of us. She then stopped, turned around and walk back towards us, smiled and said "problem with this place is all the streets look the same and I keep getting lost".  We laughed, she laughed and we all went on our way.

When we wandered past the end of the hospital we came across the indoor pool (and spa and gym). Well that was it for my girls. Agent Smelly wanted to know if we could shift there.

The Fashionista wanted to know if they had a church and I realised that she was scoping the place for Grandma J. The girls are now trying to talk Grandma J into shifting there so that they can go and stay with her.

I later read that they also have a hair salon, library, chapel, Internet cafe, dining rooms, indoor bowls, pool table and a bar!

We spent 3/4 of an hour wandering around in the sun, amongst the most beautiful landscaped gardens on a perfect spring day. It was so lovely and relaxing. Like a little oasis.

We finished off a lovely visit by meeting cousin Shirley who walked Grandma J out to the front door to see her off. 

Co-incidentally this retirement home is where Aunty Gracie had also spent her last years, so when Grandma J was telling her cousin Shirley that she had just been to Aunty Gracie's funeral, some of the other residents also who had know Gracie commented on what a dear and lovely lady she had been so that was rather nice.

I wonder how long it will be before I can go retire there ... hmmm?

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