I sometimes think things are meant to be …..
I was getting tired of “commuting” to Sydney to see my daughter and three young grandchildren, and then my son decided to leave London and come out to Sydney with his wife and children. I was reluctant to leave my wonderful friends, and particularly my tennis group – we had played together for 40 years. I lived in a beautiful town house on a block with the retired Governor-General Sir William Deane and his wife in the other house. They had often said “Please don’t move, Hilary, as if you go, we may have to leave as well”. Fortunately I was able to sell to a person with whom they felt comfortable.
A friend from my book club in Canberra kept mentioning this place “Watermark Castle Cove”. I was against the concept of being in “a retirement home” but Watermark was so close to where my younger daughter lives that I suddenly thought I should investigate this place. It felt just right and certainly was far from being “a retirement home” and actually more like a luxury resort. So I made the decision, to move down here to be near my children and grandchildren.
Having moved here, I’ve found that Watermark has met my need in every way, particularly as I’m a silk painter and there’s a lovely art and craft room. I’ve also found that the people here are like an extended family. This includes the Directors and Staff, who could not be more friendly or helpful. Having been brought up in England in a village during WW II, and having moved numerous times as a naval wife, I feel this is a home made in heaven.
Architecture that pleases an architect
Watermark resident Russell Jack and best mate Geordie like nothing better than to take a walk in the bush and both are making the most of what Watermark Castle Cove has to offer since taking up residence. Russell moved to the North Shore in 1935 when his parents made the move from Melbourne to Killara. After leaving school at 18, Russell joined the Air Force but could not shake the dream he had since he was 10 years old of becoming an architect, so commenced his study by correspondence until he could take it up full time. In the final year of study Russell won a travelling award and set sail for Europe meeting his future wife Pamela, on the trip across. Pamela, also an architect, married Russell on their return to Australia 1954. Some two years later Russell went into practice in Sydney with partner John Allen and commenced John Allen & Russell Jack Architects (now known as Allen, Jack & Cottier).
In 1956 Russell built the family home in Wahroonga, winning the prestigious Sulman Award for Residential Homes from The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. This award winning family home is where Russell and Pamela raised their son and two daughters. Russell feels he had the best of both worlds in his career as he taught and practiced architecture, working initially as a part time teacher then full time at NSW University before retiring in 1997.
Russell become a widower about five years ago and felt at this stage it was time to move on so commenced his search for a new home and fresh start for him and his best mate Geordie. Russell found Watermark met all their needs, particularly with an architect designed apartment that welcomed pets, close to shops, public transport and of course most importantly walking trails and off leash areas for Geordie. Watermark’s great location is also closer to his children allowing him easier access for visits.
Not A Care In The World…
After leaving the house we had lived in for almost fifty years we have now begun our new life at Watermark. Maintaining our former home was becoming a real chore and now we can look out on a beautiful garden without having to water and weed etc. Our happiness increases daily as we have more time to indulge in activities that we really enjoy. Castle Cove shops are close by. Buses to Chatswood and the city are only a short walk away and leave frequently.
As part of the Watermark community we have wonderful amenities – a branch of the Willoughby Library, a Gym, Putting Green, Cinema and Card Room to name only some of the activities available to us. We have a caring General Manager and a Maintenance Man who are both willing and able to help us if needed and we have a call button to use in case of emergency. We feel that our move to Watermark was a sensible decision to make and that for us and our family our cares and responsibilities have diminished.
A Non Believer Converted…
I am writing this as someone who was a non-believer eighteen months ago. When my partner came home and said he had seen the plans for Watermark and that he was very interested, I was quite horrified. There are a few things I said I’d never do. One was buy off the plan, the second was that I didn’t like the idea of retirement villages, and the third objection was living in an apartment building, plus the fact that I didn’t think I was close to being old enough for a retirement village, although I am over 55. Another of my concerns was having to pay levies, but then I realized I would no longer pay land or water rates, nor building insurance and I have no maintenance costs at all.
Well, my partner was so annoyed that I wasn’t interested that I thought I should at least meet him half way and have a look. On seeing the plans I have to say I was impressed and agreed to put down the holding deposit, thinking well, if I absolutely hate it, we can drop the whole idea and it’s cost us very little.
We have now been living here for three months and to cut a long story short, you couldn’t dig me out. I am still working three, sometimes four days a week, and my partner is still fully employed. The pleasure of walking into our apartment every night, with brand new appliances, superb finishes, always looking like something out of House and Garden (because it’s so easy to care for) can’t be overstated. Besides that, there is the cinema, or, for those who love their sport, the big screen in the cinema to watch football etc. Then there’s the gym, if I’m not fit now, then I never will be, all the equipment is there at my doorstep. We have a putting green, a bowling green, a games room. For those who like bridge, we can have up to ten tables in the games room. It is also there for those who want to drop in and have a game of Scrabble, or a number of other games supplied for the use of residents and their friends. Then there is the snooker room. I’ve never played before, but my partner and I go down after dinner some nights and I try his patience, but it’s fun. We also now have the Castle Cove library and a community centre as part of the complex. Willoughby Council opened this last week.
We have a beautiful restaurant, with a commercial kitchen, and, on one of my days off, we had a cooking class. I thought I could cook, but obviously you’re never too old to learn. I certainly couldn’t have produced a delicious three course meal in 45 minutes prior to that lesson. I’m really looking forward to the next one. On the subject of food we also have communal vegetable gardens and are currently waiting for the first crop.
All in all, thank you Chris, Enzo and Tony who have developed this property and who have spare no expense to do it well. I look forward to being here for a very long time.