It’s never too late for a gap year, as Kevin and Kath Liggins have proved. The couple have been touring around England in a motor home, before moving into Earlsdon Park Retirement Village in Coventry!
‘It is something we can look back on when we move in, and say we are glad we did it,’ says 67 year old Kath. ‘It has been brilliant.’
Grandparents Kath and Kevin met when they were just 16 and have been married for 48 years. For 25 years they spent weekends camping and caravanning, first in a tent, then in a touring caravan, then a static caravan, and finally in a motor home which they bought seven years ago.
‘We like England,’ says Kath who has never wanted to go abroad and doesn’t have a passport. ‘There are so many beautiful places.’
The couple sold their bungalow last September and set off on the trip of a lifetime, with their 16 year-old dog Sam. They have been to Yorkshire, The Cotswolds, and the Peak District, sometimes staying just three days on one site. They plan to move on to Warwickshire and then spend the warmer weather near the south coast before they move into Earlsdon Park Village.
‘We like the fact you can just get in the van and go somewhere different,’ says Kath. ‘There’s no housework, no bills to pay. The weather has been quite good this winter and we have always been able to get out and about.’ The water tank froze one night but thawed the following day.
The trip has been like one long holiday. The couple have enjoyed watching the sunrise and the sunset, looking at the ducks walking on an icy lake near their home, listening to the owls hoot, and the birds sing.
‘It has been good. We have met some lovely people,’ says 67 year old Kevin.
The couple have also had to get used to living, sleeping and eating in the same area. ‘If I’m cooking he has to sit where he is or I have to move out of the way while he gets by,’ says Kath. ‘We get on fine together, if you were the argumentative sort I think you’d be pulling your hair out by now.’ They fold the bed back in every morning, put back the cushions, and get the table out of the wardrobe. When they want to use the motor home to go shopping everything needs to be put away.
‘If it’s raining you can’t hear the television, you have to switch it off and read a book. It wakes you up at night,’ says Kath.
The couple are looking forward to moving into their spacious two bedroomed apartment at Earlsdon Park Village. ‘We won’t have to worry about what the weather’s doing,’ says Kath.
Instead of going to the shower on the caravan site with their coats on they can enjoy their comfortable shower room instead.
The village will be home to over 350 local older residents, with 262 apartments for affordable rent and purchase and facilities including a library, and IT suite, café bar and lounge, hairdressing and beauty salon and craft room.
The couple, who say they still feel young at heart, are looking forward to meeting new people and to joining in activities. They are both planning to volunteer at the village. Kevin was a builder and Kath an office worker before they retired.
Kath has brittle bones and Kevin has heart and kidney problems and diabetes. They know that help will be on hand at the village if they ever need it.
They plan to sell the motor home but still want to go out on out on day trips or away for the weekend.
‘It’s going to be a new experience, we are looking forward to moving in,’ says Kevin.