We meet a fascinating couple who have enjoyed a rich and varied life, living in some immaculate properties; none more so than their current park home in Norfolk.
Over the past 16 years, Doreen Midgley and partner Peter have lived in some fabulous homes but they all lacked something… until they found their park home at Breydon Waters, at Burgh Castle, in Great Yarmouth.
‘I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I stepped into this park home,’ explained Doreen. It was 12 years old, but beautifully renovated, sited on an enviable plot in the far corner of the park. Breydon Waters was originally an orchard but today provides the charming setting for 40 well presented park homes
Doreen’s journey has been fulfilling, interlaced with some challenging times. But her positive, fun and focused outlook has enabled her to achieve the successes she has experienced.
Doreen was one of three girls brought up in London. She attended the local grammar school and initially worked for Royal London Mutual, in Moorgate. She married at 20 and moved to Yorkshire. She says it was rather like being in a Catherine Cookson novel, suddenly working as a winder in a woollen mill and being away from busy London was quite surreal! Four years later they moved south and spent many years based in Pinner.
Doreen is the proud mother of two children, Dawn and Gary, five grand- children and two great grand-children.
It was in her 30s, as a single mum, that Doreen started work with a local building “The results have been brilliant. The home maintains a steady temperature so the heating doesn’t need to come on.” company. Greatly valued in her role as assistant to the chief accountant, and part-personal assistant to the managing director, the company offered to purchase her a house in Addlestone, Surrey. It was a job she really enjoyed and in which she learned lots (she’s very good with money!). However, nine years on, circumstances forced the company to close. Suddenly, Doreen was not only without a job but without a home, too.
Doreen promptly applied for a job in a local estate agent where she carved out a second successful career. The director at the time helped Doreen to buy her very first property, which was a maisonette (she doubled her money when she sold it). Starting off as a property manager, Doreen worked her way right up to senior management.
At 55, Doreen decided to retire. Her father was elderly and needed some family assistance and so Doreen bought a bungalow near Clacton, ten minutes from her father. Boredom got the better of her though and she started working in a nursing home that was opened by
Princess Diana. Not everybody can walk to work along the beach, but eventually her hours became too long and demanding.
At this point, Doreen had become re-acquainted with Peter (35 years had passed!) and romance was kindled. The Yorkshireman eventually moved to join Doreen permanently. They are a couple who are clearly at ease in each other’s company. Peter is a snooker and carpet bowls fan (with many trophies to his name) and Doreen is an avid reader. They enjoy eating out and regularly take weekends away; sometimes a hotel break, but a favourite is Seacroft Holiday Park, in Hemsby. Doreen has a particular interest in Ancient Rome and historical England and is now very close Roman ruins, locally.
Community that counts
Over the past 16 years, Doreen and Peter have purchased and lived in five different homes. Initially, they wanted a larger property but then moved to be near her son Gary, in Norfolk. When Gary and his family relocated, Doreen and Peter moved to an idyllic bungalow in Caister-on-Sea. But something was missing. Doreen sums it up in one word‘community’.
Doreen explained, ‘We had lovely homes but we were at risk of being stranded. Amenities were always spread far and wide apart and we wanted to be with similarly aged people, with a similar outlook.’
Doreen added, ‘We both prioritise enjoyment of life and happiness over money. So we took the view that we would part-exchange our bungalow to enable a speedy move to a park home. Quick Move Properties were very helpful.’
When they moved into their home at Breydon Waters in October 2015, it offered everything they could have wished for.
The large three-bedroom 45ft x 20 Tingdene home has an impressive modern, shiny white kitchen, separate dining area and lounge, wet room, beautifully fitted bedrooms and is newly carpeted throughout. The surrounding gardens needed some initial attention but, a keen gardener herself, Doreen happily maintains them and proudly boasts she still uses a manual mower!
The best reward of all is their neighbours and the great community spirit on the park. Doreen and Peter are touched by the welcome they received and are already forging good friendships. There is a post office-cum-shop on site with other stores in close proximity, plus there is full access to facilities such as a swimming pool and a social club in the neighbouring holiday park.
‘We won’t be cold again!’
Doreen and Peter were keen to have the underside of their home serviced by Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS). They were also interested in the PHCS underfloor insulation system, as their floors were chilly and heating was costly. Doreen said, ‘We looked at cavity wall insulation but realised the cold was coming from underneath so the PHCS underfloor insulation system was the ideal solution.
‘The results have been brilliant. The home maintains a steady temperature so the heating doesn’t need to come on. Although the lounge has large windows, it’s the warmest room now.’
Doreen had been slightly concerned before the installation in case of any upheaval or intrusion but she was taken with the politeness and tidiness of the PHCS team.
She was even worried that there may be a residual smell from the materials so she positioned onions in each of the rooms to act as neutralisers. She happily reports that there were no smells, the onions weren’t necessary, and they had to eat them all up in the end!
The latest addition to the home is a balcony extending five feet from the French windows to the garden. As is the case with most park sites, external timber structures are not permissible, but this is made from an imitation material cleverly mimicking cherry wood and warm birch.
As the summer sun warms and the flowers bloom, it is the ideal seating area from which to enjoy the tranquillity and views beyond. Doreen and Peter have definitely found their final destination. They have found everything they truly wanted to fulfil their lives.