Andy and Wendy Metcalf moved to Cheveley Park, Grantham in 2007 and feel like they’re on holiday, despite still working!
Andy and Wendy were relatively young (51and 49 respectively) when they embarked on park home living, a completely new way of life for them. They hadn’t known anything about park homes until Andy started to research options for downsizing at retirement. Intrigued by the idea of a park home they started to investigate various sites and ended up purchasing a park home before their retirement!
Andy and Wendy met when Andy was 17 years old, and Wendy was 15 years old. They have been very close partnership ever since. Andy and his family lived in Nottingham City and surrounding areas. School was enjoyable but he was happy to leave at 16 when he commenced a four-year electrician’s apprenticeship. Wendy also lived in Nottinghamshire with her grandparents until the age of 11 when she moved back with her parents.
It was when both their families were living in Colwick that their romance blossomed. As Andy’s brother knew Wendy he was able to provide a form of introduction for Andy when he’d spotted Wendy in town one day. Wendy says it was the hot pants she was wearing that did it!
Their relationship was intense from the start; they even planned a baby! This wasn’t met with enthusiasm from her father who refused to talk for three months or give parental consent for marriage. Gretna Green was increasingly becoming the only option! Fortunately her parents came round to the idea and Andy and Wendy married when she was just 16.
Initially, Andy and Wendy lived with both sets of parents until they rented a very dilapidated old terraced property in Radford. It was a two up, two down with no bathroom and a toilet down the garden! There was also no hot water. The property was located in a slum area of Nottingham but they loved living the 18 months there until a compulsory purchase for demolition was issued!
Times were difficult; they had two little babies during this time (Andrea and Richard) with no washing machine (or disposable nappies). Andy was still serving his apprenticeship; after work he would drive Wendy to her job as a cleaner at the hospital whilst he put the children to bed. These challenges could well have caused a wedge between them but their relationship and bond was strengthened
After training, Andy worked for Boots the Chemist at their main factory in Beeston. Employed as a forklift engineer he maintained and repaired electrical forklifts within a massive complex of warehouses. This was an exciting period as it provided opportunity to delve into electronics and technology which was undergoing radical change.
Andy had a lifelong career in electrical maintenance albeit many jobs. In fact he generally didn’t stay much longer than two years in each given employment but that was because he was always headhunted and was offered a higher salary and better works van!
The housing ladder
Andy and Wendy were keen DIY enthusiasts; Wendy with the creative ideas and Andy putting them in to practice! Their skills enabled them to purchase fairly rundown properties which they were able to ‘do up’ and acquire equity.
The first property they bought was a two bedroomed flat in Netherfield. They had hoped for a council property but because they were told they would need to buy something themselves as they were married and would not qualify for assistance! Fortunately in the late 1970s, 100% mortgages were available at low interest rates. Andy’s parents kindly donated the deposit enabling them their first rung on the property ladder. The flat was habitable but they ripped it to pieces and three years later was able to buy a four bedroomed house in Sneinton which by all accounts was a horrific wreck at the time of purchase! For the bulk of the children school years they resided at Burton Joyce in a newer semi-detached property.
During these years Wendy ran a small childminding business which she thoroughly enjoyed. Andy meanwhile had been working for Pedigree Pet Foods in Melton Mowbray on a contract basis where he was responsible for the electrical maintenance of the factory machines and building infrastructure.
Make a dream come true
When Pedigree Pet Foods offered Andy a full-time permanent contract they decided to move to Melton. Unfortunately this was too far away for Wendy to continue her childminding job. She worked in various part-time jobs but missed being around young children. Their own children, Andrea and Richard were at school leaving age and therefore Wendy decided to forge a new career for herself.
Wendy had been brought up on the notion by her parents that she had laid her bed and wouldn’t have a career for herself. Deciding to dispel that myth and in doing so improve her self-esteem, Wendy decided to enrol at college for a nursery nursing training course. Aged 32 Wendy challenged herself to obtain five GCSE’s alongside the nursery nursing qualification – achieved within two years. Wendy worked for the local primary school for the next 14 years during which she also obtained the higher HMC qualification.
Amongst long work hours and DIY’ing, Andy and Wendy both played and belonged to a badminton club. Andy was also a keen runner for pleasure.
Wendy didn’t stop there and in her early 50’s challenged herself further. Wendy started a new role at a college where she trained and assessed nursery workers and later became a lecturer at Melton College during which time she obtained her PDE (Professional Diploma in Education). Her study for the University course was carried out on Wednesday evenings after her normal daily working hours. Nine o’clock (the time she finished) became the rewarding wine o’clock!
Andy had long worked continental shift patterns meaning he would work mornings, afternoons or 12 hour night shifts with just one weekend off a month. One may cope with this better in younger years but it takes its toll eventually. Wanting more quality time, Andy started to research options for when he was in a position to retire. They wanted to downsize, release equity, add to the pension fund and be mortgage free.
Change for better
It was when Andy plugged the words ‘retirement home’ into Google that park homes suddenly sprung to his attention. The more Andy and Wendy looked at different park sites – even as far as Cumbria – the more interested they became. Even more exciting, they realised that they could downsize prior to retirement.
The park home they eventually purchased on Cheveley Park was easily accessible to both Andy’s and Wendy’s workplace. They calculated the budget they were prepared to spend on their park home – they saw bigger and more expensive but were thrilled with the home they decided on. It had been sited on the park for one year but was brand new.
With deep rooted DIY genes it’s no surprise that Andy and Wendy have made changes to their park home! Andy revamped the walk-in wardrobe to an office and fitted new wardrobes in the bedroom. They’ve changed the kitchen, put patio doors in the dining room and have constructed a special outbuilding named ‘The Jungle’ on the outside decking. This is Wendy’s seating creation with African influence. In addition they have built a bar outside which is named ‘Moo Inn’! It’s a favourite of the neighbours!
Since the first moment of falling in love with their park home they still remain blissfully happy. Although not keen gardeners they have a wonderful large plot with much given over to decking, slabs, pots and grass at the front. The views to the front enjoy the magical hills of the valley.
There is a warming sense of community spirit on the site. The neighbours are friendly and caring. It can take three hours to mow the front lawn as everyone enjoys a chat as they pass by! The residents are not in each other’s pockets, but watch out for each other which is comforting. As Wendy is relatively young on the site she often offers to get shopping for others if needed. Sadly she is currently nursing a fractured foot and in cast – with good intentions she was taking some bread and milk to a neighbour in the dark and fell – in true form she remains bright and animated.
When they first moved to Cheveley Park, Andy would happily go under their park home but these days he is less keen and wants to avoid the risk of getting stuck underneath! A big concern of Andy and Wendy was the cold floors they were experiencing, particularly in colder weather and the chilly floor tiles in the kitchen. Andy researched various solutions and time and again he came across positive feedback on Park Home Chassis Services and their PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation. He compared their system with others, really liked what he saw and felt PHCS beat everything else hands down.
“The surveyor, Michael, was brilliant. He turned up on time and explained everything thoroughly to us. When the PHCS team carried out the installation of SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation, they explained everything to us, worked solidly, we couldn’t fault them!”
“The PHCS team is totally professional in their appearance, conduct and knowledge. It makes such a difference to have people around like this”
Time will tell…!
Because the installation was carried out in April 2018 when the weather was brightening, Andy and Wendy were unsure how effective the underfloor insulation would be. The PHCS team assured them they would be more than pleased in the colder months and Andy responded with time will tell…
With the cold of winter months, Andy and Wendy are thrilled with the performance of their PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation! In the past Wendy would be sitting in socks and a jumper and now is comfortable in a T-shirt! To turn on the little heater in the kitchen would be the first port of call in the mornings but no longer! It’s plenty warm and one can walk on the tiles without freezing feet!
Andy was able to retire in 2011. Initially he undertook various projects on the home but soon started missing the company of others and decided to find a part-time job. He has found the perfect position as caretaker of a local grammar school in Grantham (Frequented by Margaret Thatcher in her early years). The caretaking role is rewarding – in fact Andy says is the best job he has ever had and he’s not planning to give it up soon! Wendy is also still in part-time employment and not sure when she will be ready for retirement.
Andy and Wendy are very fortunate that both Andrea and Richard live within 20 miles from them so see each other frequently. Andy and Wendy have five grandchildren and a little great grandson. Currently the eldest grandson lives with them but the grandchildren are all vying to live with Andy and Wendy and are awaiting their turn when the next one moves out!
Andy and Wendy are very content with life. Their home will constantly be updated as Wendy will always have new dreams and ideas! For now they are very happy the home is in good condition, the floors are no longer cold and the home is warm and cosy since installing PHCS SnuggerFLOOR. That just leaves time to plan holidays – two weeks in Cyprus – here we come!
In a Nutshell
- Andy and Wendy only learned about park homes when considering options for downsizing at retirement
- So taken with park home living, they moved to a park home prior to retirement!
- Andy and Wendy were concerned about the cold floors in the park home. After much research Andy was impressed with the PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation system, further assured by the many customer testimonials
- Andy and Wendy are highly praiseworthy of the PHCS team, and delighted by the warmth and comfort created in the home since PHCS SnuggerFLOOR