Moving to Petersfield
When we opened our new office, it coincided with Ron and Lyn selling their home in Midhurst and moving to the delightful Hampshire market town of Petersfield.
One of the first messages I received was from the couple praising the service they received from Informed Choice but pointing out we were going over and above in terms of service by opening a local office just for them!
I met with Ron and Lyn at Holders Barn, and over coffee asked them to tell me their life story. The self-effacing Ron claimed it wouldn’t be that interesting for readers of Informed Magazine, but I beg to differ.
The couple first met when they were at Leeds University. Ron was studying Accounting and Economics, and Lyn to become a Librarian.
They met, by synchronicity, at a student party. Ron had been taken along by a friend and points out that if they had gone to another party that night, they might well have not met.
Lyn points out that Ron proposed to her within 25 minutes of the meeting. Ron counters by pointing out some beer may well have been involved!
They moved to Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, Ron’s home, and he pursued a career in Auditing. I asked him if he ever came across any fraud while doing the auditing work and he tells me that he did indeed find one, but it was more about false reporting than someone running off with the money.
As Ron progressed his career, they moved on to a small North Warwickshire town where a neighbour, a member of the mining community, introduced him to the local beer from Marston’s brewery.
Lyn tells a story of Ron falling into a wardrobe after possibly one pint too many. Ron smiles wryly at the storytelling.
Get them onto the subject of their children (two sons Philip and John, and daughter-in-law, Sophie), and their faces light up.
Philip is a Senior Civil servant and work is his life. He has had plenty of that recently involved in planning for the various potential outcomes of Brexit.
Their younger son John is a musician and schooled at The Purcell School to become a Violinist. One of the jobs that Ron secured during his career was a direct result of John’s musical talents.
John appeared on a children’s TV programme Play School and was spotted by an old family friend who was the Solicitor acting for a company seeking a Finance Director, and suggested Ron should apply. Ron successfully negotiated the interview process, and after a period as Finance Director and then Managing Director, was promoted to act as the Chief Financial Officer of their European interests. This meant a move south to work in Woking and live in Cobham.
John eventually ended up working in a bank and our discussion results in a tortuous pun about “fiddling” in the banking sector. There is a theme here of low profile humour. Both Ron and Lyn have a smile waiting to break out on their lips as our conversation weaves and bobs around.
I ask them what they do with their time, and a whole range of hobbies and activities are described.
Lyn is a keen gardener; I know this because I recall their splendid garden at their house in Midhurst. She is also a Chinese Brush Artist, and she describes how ink is ground down in preparation for the painting onto rice paper. It sounds almost therapeutic.
The brushes and other equipment used are described, and I can’t help but think it sounds very ritualistic, and the poor analogy going through my mind is one of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Lyn took a course in this painting style at West Dean College with some of the exercises being the painting of flowers from the extensive gardens there.
Ron is a golfer and talks passionately about the beautiful Liphook Golf Club. He points out that alongside a great, and challenging course, the other noticeable thing about the club is the friendliness of the other members.
His handicap is 17. I think that sounds quite good (I am not a golfer). Ron thinks less so.
He plays up to three times a week in the summer and not at all or up to 2 times a week in the winter, it somewhat depends upon the weather.
They have a dog (a friendly one who I have met on several occasions) called Molly. At the moment she is recovering from a foot operation, and it will be some months before she is back to normal.
Recovery entails a trip to the vets every three days, and the Financial Planner in me is worried about the costs. But Ron explains that he has been very impressed by the vets in their new town and by the sounds of it a well-negotiated fixed price package.
I ask them why they chose to move to Petersfield, and they wax lyrical about the town.
Where they were before was some way away from the amenities and to go out they would have to drive. Here in Petersfield, they seem to be no further than a 10-minute walk from all that they need.
In addition to a good range of national retail outlets, Petersfield offers lots of independent shops, a mainline railway station which is an hour from London, and as much as they want to do.
Lyn has joined the Women’s Institute and wants to join a local Choral Society. Both want to join the local leisure centre.
Ron is keen on Rugby and has noted our sponsorship of Petersfield Rugby Club. I promise to introduce him to the President of the club, a fellow professional of ours.
We wander around the centre of Petersfield and take some photos of the local landmarks. On a gorgeous Spring day with the sun shining and blossom on the many trees in this town’s centre, you can see why they have chosen this to be their home
They are as I said earlier family orientated and Lyn has a big birthday coming up where they will all go to Cornwall together (Molly as well) to a house they have hired in St Maws overlooking Falmouth.
As is often the case when you sit chatting at lunch, I start to find out more about them. Who knew that their son has an 8ft long carpet python and the consequences of it getting out of its vivarium while the owner was away!
Ron and Lyn have a pet Tortoise (I am so envious) and tell the story of a Chameleon who they named Jacko for a reason I won’t repeat here.
Their engagement with money obviously comes into the conversation. They value the freedom that their savings have delivered to them and the ability for them to access capital for projects such as the renovation of their new home.
Lyn talks about the fact that while Ron was used to dealing with the finances of large enterprises, like many people, when it came to making the decisions about their pension pots this was a quite stressful thing.
They are kind to point out that finding someone they could trust to help them through the complexities took that stress away from them.
We say goodbye, and they walk home, but I can’t help but think about the Chameleon called Jacko as I walk back to the office.