Flying bananas

Sep 2, 2021


When meandering up Parkview Drive in Settlers Park you will come across a delightfully chic cottage, “The Cro’s Nest” owned by Rob and Gwynn Crothall.  Welcoming you is a dynamic duo who work together in a spousal sync that speaks volumes of a love that runs deep. They not only finish one another’s sentences but also share many a rich chuckle as they relate anecdotes with many a twinkle in the eye! And it is here that you’ll hear of “flying bananas” as this is Rob’s pet name for the audacious hornbills that visit their exceptionally neat garden.  The tranquility of their north-east view over rolling bush-covered hills is enriched with birdsong as weavers, mannikins and sun birds feast on a smorgasbord of suet and seed.  Rosie, their rescue dog wastes no time in giving visitors a friendly welcome before cashing in on many a pat as she nestles up against her owners on the stylish couch.

What was it that brought this delightful yet discerning couple to Settlers Park in Port Alfred?  Based in Johannesburg, the couple holidayed annually on the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast.  Their life plan was to retire there however research indicated that their budget would buy them very little so they decided to expand their search. This called for a road trip, westwards as far as Plettenburg Bay. Upon their return, a bout of tick bite fever resulted in an unscheduled four-day stopover in Port Alfred and it was during this time that the Crothalls lost their heart to the town and to Settlers Park.  Neither Rob nor Gwynn are strangers to Port Alfred with Gwynn having spent many a childhood holiday here while Rob’s cousin was already a happily settled resident.

When asked what it was about Settlers Park that clinched their decision to invest, the two are unanimous in highlighting the fact that residents can be as involved or as distant as they choose to be in the various activities on offer in the Park and in town. “There are just so many (pre-pandemic) social activities that take place and that is a huge plus for all residents,” says Gwynn. She goes on to say that single women especially enjoy the fact that they can, without any pressure, go along to Glen’s Den for a drink and chat, enjoy an equally well priced meal there or share in the weekly bring and braais, safe in the knowledge that there will always be a warm welcome, new people to meet and lots of banter.  Then there are the amenities. The heated pool, the well-stocked library, the care centre, the Hibiscus Room eatery and the hall, to name just a few.  Gwynn explains how the hall is actually a hub for all sorts of activities from Bridge and Carpet Bowls to Floral Art and the University of the 3rd Age! Both Rob and Gwynn agree that it is the vibrancy of social life, the affordability of the extensive amenities together with an amazing staff that creates a perfectly sweet spot to live out one’s golden years.

When asked to share more about the staff, Rob relates how when, upon first viewing their cottage, they drew up a 28-page plan for alterations.  It was enough to make any experienced agent do a double take yet Sue from sales and Bruce the builder, took it all in their stride.  “In no time at all, our vision for our new home, was completed and we transitioned seamlessly into the village.”

One of the wish list items was to convert the second bedroom into a spacious office where Rob continues his love affair with all things IT, including getting to grips with coding challenges using programmes such as PHP and Python!

Rob is in fact the current Chair of the Settlers Park Association and has made meaningful inroads in terms of administration, infrastructure and management, including of course, information systems and processes.  But this is the topic of another blog.

Visitors leaving the “Cro’s Nest” do so with a glow of warmth and a renewed appreciation for just how wonderful life can really be when you find and settle into “just the right spot.”  And Settlers Park Retirement Village delivers exactly that for Rob and Gwynn.

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