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Case Study: Moving from the South of France

11/11/2019 Wadswick Green, Case Study

Brian Hinett had worked as a copy writer from the age of 20 before he decided to take early retirement aged 56 and move to the South of France. “I had always loved the creative side of copywriting, playing with words, images and I had always loved to paint.  So when I retired I decided to move to Nice to follow Vincent van Gogh’s footsteps. I loved the idea of speaking French, getting inspired by the landscapes, and the weather is unbeatable.” There he taught English and discovered the dolce vita of the riviera.

Brian had to return to the UK after seven years, however. “The exchange rate wasn’t as interesting anymore due to the falling pound. It just made more sense financially to come back to the UK.” This was also due to his health declining. “I started to have less and less mobility. At first I tried to get medical help in France, but I could afford very little. You have to have private medical insurance for everything – they simply don’t offer the same service for free like the NHS. As soon as I settled back in the UK, the NHS covered everything. I had all sorts of tests and examinations, all free, over the course of three days. It was a much easier process and I felt much more supported.”

Once back in the UK, Brian continued his love for the arts and took a Fine Arts course at college for one year, where he was encouraged to enrol in a further course at university. “I signed up for a three year course and got a Bachelor of Arts in Related Arts. I mostly painted, specialising in portraits, but in one of my lectures I met Vicky Feaver, who encouraged me to develop my talent in poetry. So I followed her advice and got a master in Creative Writing!” Brian has now written a collection of over 100 poems which he hopes to get published.

With his mobility declining, Brian decided to look for an apartment in the UK that could meet his needs. “I wanted to keep to the West Country to remain close to home. I had spent 20 years of my married life in Farnborough, near Bristol, my son also still lives in Cheltenham, so it made sense to move to Wadswick Green. Wiltshire and Somerset are also lovely parts of the world, and Wadswick Green’s location is ideal. We have Corsham only 10 minutes away and Bath 30 minutes.”

Moving to the UK brought Brian much closer to his family. “I didn’t have any grandchildren when I moved to France, so it’s also partly why I moved back to the UK. I wanted to see them grow up. One of my daughters lives in Newcastle, the other in Moscow, but I’m really close to my youngest, Ann, who lives nearby, so we see each other a lot.”

Brian moved into a spacious 2 bedroom apartment at Wadswick Green with views over the surrounding countryside and the village courtyard. “I really enjoy it, there’s a real sense of community. I never saw my neighbours in Bristol during my working life, and in Nice a lot of the surrounding flats were second homes which were left empty most of the time. Everyone lives here at Wadswick Green, so the neighbourhood is very lively. I also really like that there are all sorts of people, couples, single people, all of various ages. The rule is you need to be over 60. So some of them are over twenty years younger than me!”

Brian appreciates the comfort Wadswick Green has given him. “I gained a lot of independence. I’ve got two scooters now - one is an off-road, the other is for everyday use - so I can go wherever I like. It’s really convenient and allows me to use all the amenities here, like the onsite restaurant and the hairdresser.”

Life at Wadswick Green also allows Brian to follow his creative interests. “I paint some landscapes, but I mainly do self-portraits. Sometimes I even get commissions for my work! My next-door neighbour asked me to paint a portrait of his wife, for example. I certainly don’t do it for the money, but I really enjoy the challenge. The portrait is in his living room now, and he is really happy with it – he shows it to all his guests!”

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