Sherlock and his wife Cilla are dyed-in-the -wool Jo’burgers
who did their sums properly and swapped city life for the peace
and tranquility of the “Pioneer Country” (as Brian calls
it) of the Eastern Karoo
Here is what Brian says:
Well fellow oldsters - what is to be done about retirement and property?
I have no intention of setting myself up as a Retirement Consultant
but just thought that our situation might be of some interest in
re your own decision making.
The “Country Life” magazine is partly to blame for where
I find myself living today with my darling wife. I say partly, because
affordability was the
primary consideration in our quest for suitable retirement relocation.
More and more of us find ourselves in this position because of the
state of the economy.
One piece of advice I cannot put to you too strongly - when calculating
what you can pay for your retirement home and what you will have
left to pay for medical aid, insurances etc., try your very best
to put aside as large
a reserve as you possibly can - things can get worse - as they duly
did for us and many others over the last two years or so. and that
is when you really appreciate the fact that you retired to an affordable
When relocation becomes a financial imperative, then of course one
must also take other considerations into account such as:
||Local travel and exploration
||Just keeping busy - renovation?,
a small business?,
||gardening?, community good
Perhaps the tranquility of
being away from your previous environment would allow you to find
the time and inspiration to write that novel you’ve always
had in mind - although you’ll have to explain to the wife
learnt all that stuff!
And so down to a little more about our lot in a small town in the
Eastern Cape, some 300kms plus from the nearest city.
Prompted by “Country Life” we spent some time reconnoitering
various small towns and dorps around South Africa. The end result?
For the last four & a half years we have been living in one
of them, Steynsburg, in the Eastern Karoo. As you know, the 1820
Settlers were frontiersmen in coastal Eastern Cape and in a somewhat
different light the Eastern Cape hinterland, the Eastern Karoo,
is one of the last frontiers for affordable relocation within South
We arrived at a B&B in
that little town to take a look at the house that had been advertised
in Country Life by a major estate agency - yep, they used to do
that before they tightened their belts and unwittingly made their
own contribution to the contraction of the economy.
This B&B had a small bar which some of the locals used. They
were interested in us as potential incomers and made us very welcome.
Next day we made an offer and
it was accepted.
subsequent visits to bring in hardware for our new home’s
renovation and we were made even more welcome - what a sales job
they did - and didn’t even know they were doing it!
Johannesburg where we worked and lived, to the Eastern Karoo was
one huge leap of faith.
We settled in well and quickly. Our lives had changed and so did
our outlook on life.
You rediscover values and find new priorities that you have lost
in city life. The wife was fleetingly a member of the Gardening
Club, is toying with the idea of taking up bowls at the local Country
Club (golf, squash and a gym are also there), joins in ladies teas
at a local eatery, goes
on walks with a friend but spends most of her time looking after
the garden and me, although when the mood takes her, she does some
painting, in acrylics ,or some of her variegated craftwork in order
to add to the décor of our home. As for me, I serve on the
Ward Committee, the Community Policing Forum and the
Residents/Ratepayers Association. I have spent most of my time renovating
two properties in the town which have been sold to other incomers
and provided me with a little income. I have just finished the third
- please make me an offer!!!
As a matter of interest, whilst we have been here, a dozen or more
new couples have arrived from cities and towns around South Africa.
If you can feel the pull and your finances suggest that you seek
the best solution to make your nest egg last, this is a viable option.
There are various publications that talk about “other places”
in South Africa - e.g. Country Life, Getaway, Farmer’s Weekly,
there must be others and then there are websites - major estate
agencies, Property 24, Private Property, Property for Sale - and
more. Look hard!!
Are we happy?
Of course we are! When the town gets a bit small we take a couple
of days and visit the big city, take in a show, eat in restaurants
and socialize ,but before long we are ready to return to our home
and country life.
There you are - just a taste - hope it can help you move onwards