BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN: ART IN NAPIER
Mar 5th, 20:15
Teaching art in Cape Town, Mary-Anne Border had no idea that she’d be consumed by a new creative urge when she moved to Napier. “I think it’s because you can be the person you really want to be here,” explains Mary-Anne. “I’ve met some wonderfully inspiring people and that gives me added impetus to express things in a new way.”
A year ago, Mary-Anne took up residence at the Napier Retirement Village – her house overlooks rolling countryside and gives her the vision she seeks. She loves the nature around her, even though she has done battle with some visiting swallows who took up residence on her stoep. She also loves the quiet. So her newfound activism contrasts somewhat with the serenity of her surroundings, but she’s lively in her freedom and happily saying what she wants to say through her painting. This societal commentary – all given from the comfort of her new home – has given Mary-Anne a new lease on life too. “I swim every afternoon with a friend in the solar-heated pool … and in all weathers … so I’m being active in every way and, as the saying goes: ‘I’m retired but I’m not tired.’”
“I think people who retire to Napier end up coming here to “live”. I love the sense of freedom I have here – it allows me to give vent and to do so in a focused way! I also just love the lifestyle – it’s easy with an edge and, as an artist, this suits me very well.”
Mary-Anne first considered moving to Napier because her architect son, Nic Border, was involved with the Napier Retirement Village. Nic was responsible for transforming the old school in Napier into the main building for the retirement village.
Situated on the top of a hill in Napier, the “Ou Skool” is an impressive building with wooden floors, high ceilings and a rich history. It’s now the nucleus of the Napier Retirement Village.
Residents of Napier Retirement Village have a choice of independent or assisted living. Independent living is either in detached Cape cottages or terraced houses in the Ou Skool’s converted woodwork building. Assisted living and frail care services are offered in the main Ou Skool building, where the nursing and healthcare services are as convenient as the library, dining and living rooms.
There’s a lot more on offer in Napier than first meets the eye.
People who pass through Napier en route to the coast invariably think “that’s a pretty village”, and leave it at that, but if you stop and take a closer look, Napier’s tangible vibrancy, creative spirit and overt friendliness begin to seep into your consciousness. The little town offers its 4000 residents loads of things to do – 14 restaurants, numerous galleries, local wineries and churches, its own butcher, baker, a dairy, brewery (the most southern in Africa) and a burgeoning community of artistic and creative residents. Various clubs offer anything from bowling to reading and bridge to craft-making. The Grootberg Hiking Trail is a new 8km trail around the Grootberg summit and, as you’d expect, there are large numbers of fynbos and bird species to see in the area. Lying at the foot of the Soetmuisberg, Napier appeals to a wide range of people who find a commonality in being ever so slightly quirky, offbeat and always interesting.
Napier was founded in 1838 and named after the British Governor of the Cape at the time, Sir George Napier. Some of the main historical features of the village include the Feeshuis, one of the oldest buildings in the town, which was used as slave quarters between 1810 and 1820, and the Dutch Reformed church, built in the form of a Greek cross, which features a teak interior and a beautiful solid copper-pipe organ.
Century-old cottages blend with modern houses in a rural village surrounded by the rolling farmland typical of the Overberg region. Napier is in the Cape Agulhas Region with easy access to the seaside villages of Arniston (Waenhuiskrans), Struisbaai and L´Agulhas. Bredasdorp, a busy Overberg town with the nearest big supermarket, is 25 minutes’ drive, and Hermanus with its medi-clinic and shops is 45 minutes away.
“People want to come and visit you.”
Another character who’s finding a new lease on life in Napier is Eksteen Odendal. Eksteen grew up in Napier but returned a few years ago with his wife Helena, a nursing sister. He is now the manager at the Napier Retirement Village. “Napier has changed a lot since I was at school here,” Eksteen explains. “I think it is better now, because people are restoring the buildings, and all the different types of people living here make it a very dynamic community. Napier is a place for all ages because it has so much going on – and if you are retired in Napier, people want to come and visit you here.”
This is an important determinant for choosing where you’ll enjoy your retirement, because it’s nice to be in a place that both family and friends will enjoy visiting regularly.
So, if you’d like to explore and let fly your creative spirit while enjoying peace of mind, quiet surroundings, good company when you want it, medical support when you need it, a thoroughly pleasant lifestyle and a life less ordinary, you’d be hard pressed to beat Napier.
For more information contact Will on 081 271 0543 or visit www.napiervillage.co.za