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Village residents travel the world through takeaway

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With travel restrictions putting a temporary hold on physical travel, residents at Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise community at Alexandra Headlands are giving their taste buds a weekly trip exploring world cuisine.

Self-confessed nomad Therese Willey usually splits her time between her two homes. The first is Bolton Clarke’s Tantula Rise retirement village at Alexandra Headlands and the second – the open road.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Therese. “The freedom of life on the road and my home with Bolton Clarke.”

Although social distancing measures and travel restrictions have put a temporary halt on her life as a wanderer, she hasn’t let that dampen her spirits – and has swapped caravanning for catering, arranging weekly takeaway meals for herself and other residents in the village.

“We used to go out to lunch together once a month. A group of us decided ‘why not try takeaway’ – and I offered to pick it up for everyone.”

The Wednesday night takeaway dinner has become a weekly highlight, with the food adventure a bit outside the norm for several of the residents – many of whom are from the “meat and three veg” generation. On the rotational menu are Thai, Seafood, Chinese and Italian.

“We’ve tried five local restaurants and we’ve just started repeating them,” Therese says. “It’s not expensive and everyone’s enjoying the variety.”

The initiative has created movement and conversation around the village, Therese says – all at a safe social distance.

“It brings everyone out to pick from the menu, exchange thoughts on our last meal and debate which restaurant we might try next.”

“The community spirit is all around you – the people make it so. We’re a close-knit village and we know each other well, so we notice the little things. If anyone is struggling, we can help each other out.”

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Therese delivers takeaway to fellow resident John Gardner.

The security the village provides has been especially important during the health crisis and Therese and her fellow residents are grateful to have help nearby.

“Security is a big thing,” she says. “Having the village to call home, and the aged care community right next to us is reassuring. We know that support is there if we need it.”

Some of the retirement village residents have partners who live at the co-located aged care community.

“They’ve been able to continue to easily visit. It’s a big reason why many of us chose Bolton Clarke.”

As restrictions ease, the group has begun to plan what the next iteration of the takeaway ‘family’ meal might be.

“It’s been so popular we’re talking about keeping it going after all of this is over – perhaps we will turn it into a communal Friday night dinner.”

And as for Therese? She’s keen to get moving again and has plans to head to Tara, west of Dalby, once restrictions have eased enough.

“I’m itching to get out on the road,” she says. “I’ll be visiting the property where my husband’s ashes are scattered. It’s very special.”