Kathy Martin’s life story (14)

KathyBy Kathy Martin…

My life story continues

Over my life I have always had a problem with my weight. After my “breakdown” in 1981 said I would never try and diet again, BUT, Easter 1997 ordered some clothes from the catalogue (we had bought many things over the years from Trafford, which eventually became Great Universal) and for the first time had to order size 26!

Not sure what made me do it, but I got on the scales and was horrified to find I was 17st 1lb! Decided that I had to do something about it, at the time I was attending water colour art classes on a Monday night and to save my telling Daddy (who would have teased me about it) said I was attending another art class on Wednesday nights and went to a slimming club in Westfield (a nearby village). Slowly my weight came off, but after a year or so the classes closed, so I found another one in Hastings, on the sea front.

Weight WatchersThis, also, closed, so I joined Weight Watchers, attending their class in Westfield. Shortly after joining the lady who ran the small shop left, so I took over.

My leader was Sandy and got on very well with her. Over time I realised that for me to maintain my weight loss I should become a Weight Watchers Leader.

By November 1999 was very close to my goal weight, so (after an interview with Anja, the area manager) was accepted for a training weekend and took over my first class at end of November 1999. The Hollington Methodist Church Hall in St. Leonards-on-sea, little did I realise that we were to end up living very close to this!

Never really “took” to this class, however, when I opened a new meeting in Ore, Hastings, on Thursday nights, realised that I really enjoyed assisting others to lose weight. I actually achieved my own goal weight of 9 stone, at end of January 2000, a fantastic feeling!

Once we had moved into our own house, there was only one other thing I wanted, after losing 7 stone, I wanted a tummy tuck operation to get rid of the excess skin. This was successfully achieved, privately, and I was delighted, despite the fact it cost £5K.

However, I found that it was a full time job maintaining this new weight and when we left UK for Cyprus was totally unsuccessful at staying slim. However, I was very proud of my successes over the years and developed some good friends through losing weight.

Kathy, Sasha and Alistair Norwich University 1997

Kathy, Sasha and Alistair Norwich University 1997

Our daughter Sasha, after schooling in Hastings, did well in her ‘A’ levels and decided to go to Norwich University to study Biology. Fate once again took a hand to help her find the man of her life! She started living in halls for the first year and then, for her second year, the house-share she set up fell through and she ended up sharing with Johanna (Jo) Maylin. Her brother Jonathan (Jon) came up from Cardiff to stay for a weekend. Sasha and Jon met – the rest they say is history.

Sasha and Jon's weddding 12-08-2000

Sasha and Jon’s weddding 12-08-2000

To cut a long story short, they eventually decided to marry on 12th August 2000. After a phone call to us, about 4 weeks beforehand, in which I was asked “what are you doing the weekend before Daddy’s birthday (19th)?” “Nothing, why?” “You might want to buy a hat!” We had a wonderful time meeting Jon’s extensive family.

The story of “14 The Finches”

Watermill Lane Cottage, Pett 1984

Watermill Lane Cottage, Pett 1984

When Daddy died (19 March 2001) obviously we had to sell Watermill Lane Cottage for Daddy’s estate. It was put on the market and sold by September for £149,500, just under the sales tax band of £150K.

Alistair and I started house hunting, my siblings, Angela, Bridget and Michael had agreed that we could have an advance on our inheritance, so that we would have a deposit (£17K). We needed a house that would allow us to park outside (for ease of loading the Weight Watchers equipment).

We saw a place down the main road to Hastings that was within our price range, but would have needed a fair amount of work. Then, we were told about a house in The Finches, it was love at first sight, so much so, we contacted the estate agent of another property we were about to go and view and cancelled!

The Finches house was empty as the owner had died and her daughters were selling it.

We offered £67K, which was accepted and Peter Bowen, my brother-in-law, helped us to find an interest-only mortgage for £50K, for 15 years, as there was no way could we afford a repayment mortgage.

We only had about 15 years of working life ahead of us. We exchanged contracts on 21 November 2001 (by coincidence Daddy’s birthday). We had until end of November to move out, so began numerous trips with carloads of stuff!

14 The Finches was basically a 2-up/2-down and so we decided that we would put a conservatory on to give us an extra room downstairs.

Also, the house had old-fashioned storage heaters, so we had these removed and installed “Webo” heating, this was a system from Germany that allowed you to heat a room for little more than the cost of a light bulb. We were able to put these on timers, which was great as we could get home to a warm house.

Pampas grass

Pampas grass

Also, we managed to make a pond in the back garden, which was a small dream of both of ours. We planted a pampas grass at the front, again another small dream! The rest of the back garden (very small!) was covered with black matting and stones. We put a few plants in pots and it was very non-labour intensive!

Before I go any further, I should say that by this stage we had been married 25 years and in all that time had NEVER had our own home, always renting or living with other people, so we were very happy in our own little home.

Further to this once we had made the final payment on our flat in Cyprus (7th July 2008 after having been married 32 years) and were VERY HAPPY!

We really enjoyed making The Finches our home, made a few trips to Ikea and bought bits and pieces to make a house our home.

It is actually quite difficult to say just how happy we were, so many little things like no longer having to eat our meals at a set time (Daddy had been very insistent that lunch was at 12.30 during the week and at 13.00 at weekends), being able to make our own decisions about what to do and when to do it, etc.


Cyprus from space 2016

Cyprus from space 2016

We have only had one regret about our move to North Cyprus and that is that we are so far away from Sasha, Jon and Alex.

When we moved into The Finches we always knew we would be retiring in Spain, so our interest only mortgage taken for 15 years, was on the understanding that we would repay the £50K when we sold our house to move to Spain.

In fact, as long as Sasha could remember we were always planning to retire in Spain, so you might well ask why did we end up in North Cyprus?

Our decision to move to Cyprus, as opposed to Spain, was instigated by David Oliver and Clive Welch (D&C).

27 March 2005 Champagne time with David & Clive, Alistair & Kathy with Huysein

27 March 2005 Champagne time with David & Clive, Alistair & Kathy with Huysein

We first met David in Rhodesia in the mid-70s. They came out to Cyprus to see some friends of theirs and liked it, bought a plot of land and started to build their dream house. They invited us out to stay for a week around our 29th wedding anniversary on 27th March 2005.

On our flight back to the UK, we both agreed that North Cyprus ticked nearly all the right boxes (we had always said we would never live on an island and in a country not recognised by the rest of the world and where did we end up, yes, on an island in a country not recognised by the rest of the world!).

When, in that summer 2005, Hastings College linked up with Brighton University and our house went from £67K to £125K, just short of double the price we felt it was an opportunity not to be missed!

October 2005, we came back to North Cyprus and with D&C’s help opened a bank account (we had brought £1K cash with us and deposited into Turkish Lira at an interest rate of 20%), got a mobile phone sim card each and met Dave, D&C’s Turkish Cypriot landlord, who had lived in Manchester for several years.

Consequently, he spoke English with a very unusual accent. He agreed we could take over the lease of his house in Çatalköy (pronounced Chatalker) from D&C and so we left the island with a signed contract, rent of £100 p.c.m. on paper (for his tax purposes), but we actually paid cash £200 p.c.m. We planned to be over by end April 2006.

My life continues next time


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