Those that bowl together, stay together
Anne Sole says lawn bowls is ‘‘a stupid game’’ but taking it up was the only way to spend time with her husband after she retired.
‘‘It definitely was a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘ em, join ‘ em’, because Barrie was never home,’’ she said.
‘‘Bowls has meant a lot to us – we have great friends through the game and it keeps us healthy and active.’’
Now long-time members of Tawa Services Bowling Club, the Soles will celebrate 60 years of marriage on June 23.
Both are 83, but as Barrie is six weeks older, he said he’s the boss.
‘‘I thought I might get a Queen’s Birthday honour for putting up with Anne for 60 years,’’ he said.
Anne, on a more serious note, said being married 60 years had been about friendship and compromise.
‘‘Sometimes one of you can’t manage without the support of the other – one of you has to be stronger. For us, it’s always been a real partnership.’’
The Ascot Park couple, originally from New Plymouth, love their adopted city, in which they have lived since 1963.
Their first home was in Titahi Bay, before moving to Conclusion St. From the back of their home you can see the Aotea subdivision, which Barrie has watched grow from nothing.
‘‘When we moved here, it was just farmland and a lot of gorse. The fire service was always over there, putting out fires.’’
After moving to Titahi Bay, word got out about Barrie’s keen interest in rugby.
‘‘We’d only lived there a week and I got a knock on the door one night. Next thing I’m treasurer of Titahi Bay Rugby Club.
‘‘I’d gone down to Onepoto [Park] to watch a game, had a chat with someone and word travelled fast.’’
Barrie worked for the Post Office and later ANZ for 39 years, before retiring in 1987.
Anne was well known in the community as a registered nurse and matron at Russell Kemp Home. A little like Barrie and the rugby club, Anne was only supposed to be filling in at Russell Kemp for two weekends in 1968, but finally retired from there in 1990.
The couple were also involved in Girls and Boys Brigade and Anne had a long connection with Titahi Bay Women’s Institute.
They have a son, John, and daughter, Sue, one grandchild and two great-grandchildren.
Barrie and Anne Sole are approaching their 60th wedding anniversary.