Se­rina and Eu­gene Cham­bers don’t be­lieve in re­tir­ing, but rather in ‘re­cal­cu­lat­ing’.

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Their newly-built house in On­rus­riv­ier on the Over­berg Whale Coast is any­thing but a re­tire­ment home – and they don’t plan to take it easy any­time soon. “Nowhere in the Bible does it say you should re­tire,” says Se­rina over a cup of scented tea, taste­fully served in a vin­tage bone china cup.

We got to know Se­rina as the woman be­hind the Nerf-Af stores, and her fur­ni­ture and enam­el­ware have of­ten been fea­tured in Home. When Eu­gene ‘re­tired’ last year af­ter 40 years of ser­vice at a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, the Cham­bers were ready for a change. “No one can sur­vive on just a pen­sion these days and it has al­ways been our plan to ac­quire prop­erty that will work for us in our old age,” says Se­rina. “Our house was de­signed so that the two bed­rooms on the ground floor can be rented out as self-cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion, as can a large cot­tage on the prop­erty.”

But On­rus­riv­ier hasn’t al­ways been part of their re­tire­ment plans. The fam­ily has camped at Stil­baai in the South­ern Cape for the past 30 years; they used to own two plots there, which they’ve since sold.

“We de­cided that a va­ca­tion spot isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the ideal place to re­tire,” says Se­rina. “Stil­baai is just too quiet in the off-sea­son and also too far from Cape Town, where our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren live.” >>

Se­rina and Eu­gene laid out the gar­den them­selves af­ter tak­ing walks in their area to find out which plants thrive lo­cally. They de­scribe it as an in­dige­nous moun­tain-and­grass gar­den. The path­way was cre­ated with non-slip traver­tine tiles and they’ve had the plant pots for years. Plants mostly from Cape Gar­den; tiles from WOMAG

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