The family aren’t too far away, the local Methodist church is close, and it’s a nice walk to Pizza Express. Home is down a quiet lane, tucked away from the city roar.
Dragonflies dance on the pond full of ornamental fish in this semi-rural idyll. If you tire of gardening, potter in the shed that houses a model railway.
Is this a dream? No. ‘I’ve never lived anywhere as nice as this,’ Barrie told us. ‘I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather live.’
Revd Barrie Tabraham and wife Joan have been Society residents since June 2010. You may remember his name. He’s written two major books – The Making of Methodism and Brother Charles – the former is one of the most popular resources for those exploring the background of Methodism.
However, it’s not been a smooth ride to their retirement home in Surrey. Barrie had taught history for 12 years, then was a Methodist minister for 24.
But cancer, two heart attacks and a series of surgical operations took their toll. Barrie ended up being signed off work for eight months in 2004. His district chair said to his wife Joan, ‘He should retire, he should stop’.
With reluctance and relief, Barrie was given permission to retire at 61 in 2008. ‘Joan thinks the church saved my life,’ said Barrie. ‘She said if I stayed in work, I’d be dead by now. I probably put in too many hours. My enthusiasm gets the better of me sometimes.’ (You can read Barrie’s full story in the winter 2017 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots. Photos by Clive Price)