Jurassic Bond

Jurassic Bond

Barbara’s career was in finance, while geologist Chris was a founder member of the Open University, and is now Emeritus professor of Earth sciences at the OU.

These days he acts as a group leader for the Sherborne branch of the University of the Third Age, conducting guided study walks along Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast – we’re hoping he will offer a similarly interesting experience to Bondholders holidaying at Langton.

During their time as Bondholders Chris and Barbara have made good use of their investment.

In the UK they have holidayed at Henllys on Anglesey, Upper Norton in Shropshire, Sibton Park in Kent, Blore Hall in Derbyshire (three times), Duloe Manor in Cornwall – a return trip is planned next year, with the family in tow – and twice at St Brides Castle in Pembrokeshire, a firm favourite.

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Overseas visits have taken them to Encosta Cabo Girão on Madeira, La Reserva de Biniorella in Majorca, El Balcón de Santa Ana on La Gomera – and HPB’s newest overseas site, El Pueblito de Alfaix in Almeria, southern Spain. Barbara singles out El Pueblito for special praise. “It’s a beautiful site, so well designed – and the location is stunning,” she says. “But the fact that it’s our new foreign favourite has as much to do with the ‘above-and-beyond’ assistance and support we received from the site staff as with the site itself. We had a bad experience with a car – nothing too terrible, and the sort of thing that can happen on holiday, but we needed assistance to resolve the situation. Tracey at reception could not have been more diligent or helpful, and really went ‘the extra mile’. On our return to the UK Hayley Fitchett at HPB Newmarket took our complaints to Holiday Autos and obtained an apology and a refund.”

“But that’s the level of service we’ve become used to, as Bondholders,” Barbara continues. “I don’t know where HPB finds its people, but at all the sites we’ve visited and at Newmarket the staff have been unfailingly dedicated and helpful – and their attention to detail is nothing short of staggering.”

We caught up with Barbara and Chris at St Brides, where they were enjoying a well-earned early-summer break and collecting their granddaughter and a friend from an biology field trip in Pembrokeshire the next day to stay with them.

A welcome addition, but might it not have put a bit of a strain on their (relatively) small apartment?

Not a bit of it, says Barbara. “We needed extra beds in the apartment but, yet again, nothing has been too much trouble for [site manager] Mandy [Rees] and her staff.”

“Have we become spoilt?” she asks (rhetorically). “Yes, we have – and yes we are, every time we visit an HPB property. And long may it continue!”

Chris and Barbara Wilson have been Bondholders since 2005 – and say they’ve “never regretted the investment”.

The couple retired to Sherborne in 2003, and responded to an invitation to visit Langton House – HPB’s Dorset home – for an Open Day. “The Dorset site convinced us to join,” says Barbara.

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