Our Newest Members Share Their History

 
Wow! How much living can you pack into a life?     
 
Jane and Roger Playdon are the Club’s newest members and they gave an extraordinary account of their journey from young school children in Sussex England, to buying a retirement home in Drouin.      In introducing them Chairman Bill Petschack recounted that they had met as teenagers at School, Bill says that Roger’s father was concerned that Jane may have been a distraction to his studies, and Roger says school was a tough experience, bullying was rife, but we don’t know if Jane was the perpetrator or not, however we suspect these may be somewhat apocryphal stories with little basis in fact.      By way of a synopsis, after school Roger joined the Royal Navy and studied electronics. He sailed on HMS Victorious and visited Hong Kong and various ports on the way, finally arriving on a visit to Sydney in 1976.He left the ship in Sydney and flew home for further study, married Jane and thought about settling down.      We don’t know how hard they thought about settling down, as subsequent to this Roger went back to sea for 2 years. They had quarters at the Portsmouth Naval Base.      He eventually left the Navy and together with Jane, renovated a home in Sussex where the first of their 2    children was born.      Roger joined an electronics company which immediately sent him back to school to learn about refrigeration and optics. His work took him to China and Russia and it was over this time that the thoughts of having a Post Office in a quaint little English Village took shape. To finance this, consideration had to be given to Roger’s work and so the journey that brought them to Drouin began.      On the way they lived in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Singapore, Malaya, Japan and Spain, with family holidays in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, Europe, China and other Asian destinations.      Along the way Roger was virtually smuggled in “the back door” of Burma, now Myanmar, with a United Nations team to help review and establish care and medical facilities for the oppressed Karen peoples.
 

Whilst Roger continued his work, now in a medical related field associated with electronics, refrigeration and optics, Jane decided to join the work force as well.       With 2 children at the International School in Saudi, Jane was encouraged to put her name forward to work as a teacher’s aide at the school, she did and was successful. This work continued when the family moved to Dubai and by the time the family had arrived in Singapore she decided to open up her own child care play group which was very successful and the business was established again, in Malaya, when the family moved there.      From Malaya it was a relatively short hop, step and jump to Japan.      Jane freely admits that despite Roger’s company suggesting a move to Japan several times she had resisted but finally had to relent. She now acknowledges that this has been an absolute stand out amongst their many destinations.       The family thoroughly enjoyed their time here, again driving and hiking through stunning countryside which was surprisingly quiet considering the population of Japan. They rode bicycles to work and on the weekends when Roger said that Tokyo itself seemed almost deserted as residents left to go home to the many small villages where they actually lived.      Jane and Roger had many interesting anecdotes to tell about their travels, they found Saudi very restrictive to the extent that Jane and daughter Lisa couldn’t move around outside unaccompanied by Roger as they were females.       Dubai was a much freer society and here they joined other expatriates and undertook many 4 wheel drive weekend outings through the desert and witnessed some magnificent scenery, Singapore was a very cosmopolitan and busy place to live, Malaya more open and less hustle and again, driving and hiking in the jungle were highlight activities.      Finally the time came to consider retirement, the concept of a Post Office in the quintessential English village was a distant memory and they decided not to return to the “Old Dart” and as Roger’s final employer was a Spanish company, Spain seemed like a good idea.      They bought a home moved in and began work turning it into the retirement sanctuary where they could spend their days of leisure.      After much work on the Spanish “Hacienda” they heard that daughter Lisa, with their Son in Law and the four Grandchildren were moving out to Australia from England for work, so a visit to Lisa’s home in Officer resulted.      The itchy feet returned, Roger had fond memories of Australia from his days in the Navy and Jane was immediately attracted, we suspect not just to Australia, but also to being close to the Grandchildren, so excursions were undertaken in a 50km arc of Officer and it was an immediate choice on the first time they drove into Drouin. It reminded them of village life in England.       In no time at all they had sold up in Spain, bought a home in Drouin and began to settle in.      From their many and varied living styles over the years they learnt that when you are new to a community the quickest way to settle in was to get involved and so the Drouin Rotary Club is one of the first beneficiaries of Jane and Roger Playdon moving in to Drouin.      Whilst neither Jane nor Roger mentioned the following quote we did notice it on the bottom of their PowerPoint presentation which we think says much about Jane and Roger “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”