Forever Young: Dick is enjoying the best of both worlds on either end of the planet

Forever Young: Dick is enjoying the best of both worlds on either end of the planet
Dick Jenkinson gets up close and personal with some Australian wildlife.

The Echo is celebrating Positive Ageing Week with a special supplement in today's newspaper. Here is just one of the many stories we are sharing of people from Cork enjoying a new chapter in their lives. 

CORK man Dick Jenkinson must be one of the only granddads around enjoying two summers a year.

When the Macroom native heard of his daughter’s dream to move down under he hoped that he might one day be able to follow. Luckily, he is now fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds. The 73-year-old spends almost half the year in Australia with his daughter Nicola before flying home to experience summer in Cork.

“For four months of the year I live in Australia,” he explained. “It means I have two summers. I tend to come home when the Irish winter is over.”

Dick had been inspired by his daughter Nicola when she was still just a school girl.

“While still in school she spoke of her plans to go down under some day and have a wonderful life. Nicola works with horses. She prepares them for sales and her work takes her as far as Sydney and sometimes to New Zealand.”

Dick recalled buying Nicole her first pony when she was just a little girl.

“When she was a small child we bought her a Shetland pony. We had never owned horses before that, but we had the space and thought it might be a good idea. It turned out he wasn’t a nice pony at all and left her black and blue from bites. However, that didn’t stop her from loving him.”

From that day on Nicola was hooked.

“When she came home from school the sack was left straight at the door. She would stay with the horses for the rest of the day. Nicola used to look after the horses of people we knew. That was a full time job for her.”

Now, decades later, Dick is a proud granddad

“I have one grandson named Oliver and he’s 11-years-old. I have him spoiled. Anything he wants he gets because I’m there for such a short time. Every time I leave Ollie is always in tears when I’m going as we spend so much time together when I’m over. While in Australia my week normally involves taking him to school, swimming and a bit of rugby too.”

Of course Dick manages to find time for socialising too.

“I’m a member of a men’s shed in Bustleton. Australia is where the men’s shed started. Everyone there gets a slagging. One of the men is a wheelchair user and often jokes about the Irishman pushing an Englishman around. At the start we used to do a lot of work. Now we tend to sit around and chat. We don’t really have any nightlife. Most of the time the nightlife is just a few drinks at home. There is a farmyard that was converted into a pub. You get massive crowds there.”

While Dick enjoys life down under he always looks forward to returning home to his wife.

“My wife used to come too but she doesn’t like flying. She’s involved with the local GAA club and is there seven days a week. I, on the other hand, like the sun and the heat.”

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