Meet Felicity Hill
It’s appropriate that there’s a bird feeder on the windowsill of Felicity Hill’s room at Le Domaine Care as it provides a vital link to her beloved outdoors. The feeder attracts many different species of birds a touch away through the glass, although Felicity does not like the weavers as they tend to take over and chase other birds away. A love for adventure took Felicity and two friends on a nine week hitchhiking trip of a lifetime in the 1950s, after she had completed her nursing training in Pietermaritzburg. “Myself and a friend worked to make enough money to take a ship to Southampton, from where we embarked on our trip. We are both 86 now and she lives in Jersey, where I have visited her several times in the past,” said Felicity.
Wanting a group of three, the third member of the great undertaking was met in London and from there it was all systems go. “We reckoned a group of three was much safer as we didn’t know what we would come across, three young girls hitching all over the place. As it turned out, we had to watch out for the Italian and French boys who tried to use their charm on us,” laughed Felicity. From London, the trio headed to Norway then progressed through Sweden to Denmark before working their way through Europe, taking in about 15 different countries. “We survived on R1 a day, which was enough for food and ferries when we needed them. We never ate much, carried small backpacks, had two lots of clothes, washed whenever we came across a pump or water and slept wherever we could, in barns or with pigs and cows,” said Felicity. “People were so friendly, especially in Germany, and we took whatever lifts we could.”
Felicity still has the diaries and many photographs from her trip. “My favourite country, for great atmosphere and sheer splendour was Norway - unspoiled and wild beauty in those days,” she said.
“We survived on R1 a day, which was enough for food and ferries when we needed them.”
Until three years ago, Felicity still played golf and she has a passion for fly fishing, tying her own flies and enjoying nothing more than the peace and quiet when at one with nature. Swimming was another highlight in her life as, by her own admission, she enjoyed anything with water. “I grew up in Maidstone, near Tongaat, where I enjoyed a wonderful childhood. Maidstone was small then, we knew everyone and made friends easily and we spent all our spare time outside, making kites, climbing trees and riding bicycles. A simple but rewarding life,” she said. With her late husband Bill, Felicity enjoyed many more travels, especially when he retired from the mines in Johannesburg. “We were never the luxurious type but we still managed a life of memories, including a month’s camping tour in Australia. All the travelling and hiking has kept me in good shape until a knee operation I had earlier this year,” she said.
Bill died two years ago after they had been married nearly 60 years. Felicity smiles as she recalls their 10-year courtship before tying the knot. Her son stays in Hillcrest, visiting her often, while her daughter is in Johannesburg. “I love the sea, have done the Midmar Mile and scored a few holes-in-one. Unfortunately, the path of life and Father Time have caught up with me and as much as I ache to be outdoors and be active, I have to live mostly on memories. I walk around and do exercises but I wish I could sneak off to the pool for a swim,” she said.
Reading helps Felicity pass the time and she enjoys catching up with the world on Sky News. Classifying herself as a tomboy, she enjoys her own space and time, reminiscing on a life well spent, with plenty of opportunities taken and memories that are never lost. Le Domaine has been Felicity’s home for 16 years and since March 2018, she has been living at Le Domaine Care.
“Le Domaine has been good to me. Everything I need is here and I am well looked after. I want for nothing and the friendly, helpful and efficient staff keep a good eye on me, sharing daily chatter and laughs,” she said.