The shops are gearing up for Christmas. The gift-buying rush has begun. Halloween stock has now been cleared away, as has the plastic paraphernalia from some other commercial festival before that, and before that. Meanwhile Facebook and Instagram beckon us from a constantly updating screen. Work imposes endless priorities which are replaced and renewed daily. And, at home, the grass and the gardens threaten to engulf the house. But among the turmoil, a single rose blooms and provides a reminder of the importance of beauty. And peace. And silence.

Murray and I bought and moved to ’Somewhere Unique’ almost four years ago. We were living within inner city Brisbane and both engaged in busy corporate roles. That was life. Live, and pay bills. Of course, we enjoyed social lives as well but even that sometimes seemed busy and just one more thing to do at the end of an exhausting day.

But then we had the opportunity to move to Wollombi. We had never lived in the country. We had never maintained 20 acres. And we had never operated a guest accommodation business. It was a steep learning curve, which could have been stressful and all-consuming, except that the Wollombi Valley doesn’t operate like that. Time works differently here. Deadlines are suggestions. Here, the residents set the tempo. Most people that live here have chosen to come here. And that choice was mostly made to escape to a slower more serene environment.

Murray and I slowly learned the business, and how to stay ahead of the upkeep on a large property. But most importantly we learned how to stop. How to relax. And how to breathe.

Our lives in the Wollombi Valley are simple. We are responsible for our own agenda and our own pace. Our guests and our business remain our priority. We love our dogs, our property, and our daily lives. Our social lives are based around friends and locals and the many cultural events within the Valley. People here are no less productive than their city counterparts but their priorities are often different. Enjoyment of the natural surrounds and listening to the seasons is important.

This spring, due to the unexpected rain, I planted ten rose bushes in our garden. Now in full bloom they provide boundless pleasure. The architecture of these delicate flowers is complex and intimate. Their perfume is overwhelming and intoxicating. But far more importantly, they have the power to cause a person to pause and enjoy. Each bloom is a small but powerful reminder of the beauty and simplicity of life. Their stunning blooms invite to stop and smell the roses.

Relaxing is no less important than being productive. Although our time is limited, there is no shame in taking a break. Quiet contemplation is crucial for balance.

Murray and I wish all of our past, present, and future guests a very happy and relaxing holiday season, and a peaceful 2019. We thank each of our guests for choosing to stay at ‘Somewhere Unique’, and we hope that each of you will take the time to visit again and share in the joys of the peace and serenity of the Wollombi Valley.

David & Murray