It’s nothing short of a miracle as life returns to the most dormant twigs - buds burst through their skin to reach the sun as it warms. Despite the desperate lack of water, life appears again through the most challenging circumstances.
When visiting one of our favourite local eateries - we tried an Orange wine we hadn’t had the good fortune to sample before - 2017 Block 7 Syrah by Matthew Atallah. It may have been our first couple of bottles… but it will definitely NOT be the last - simply superb! How did we not discover this treasure before now!
The Orange Wine Festival [Friday October 18 till Sunday 27 October 2019] is the region’s opportunity to celebrate the thriving wine industry and high-quality cool climate wines that are produced in the region.
That's the official line... the truth of it is - The Orange Wine Festival is - or Wine Week as the locals know it - along with FOOD Week - MUST be in your calendar each year.
So you cannot allow 2019 to pass without being able to say to all your friends..."You should have been at Wine Week in Orange it was amazing / astonishing / astounding / surprising / bewildering / stunning [insert your own preferred word here]".
The preparation before a tennis tournament, is something. The focus, the pressure, the equipment, the surface… it all had to be just right. Davis Cup, Wimbledon…? It could easily have been- but no. I’m talking a Sunday tennis tournament on our farm at Lichfield as I was growing up.
The tennis court – or more to the point the outline of where the tennis court was… now covered in shrubs and trees and gardens. I find it difficult to utter the words… my father would turn in his grave. Melbourne has the MCG… Lichfield had Colin Wood’s tennis court. It was spoken of in terms of similar reverence, it was lovingly tended with the same care, it was Colin’s pride and joy – just like I’m sure those who grow, cut and mark the G, regard it more of a religious experience than a job.
It seems only yesterday that we were sweltering through one of the hottest summers ever! At least that’s what it felt like.
The lawn felt it, the flowers felt, the trees felt it - all our plans of planting a beautiful English Box hedge around the front gard, with roses and foxgloves and lashings of bright annuals, went on hold. Extra water restrictions loomed and the heat was relentless.
Several wines, a few beers, one or two meals and a lot of work... all have contributed to the sorry state of my cycling. The thought of jumping on the bike for a half hour ride to 'The Park' an hour and a half getting smashed around the Eastern Suburbs, then another 30 mins home, seems so far from my reality right now it's appalling. The climb back into the saddle seems almost insurmountable... then along comes the Newcrest Challenge.
Australia has now been shown by genetic analysis to be the home of many of the worlds birds, especially the most colourful and musical birds - so called 'songbirds'. NSW alone has as many parrots as Africa and Asia combined. So it's easy to think we need to travel the world to see beautiful birds... in fact we have them right here at home.
We are humbled by how many people say “Thank you for allowing us to stay…” – it’s testament to the fact that we have, in some small way, managed to achieve what we set out to do. Have ‘The Sampson’ feel like a home away from home, somewhere to just arrive, relax and unwind – in preparation for some serious and much deserved pampering!
A visitors' book is a little old school, perhaps you could say a relic of elderly relatives who wanted every person who crossed the threshold to be noted and leave comments... even if it was just for a cuppa.
On the other hand there is something committed and permanent about writing something down. The act of putting pen to paper is a considered and deliberate act. The fact that you generally don't want to have your words full of crossing-out and corrections, requires you to give thought to what you're writing, or about to write. There's no ability to randomly mind dump and correct later.