Life is Like One Long Holiday on the Deck
BY DI SNEDDON
Rotary, Rugby, Red Cross, Rural Fire Service, Reedy Creek Church and volunteering with Ourcare Pty Ltd certainly keep Susanna and Graeme O’Brien busy.
More than likely there are a few other groups we have missed but you can clearly get an understanding that they contribute to their community across a diverse array of organisations.
Their community involvement and the many people who have become great friends though this connection is just one of the reasons why they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else than Singleton.
They have only lived in their home in downtown Singleton for around three years having spent all their married life on the land.
First it was a home at Reedy Creek, then another at Bulga where they had both cattle and grapevines. They enjoyed the countryside, the lifestyle of living on the land but they came to a point that they knew downsizing was imminent.
Graeme said they looked at properties from Coffs Harbour to Newcastle but kept coming back to the idea of a retirement in Singleton.
“It is where two of our three children live with their families and it is easy enough to fly up to Brisbane to Andrew (their third child), so we decided to stay put,” Graeme said.
They settled on a five bedroom home in a quiet street, not quite the downsize some would imagine but they need the space for all the paraphernalia that goes with being involved in so many organisations.
The home came with a few unexpected benefits. Graeme can see the southern end goal posts of the local rugby ground from the back deck and at night they can hear the distant sound of cows bellowing from the cattleyards giving them a little reminder of the life they once had on the land.
When they first moved in, the couple were attracted to the back deck and a renovation saw this area increase in size by around 75 per cent and it is the perfect spot to sit back and relax, something they do every chance they get.
“I will sit out here with a book and feel like I am on holidays, we just love it,” Susanna said.
They have always been outdoor entertainers and this property gives them every opportunity to enjoy those big family and friend gatherings on the deck.
Another attraction of the property is the nine-metre high advocado tree that dominates the back yard, a space shared with other citrus fruit trees and many, many potted plants.
Susanna laughs that when they moved in from Bulga to town, the removalist truck was a quarter full of furniture and the rest was plants, plants and more plants.
She is a fifth generation Singletonian and she is proud that the town is also home to six and seven generations of her family.
She loves that her grandchildren are nearby and that she can be ‘Nanna on Tap’ when needed.
“To be honest, since we retired we have never been busier,” Graeme said.
Both live by a motto their parents demonstrated and one they encourage their own children and grandchildren to do.
“When you live in a community, you must give back,” Graeme said adding that the rewards were making some very genuine friends along the way.