“The defining moment in the history of Paradise Rescued was about to arrive.

I guess everybody’s life has one of these moments. A critical decision point arrives and we either take it in a way that leads to something significant or we discard it and never even notice that that was just a fork in the road. Tragically for most of us, we usually fail to notice these key events that have the potential to distinguish our lives as either a fascinating journey or simply ‘another dull day, another dull dollar’ of meaningless existence.

The choice was simple: Help sustain this view or watch six houses being built. "There had to be some way to keep our village."

The simple choice: Help sustain this view or watch six houses being built. “There had to be a way to keep our village.”

It was September 2008. On the first Sunday following my arrival from Australia, I had a meeting time set aside with Jean-Claude to go over the final details for the settlement of the Acte and conclusion of the sale of the adjacent land in Lhoste. We paced the block, identified a few things that needed to be completed and then went to read the water meter in the garden area. After we signed off on the details, Jean-Claude turned to me and asked, “David, what are you planning to do with the land here?”

I doubtless muttered something about thinking through our options but possibly building a second home in case more houses were built alongside the current property, as was suggested.

Jean-Claude then looked at me seriously and said, “David, think very carefully about what you decide upon because the next time you come here, there will probably be six houses on the vineyard block outside your front gate!”

Did I hear that correctly? Six houses outside my front gate! He could see my shock and evident discomfort. We quickly finished the business at hand, concluding with the traditional handshake and wished each other a pleasant weekend.

I have learned to manage disappointment, stress, and nerves pretty well. I have learnt the signals to give myself (under mild inoculations of stress or bad news). In fact I make a point in trying to coach others about ‘eustress’ or using stress to motivate and bring about advantageous positive change. After all, it’s only the way we look at things that makes us believe that certain situations are either doable or hopeless. Even I had to admit that this challenge didn’t look very hopeful. At that very instant!…

…….That was a good metaphoric moment – I cleared my mind with garden work and projects during the afternoon followed by a walk through the Hourcat Sud vines at sundown. As I walked back up the slope towards the top easterly side, I turned to face the 12th century church on the small hill. I turned the other way to look at my friends and neighbours gardens and houses and wondered what they thought of such a view on an amazing late summer’s evening. There had to be a way to keep our village. There wasn’t yet a lot of energy in my step; my heart was heavy. I could sense the importance and fear of the moment. I had to resolve a find a way. This place had become special – but could I fight to keep it?

I walked slowly back towards the house. There was no one around – hardly a sound. It was as if everyone was sitting inside their houses watching, hoping, wondering… Pausing at the gate I turned to look over the small block of vineyard with the late afternoon sun streaming across it. Stunning. Peaceful – our front garden! It seemed too much to lose, yet almost out of reach to be saved. Where could a solution be found, how could I unearth an option?….

…….I would have eaten outside that night on the kitchen terrace, as I always do if the weather is half reasonable. But I was restless and couldn’t face dinner. In the west of France, the sun goes down late during the summer months and even though it was now the start of September, it was a perfect place to see the sun set with its spectacular images created behind the odd remaining cloud. As the sun sank with a deep orange glow that particular evening, I took my glass of merlot round to the front of the house to lean on the porch balustrade and stare at the front gate. And think.

The book: Paradise Rescued - From Cabbage Patch to Cabernet Franc

Paradise Rescued – From Cabbage Patch to Cabernet Franc

Failure could no longer be an option. A way forward had to be found. Paradise had to be rescued!”

The above is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of David Stannard’s new book “Paradise Rescued – From Cabbage Patch to Cabernet Franc” Chapter 5 is entitled: Pay Up or Shut Up. Follow it’s progress on social media.

Have you found that idea, passion or thing around which “failure is no longer an option”? Have you found that something which has finally forced you to take a stand, not only with the world but with yourself. And from which there can be no retreat?

Time to Pay Up or Shut Up? For me, Paradise had to be Rescued. Failure could no longer be an option.

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