Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wish you were here? I do.

I spent some time in the bath tonight reading the new Country Style magazine and have come to the conclusion that I’m doing this country thing all wrong. I love CS. One of my first jobs in journalism [mumble, mumble] years ago was as the production editor/sub (back when it was still Australian Country Style), writing headings such as ‘Days of Wine and Overs’ and spending my days checking the stockists of Drizabone coats.

The magazine has moved on a lot, now being all that light, modern country should be. In fact, I noted a serious lack of ceramic chicken decorations, which were pretty much de rigueur in my day, along with dark wood, pumpkin scones and rustic furniture. These days, it’s all about white, checks, open spaces, light and air. A rolling hill and picturesque duck pond just add to the fun.

So I looked up from reading about Derek and Nicole’s reno at Robertson (involving serious lust over the pigeon-hole bookcase which “holds plates and glassware in arm’s reach of the dining table) and realised that I’m in the wrong house. That church that brought me to my knees a few weeks ago – that’s where I should be living for true country style. Despite the fact that it’s one-bedroom. Despite the fact that it’s 15 minutes drive to buy milk. The ACS dream tends to involve a bit of inconvenience.

It’s a beautiful magazine, full of country idylls. But it’s a particular type of idyll. It’s a romantic, soft-focus vision, usually cushioned by cash. It doesn't stop real country people wanting it. A lot of my Fibrotown friends buy the magazine religiously - though do lament that lack of real country people.

Even my friend G, the most gorgeous farmer’s wife you’ll ever meet, who lives in a picturesque little weatherboard surrounded by verdant grass, monochromatic cows and photo-ready rustic sheds, probably wouldn’t get a look in. The gumboots lined up at her door have mud on them. The house is a real farmhouse, weathered and worn. (Though she did win Best Beginner Scones at The Show, so that might be a selling point.)

The Fibro is not CS. It’s not even actual country style. Not really. It should be lined up by the beach, Gidget-style, like these ones. But I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. We have gumboots. We have dirt. We have grass. No cows, no ducks, it’s true. But the old roses that I despaired over are starting to sprout growth (I cannot tell you how relieved I am) and the new front veranda is the perfect place to drink wine in the fading light.

Days of Wine and Roses. See, I’ve still got it.


  1. I would have never imagined I would love a post about Country Style THIS much. Great. Great. Great. And oh, your fibro sounds lovely.

  2. ‘Days of Wine and Overs’

    Oh man. I think you just found the title of my novel!!!

    Great blog, BTW. :)

  3. I used to read Country Living all the time and dream. Like you say, it's surprising how many people buy and read these magazines who live firmly in the city. Like me.

    This morning my son asked me what we were doing today, after having just come back from our little retreat making tree houses and breakfasting with the cows (you'll notice I stayed here). He said ' no, Mum, please - anything but the countryside!'

    I seriously like the look of those fibros on that lovely web site which I found from yours the other day.

    You keep making me want to move to the country!
    There is a post afoot!

  4. Al, isn't it fun how our fibro tales have promoted their cause worldwide?(Whatever that is). I am here to tell you that two of those fibros you so generously linked on my blog indeed did grace the pages of Country Style.
    If you want to move on to a country weatherboard cottage, like I did, don't feel guilty. You have what many of us would die for - a Builder at your beck and call!

  5. It is a nice post Allison - but I just wanted to say how varied and ecclectic your interests must be. I never though on the one page I would see the cover of Country Style magazine and Omar from "The Wire".

  6. Okay, I must also confess to being a voracious reader of CS...the covers always suck me in! I too would love to see a bit more muddy gumboots and less chi chi but the images are so divine I still love it!!

  7. Red Wines and Overs? As in cricket? Left overs? or is this something that I just don't get 'cause I am no good at 'style'? The last time I read CS was when you worked there!

  8. Can't stop to comment *dashing out to buy a copy of Country Style and to list my house on the market*

  9. I have always loved Country Style (yes, even back in your day of ceramic chickens which I never bought, but I confess I was guilty of too many dried flower arrangements)
    It all looks idyllic, but only to a point. It's a fantasy mag for me, something to drool over but not envy.
    And is great for whacking the cat when he jumps on the kitchen bench.

  10. Great post, Allison.

    Will have to get myself a copy of Country Style too.

    SSG xxx

  11. Did someone say 'drizzabones' and 'Country Style'? Oh that takes me back, it does. Photoshoot, anyone?

    As you know, I'm a big fan of CS, ever since it moved away from the chicken doorstops and over to the wicker chairs on the sundrenched verandah. I don't care what people say about gingham, I am a firm fan and believe that pretty, pared-back country style never dates.

  12. I once had to model a swimsuit underneath a Drizabone. In pantihose. In stilettos. I am still shuddering to this date. The image in your head is as wrong as the reality.

    I love Country Style. I can confidently say it is my very favourite magazine. But yep, everyone is totally cashed up. I still need to win lotto!


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