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.