‘escape to the country’ tragics

If you’ve read this blog for a while or you’ve seen a few of my facebook updates then you know I have a bit of a dream to move to the country. The southern highlands would do. Some peace and quiet, 5 acres would be nice, a cosy home with enough space for all of us, some good schools nearby, close enough to Sydney to still see friends and family and just a bit more space and a quieter lifestyle.

We go through stages of trying to make it work but it would require lots of commuting for retro daddy and it always comes unstuck. So I live out my country dream through ‘escape to the country’ episodes. I’m rather addicted. I have fallen asleep a couple of times as it’s on at 10.30 each night.

So I’ve just started taping the episodes. I don’t mind what part of the UK they are investigating, the bigger the budget the better, if there’s an AGA I’ll yell out to retro daddy to check it out and I’ve made it my number one tv show lately.

And I know I’ve got some fellow tragics on facebook who have to watch it every night. Some of them have made the tree change themselves………………….have you?

And while we’re confessing my other great love is the real estate website and I love looking for country kitchens like this one. Image source here. Now I’m just being picky but I probably would have kept the floorboards running through the kitchen.

OK enough confessions from me, over to you………………dream of the country, living the dream, made the tree change, have no desire……..

image source here


  1. I thought I was the only Escape to the Country /realestate.com tragic … was seriously considering therapy. Didn’t realise there was a whole underground movement out there. And yes, I would have continued the floorboards through the kitchen, too!

  2. Kayscha says:

    I would love to move to Milton – 5 acres, rambling country home, 10 mins to the beach, a pad in the big smoke. Like you, the commute would be too much for hubby and we will make do with buying a holiday home down there in the next few years and maybe it will one day become the change more full time than not!

    • yes, a 2nd little place is the way to go….but if only you could take Sydney budget to the highlands:) will have to check out Milton!

  3. I have dreamt of having my own self-sufficient farm for decades. I come from the country and only intended to live in the city for 10 years but it didn’t really work out that way. Every few months I get onto the real estate web sites and check out what’s out there. I read the self sufficiency mags like Earth Garden to stay inspired. I’d love to get a big block in the dairy country around Orana in the hills behind Coffs Harbour so that I can fly to the city every couple of weeks to work on projects to keep some cash coming in but my work is easy to do remotely. I planned it that way :) My partner wants to move somewhere south like Kangaroo Valley but I think further south is more likely. The bonus for me is fewer snakes! The new local series of River Cottage is set down that way so I’m hoping that it helps my cause an we start making proper plans to buy somewhere. In the meantime I am learning everything I can to make the transition easier – preserving food, making bread, cheese, growing vegies. *Sigh*

    • ohhh yes so many great things you can do when living in the country. Kangaroo Valley is to die for, I briefly dated someone who had an aunt who lived down that way in this huge house with views to die for. I fell in love with the place! keep dreaming……….

  4. Yes this is me! Though the plan is to move to the valley on the gold coast. That way we get the best of both worlds! Beach and the country feel :)

  5. Oh Corrie,
    The houses in E to the Country are sooooo bad. They have shocking taste and you have such fantastic taste. I stopped watching it ages ago because I just couldn’t stand the floral curtains, wallpaper and poky rooms.

    • yes there are some shockers! a few nights ago there were some really old houses from the 1400’s and the wood everywhere and the yellow paint was killing me!

  6. Justine says:

    We moved to 5 acres, about 40 mins from Melbourne and about 30 mins to the beach, two years ago. We love listening to birds, rather than the neighbours arguing. We love choosing trees and not worrying about them growing too tall. Kids can kick the footy and the ball won’t go over the fence. There’s more work on a rural property, but we love watching our garden take shape, and plan to have a large veggie patch and chickens. It’s the best move we have made. We love it.

  7. I’ve been lucky, in that my parents were running a chicken farm on the outskirts of Brisbane, so many a weekend after a crazy week, I’d pack the kids up and spend the weekend there. Close enough to travel, and big enough to swing a cat. Still close to amenities though. Felt like I was travelling back in time each time I got to the driveway.

    Then my parents retired and moved to a small urban rental property. My luxury weekends over. :-)

    I definitely trawl the real estate pages, and wonder why my house doesn’t look as immaculate as those!! :-)

    • oh yes! now that I’ve had my house all ready for inspection I know how much work goes into it and also how much furniture and belongings leave the house for those photos!!!!! what a shame about your parents, my kids would love that too

  8. I love to read Country Style magazine from the library. Man it gives me a hankering to move to a little town! Such beautiful houses and vistas!! drool….. Problem is there are so many gorgeous spots that if you aren’t tied by family or reason… which one to choose?!!

  9. I live in a medium house in a nice convenient area, but sometimes I think it would be nice to have more space. My husband grew up in a rural area and he is just as keen as me to hang on to the location and compromise on space. I just went to a friends house on Thursday and it is really big, great value and just a bit further out, not even far…. but it is time out of your day to get anywhere or to work, and that time with the kids has to be more important. We weigh it all up and want to stay where we are. It is a tough one though! With more space I think I would just collect more junk!

  10. Yes, count me in too. Addicted to that show and check out realestate.com.au everyday too. Every year I take my girls to NZ to my Dads little 4 acre hobby farm. They stay outside all day, exploring, collecting eggs, climbing fences, chasing sheep, looking for rabbit holes. Love it!

  11. Charlotte E says:

    Oh I had no idea it was on EVERY night. I thought just Friday and Sunday. I’ll have to set the PVR up to record as well.

    Warning long post now follows :-)

    We made a see/tree change almost 3 years ago now. Melbourne to Portland in SW Vic and now live on 8 acres, surrounded by greenery and wildlife. My husband’s work is now only 10 mins away as opposed to up to 2 hours in traffic; there are good schools without strict catchment areas and no huge waits on lists for childcare and kinder. We love it and can’t imagine returning to city living. Although I confess it is not all rainbows and lollipops. Finding work for myself was a nightmare as there was no call for legal project managers in this neck of the woods and any job advertised relied on who rather than what you know so I’m now changing direction completely and undertaking online postgrad studies to become a teacher. I also miss having a wide range of shops on my doorstep but with internet shopping and visits to family living in the city my shopping needs are satisfied and I’m probably spending less than I would living in the city so my husband is happy.

    Unfortunately because we are on a single income at the moment my dream country kitchen and a bathroom reno will have to wait but I know we’ll be here for many years to come so it will happen eventually. Until it does I’ll keep gathering ideas.

  12. raina babos says:

    Having lived inner city, country, semi-rural, big city suburban and small town I would really have to say that your experience depends what stage of life your’e in at the time! Living a long way out with teens is a drag as you forever seem to be ferrying someone somewhere until they get their licence. Your children are close in age but at one stage I had four different schools to do the morning drop off to! When my children were young we lived on acreage in a semi-rural area 40min drive to closest big town, not too bad ! I have to admit they loved having their own chooks and the neighbouring cows and other animals close by. Small town was wonderful as well although the long bus drive to school when they left grade 10 was a killer, in Tassie state high schools go to grade 10 then 11 and 12 are at a college in the nearest big centre. We now live close to Hobart (5 mins) and as we have no children at home suits us well. I also have weekly visits to hosp for treatments and checks so it much more convenient than travelling.

    • oh it’s lovely down there! I’d love to move to Tassie as I think you get best of both worlds. So sorry to hear you’re going to hospital though each week, that’s not funxxxx

  13. Oh Corrie – I still remember the first time I came across Escape to the Country, it was 2008 and I’d just moved to the country, blindly following my then boyfriend (now husband) and we lived in this old house with a possum living in the AGA, an outside toilet, no shower (we had a camp shower in the backyard), smashed windows and back door kicked in by the drug squad from previous tenants, no heating and the damp made all my cookbook pages stick together. Talk about not the country charm dream! Five years on and we’ve lived in a few different country homes, a gorgeous teeny tiny cottage, now a big old limestone farmhouse. I’m SUCH an Escape to the Country tragic, my husband calls out ‘Your shows on! And your boyfriends hosting tonight!’ I am in LOVE with Jules. LOVE. In fact in 2011 when we were trying to decide what we were going to do with our life after a massive wake-up call that we were not at ALL happy – we tossed up the idea of escaping to the English countryside, mainly due to my Escape to the Country obsession (and husband’s family live and farm in Devon), in the end we headed to the western Qld outback – bit different! Lots of people think we are ‘living the country dream’ – and in a lot of ways I suppose we are, we are farmers, I have chickens and an orchard and an old wood stove in my kitchen, we slaughter our own meat and spend our weekends making jam or collecting firewood. BUT…we manage other peoples land, and always will (unless we win tattslotto). None of these country homes we live in are ours. The garden I will walk away from one day. We never stay in a house for that long, let alone the same state. So, I still dream of a country cottage or sprawling homestead somewhere, with our own land and own stock. Keep dreaming…

    • yes keep dreaming! and yes I love jules too because he’s cheery, one of the hosts I can’t remember his name but am picturing is face is a bit too uptight and sometimes doesn’t like the people he is helping too much!!! sometimes he loves them if they’re a bit posh like him!!!!!!

      you’re young and will get there and I love your photos of farm life….

  14. I don’t have a dream to live in the country, but I’m going to bring a bit of country to Melbourne and put an Aga into our new house. The biggest dilemma is pewter or black?

  15. I Am an Escape to the Country Tragic too and also addicted to Country Style magazine. Have every copy going back about 20 years! One of my favourite things to do on my days off from work is to drive to the Southern Highlands. So wonderful just to wander through the towns, admire the gorgeous houses and countryside and pretend I am a local!

    • ok now that is dedication, 20 years of country style! I’m impressed!!!! I do love it down there, so pretty and peaceful and even on a wet and cold day I love it!

  16. I would love to move back to the country. I am from central Queensland originally and living in the city is really very full on for me. I miss being able to see the horizon, knowing the majority of faces when you go out to the local shops, and just general country life really. But knowing that there is so many more opportunities for my kids living here in the city, we will stay put until they are older. We have already decided we will retire in the country when the children are grown ups and moved out (and I am still under 30, I have a long time to wait!!).

  17. I’m dreaming of tree change currently but it wouldn’t work for us, we need to be near an airport for my hubby’s constant flying. Would be nice for our children though! Dreaming is healthy!

  18. We also want the country living- we’d like 10 acres, build our ‘forever’ home and grow old there. I have the plans all in my head for the garden, picnic area, secret garden, natural playground etc. Lucky for us where we want to buy is only 20 mins from here in the suburbs which means only a 20 min drive to school!

  19. We’ve done just what you write about! Moved from Sydney with our two little boys to the Hunter Valley and bought a hundred year old house that we’re renovating and extending! Sometimes it’s the best thing we’ve ever done and other days (when I’m desperate for a take away or a great coffee which doesn’t involve a 20 min drive) we wonder if it’s all worth it! But when the boys are covered in mud, I’m not hearing the constant sirens (we used to live in Waterloo) and we’re not mortgaged to our eyeballs then we think it really is worth it.

  20. Ha, oh Corrie, you would love it when we go back to the UK. Most of my husband’s cousins have done the escape to the Country, or have never moved out of it. One family lives in a converted Oast house on quite a few acres in Kent (bloody cold all year round though), another in a tudor cottage in Sussex, the kids great Uncle lives on what looks like acres in Scotland in a very beautiful and huge house. Aga stoves a-go-go!! I don’t think I’d like to actually live in the country, but every time we go on a trip out into the b bush we check out prices and start imagining!

  21. Di Ross says:

    I’m greedy ….. Love the excitement of the big cities for a weekend. Love a beach house with a water view. Trips to the Southern Highlands always leaves me wishing for a home in the country with a beautiful sprawling garden. When I become rich and famous I shall have it all!!!!!!

  22. Having come from the UK ‘escape to the country’ just amuses (and occasionally infuriates) me. I grew up in Devon, living in a tiny little village with a post office, pub, churches, 2 water mills, manor house (complete with servants stairs, walk through attics, ice house in the grounds) thriving village hall and the usual rounds of festivals, fetes and community activities. Think ‘Vicar of Dibley’ and your 99.9% of the way there.
    We had our share of rich townies who moved out but most lasted a year tops, then turned the home into a weekend/holiday home, which damages the local economy and prices young locals out of the market. A few did move and throw themselves into the community and reaped the life style they wanted, but they were few and far between.
    We are extremely fortunate that since emigrating we found ourselves in a location that hubby can still work while I get to live pretty rurally, see mountains out of most windows and grow veg, graze a pony. I’d actually give my left arm for an aga, but know that’s a ‘when we win lotto’ dream – and they are so un-environmental as well. But SO delightful in winter :)
    There are dreams of a little more land, a bigger home (ours is tiny) with room for a few livestock, my horses etc, but currently the logistical (and financial) implications are just to challenging.
    I will confess to watching it occasionally simply to reminisce about rural England!

  23. We watch ETTC quite a lot, and while I love looking at all the houses and beautiful landscapes, we always laugh at the people who are moving there. They have absolutely no idea about what they are getting themselves into. They have all these ideas about the rural life which involve a couple of animals, and a large vegetable garden, but no idea about the time and effort that living on a farm takes.
    We have moved back to the family farm where my husband grew up, and I can honestly say that my life in no way resembles the lives that the participants dream of when they go on ETTC.

    • oh yes you do wonder if they’ll get a taste of reality soon, it’s all pretty funny that people want similar things too and I love the ones with the tiny budget but they want it all

  24. Jocelyn says:

    After six years of “will we- wont we” and an idea that just wouldn’t go away we made the commitment to move from Melbourne to Albury. We now live on 5 acres (as opposed to a 550sqm block). While I have left behind many friends and a career I loved the benefits far out way this. My husband landed a great job, our four kids now live most of the day outdoors, have made friends and are settled in school and other activities. I am working three days a fortnight with a great bunch of people, have joined a book club, patchwork class, regularly join in a sit and knit group and have been very welcomed by other parents at the kids school. The bonus is having my mum and most of my sibling close at by. Bit by bit over the past seven months this is now becoming “home” and Melbourne our visiting destination. My advice would be realistic about things like new job v’s commute or working from home (which is best for your family), real friends are always there for you (txt and Facebook are great) and new ones take time to develop and nurture, your whole family needs to be on the same page as this is your main support and put your self out there it can be a great thing!

  25. Massive addict! My hubby always rolls his eyes.

  26. I had no idea there was so many E2TC fans. I love the show but sometimes wish that the people want something different from a farm kitchen, a vegie patch and a place for pigs. I always have a chuckle to myself when they say that it is isolated when it is only a couple of miles from a town. One thing I would really like E2TC to do would be to revisit the couples and see if they brought and if they still like it and did their dreams come true.

    We made our tree change six years ago. I always wanted the farmhouse with the banging screen door and kids and pets running around. We were only blessed with one child and have a couple of dogs. That dream is a bit of a nightmare with lots of muddy footprints on the verandah and floors (we need a boot room lol). Fortunately my husband was able to transfer with his work. We are the complete opposite now for commuting. He would travel an hour to get to work and now it takes 3 minutes in the car. He was riding his push bike when we first got here but the novelty wore off. We have a house in town on nearly two acres. It is something between our dream home and nightmare. We have redone everthing except the roof. We have a large vegie patch which is very satisfying to get them out of the garden and straight to the table. We have chooks which started as free range but after eating two rows of silverbeet in 20 minutes they are now cooped up in a huge run with fruit trees and the vegie patch fenced with a nice old rusty gate and they get let out of an afternoon. We find two acres is more than enough for us. I would like to get some alpachas in the future and that will be enough pets. Our daughter has really blossomed in a country environment everyone looks after each other. We left all the family and moved 600 kms. They didn’t really like us moving so far away but they always come and visit and when we go back we always find it only takes a few days to get into the stress of traffic and the rush of life there. The only thing I really miss is the choice of different shops but that is always a excuse when we to go back is to shop.

  27. Corrie we have made the move as well. We are on a bit bigger though – nearly 500 acres. We have a ‘forever’ home we built with an AGA. 😉 the beginnings of a truffle orchard, a fruit orchard, vege garden, cashmere goats, milking goats, alpacas, and cattle. This year we hope to add sheep and pigs to the mix. We have 3 children but a revolving door of kids are thru our place! We are striking distance to Canberra so work for one is based there…… I will never go back to Sydney we are so happy here, more the children are so happy here…. There are so many other places than the southern highlands that are beautiful without the SH price tag.
    Oh and I packed up the tv a few years ago so I am not sure was escape to the country is!

    • sounds like heaven, I love Sydney but I also hate it at the same time if that’s possible! I think more space would just be heaven and it sounds like you are living the dream AND You have an aga too you lucky lady

  28. I LOVE Escape to the Country! I’d like to know who was the crazy person to change the time slot from 8:30pm to 10:30pm!! I only ever watch it on 7Plus now (Channel Seven’s catchup site online) – I can watch it at whatever time I like and it also has less ads! I agree – the wooden floor should have been extended into the kitchen (what a kitchen!). My husband will always have a city job, so we won’t be moving to the countryside anytime soon (though, in Perth you can actually be fairly close to the city whilst enjoying the peace of a more rural lifestyle. Might be possible for us after all!). We are fortunate to be on a suburban block ten minutes drive from the city that accommodates 3 chickens, a pool, hills hoist, a massive trampoline, 20 fruit trees and plenty of space for backyard cricket at the same time as handstand practice!

  29. You would love our place! We have 9 acres just outside of Orange NSW. We are surrounded by orchards and wineries! Each day my nearly 2yo and I collect eggs, hand feed the alpacas and talk to the neighbours lambs! The two golden retrievers are my boy’s best friends. There is a photo of our property from the air on my blog if you are interested. We moved away from Sydney for work and haven’t looked back!!!

  30. We have been dreaming of a country lifestyle for years too and have just bought 5 acres in the Gold Coast hinterland! We are in the thick of house plans right now and in that delightful stage of dreaming about everything I’d like to have in the new house without being stuck in the nitty-gritty of making it all fit into the budget just yet!! I am so excited about the change and what it will mean to our young family of 5. Our three little ones just run and explore whenever we are there and our 5 year old son (our eldest) will sit on the tractor with Daddy for ages…he is just loving it. It feels like home already and it’s just a piece of land with a shed on it at this stage. I can imagine growing old with my hubby right here and am so excited about all the parties, celebrations (maybe even weddings?) and everyday here-and-now life that will take place here. I am such a romantic but I do know there will be lots of hard work too 😉 Can’t wait!! Hoping you get your dream tree change too Corrie…oh, and I love ETTC too xxx

  31. Oh I dream, dream, dream!

    I love ETTC and real estate sites! I never knew there was so many addicts out there! I am so glad to see this!

    My dream is to move to Tasmania and we always joke about it, as my husband loves the warm!

    Leanne xo

  32. Engracia says:

    I love that show, I also tape it & watch while I am ironing or folding clothes when kids at school. I’m not in reality a country girl, but I love all those big English country homes, it seems such a romantic way to live, but I would miss all the conveniences of the city. I feel I have a lot of what the country has to offer where we live, a wonderful community, a lovely school, lots of trees, a big house with lots of room to run around and even some neighbours with vege patches & chooks.

  33. Justine says:

    Its our Friday night ritual to watch Escape to the Country! We were disappointed to see Wimbledon was on last week!!

  34. Living the dream here. Been just over a year since we moved to the central coast and we all love it. 5 acres, lots of room for the kids, beautiful house, fantastic neighbours, great school – couldn’t ask for more really. The great thing about here is that Newcastle has opened up more work opportunities for hubby too. It’s just over an hour either way (syd or newcastle).
    It will all come together for you when the time is right Corrie.

  35. corrie,
    5 yrs ago we made a sea change to the fleurieu peninsula SA. A change we werent expecting but embraced and now havnt looked back. We have built our house here, kids are loving school and the community feel. We still drive to adelaide once a wk for kids swimming lessons as there isnt a pool here, its only an hr away so doesnt feel far. There is down falls of course but al in all we enjoy having cows and sheep to watch on our way to school and the occasional kangaroo as well. I love escape too, would love to visit one of those towns someday, some of them do need fairly big upgrades thou…you would be brilliant at that!!

    • oh it sounds lovely where you are
      and yes I talk out to the tv that the wallpaper needs to go or the peach paint or all the wood needs to be painted:)

  36. I too love all the English house shows. I just don’t understand their need for enclosed spaces and bedrooms needing to be up stairs. I look at the older couples and think why don’t they realise that soon they will want ground floor rooms because their bodies just won’t cope anymore. I t doesn’t stop me from enjoying stickybeaking and dreaming though. Cherrie

    • YES! just last night I was watching this older couple look at this remote house and steep stairs and even I’m thinking how will they get on in a few years!!!!!!!! so true

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