By EDWINA FREEME
It started with a drinking game. My husband and I would sit with a glass of red in front of Escape to The Country and have a small sip every time anyone asked to be shown period homes and then complained the ceilings were too low and the house too dark.
Or, anytime they specifically requested an eat-in kitchen, an Aga, and visible beams and were then put off because said property was too near the M1 or the A32 or the V65.
By the time then inevitably fell in love with a barn conversion in Sussex they couldn’t afford, our glasses would be empty and we would be deep in conversation.
This moving to the country thing. Could we do that too?
Late last year, we did it. I threw in the towel on what was probably the best job I’ll ever have, we packed up our young daughter and life in the ‘burbs of Brisbane and moved out of town.
We now live in an incredibly rundown Queenslander house on 11 acres of snake-ridden farmland in the Lockyer Valley, about an hour west of Brisbane.
We’re above the flood plain, which is what everyone always asks about first. The second thing they ask about is the snakes, at which point we put on our most resigned faces and shrug. They’re just a fact of life here, you know? You do what you have to do.
I think that implies we’re out there, calmly knocking them over the head with a shovel (which is of course, incredibly dangerous, somewhat immoral and highly illegal), but I can assure you our approach is more from the shout-at-them-until-they-take-off-and-then-stay-inside-for-the-next-week school of reptile management.
Our property is more of a renovator’s dismay than delight. It features not one but two rundown houses, each seemingly trying to beat the other in a slow, creaky race to collapse.