I’ve always been, and always will be, a city dweller.
But perhaps the warmth I like to bring into my city home actually has its roots in the countryside.
For me, it’s specifically the countryside in the south east of South Australia. One of my father’s cousins married a farmer and settled on a property near Kalangadoo.
Incidentally, Kalangadoo was also a prime location from which to view a total solar eclipse sometime in the 1970s. I was a surly teenager who was not thrilled by a family weekend trip away to watch the world go dark, but I’m sure others found it impressive!
My father’s cousin Margaret was to me as a child the quintessential farmer’s wife (remember, I was raised reading Enid Blyton books and so thought farmer’s wives were always jolly and kind!). Margaret’s kitchen was the centre of a warm and welcoming world where the fire was always alight and there were always fresh cakes to be baked.
Eggs were collected from the henhouse and milk came from the dairy. Recipes were written in pencil in faded notebooks worn by generations of women’s fingertips.
There was history, generosity, and time for rambling conversations around the well-scrubbed kitchen table.
However much I love living in a city, there are definitely times when the complexities of co-existing amongst millions of other people with their own priorities and preferences can be overwhelming.
To me, New Country Style is about creating a warm, calm and generous space inside our homes, where we can shut the door and leave the city’s complexities outside.
It’s not about re-creating a remembered past, or even creating an authentic rural lifestyle. Margaret’s farmhouse would have been stinking hot in summer and I vaguely remember there being an outside toilet …..
It’s about distilling a little country feeling in a contemporary way that suits our modern lives. And remembering that there’s always time to make a pot of tea and share it with others at our kitchen table.