Escaping our Escape to the Country

Posted on December 12, 2010

Given my previously confessed television tastes, it will surprise no-one to learn that I am currently obsessed with a lifestyle program about people buying houses in the country. There are no Trawlermen involved. No Monster Moves. No Smithy from The Bill (RIP). Not even Kevin from Grand Designs. But there are houses, British people and loaded discussions about the size of various kitchens and the importance of an Aga.

The premise, if you’ve not yet discovered it on Channel 7 Two, is that a family (taking in everything from couples with cats to couples with enormous numbers of children (plus Grandma) to Dads with grown daughters to candidates for Mother & Son) wants to move from a larger town (everything from London to a large village of 10,000 people) to The Country. In the version currently aired here, presenter Catherine Gee enters the fray to find said family four houses which might be suitable to their needs. Technically, said family is then supposed to fall in love with one of said houses and make an offer. Only they never do.

Catherine is unfailingly cheerful in her quest to fulfill the desires of ‘My Family’, as she calls them. Only once have I seen her calm demeanour slip. And it took an over-bleached blonde with an unflattering tan to do it. Something about putting mirrored tiles all over the dining room of a 17th Century cottage and inserting a full bar didn’t agree with Catherine. But even then, only a faint mew of disgust and subtle roll of the eyes gave her away. And only to those of us who knew her well.

Each week, The Builder and I watch the endless parade of properties – invariably called Rose Cottage – and mentally rearrange the furniture, pulling out walls, and replanting gardens. We’ve discovered we’re not ‘Beamy’ people. Beams usually mean low ceilings and that’s not for us. And we’re partial to an ‘outbuilding’, big windows and a ‘downstairs cloakroom’.

Seriously, it’s like a 10pm Friday night SBS movie for Real E-Stalkers like us. House porn. We’re wed to the Fibro, but that doesn’t stop us looking. Even at totally unsuitable properties from 2007 on the other side of the world. In fact, that’s probably better than looking at totally unsuitable properties available locally – and now.

Why, just months ago I nearly fell for a one-bedroom renovated church. Fortunately, sanity intervened. Well, that and the fact that it wasn’t named Rose Cottage.

{image: yoursigns.blogspot.com}


  1. Anonymous

    While I adore the show I have only one problem with Catherine Gee – if only she could get through a sentance without using “ummm”. She does it incessantly and it really grates, especially when there are so many wonderous houses and villages/scenes to enjoy.

  2. Deer Baby

    Catherine Gee does make me laugh. She’s just so……nice. That show is so budget – she gets to go to all the places and the couple just have to watch it on a laptop. Saves the travel budget I suppose. I’ll take Kevin over Catherine any day.

  3. Karen

    Great blog. Nice to know me and Mr Karen are not the only two missing The Bill. Our Saturday nights are very pathetic now (well, even moreso) without Smithy and the gang.

  4. Jen

    Something to be said about dreaming and drooling over other peoples houses. I am enjoying watching this show and bonus it is on Friday and Sunday as well. Best show on TV right now

  5. Posie Patchwork

    I find the ‘families’ she is trying to rehome are SO painful, they can’t see past bad carpet or the concept of knocking out a wall – SO NARROW MINDED!! I think they are the kind of people who would do up their own home for sale, realise it’s so much nicer now & end up staying in their own home!!
    I do love Kevin from Grand Designs, he finds the weirdest people with seemingly unlimited budgets but can’t cope with their blind optomism, when is enough enough?? One million pounds over budget, but we finally got what we wanted?? What?? A mortgage they’ll never pay off?? Kevin should be allowed to slap them.
    Love Posie

  6. Carolyn

    I love that show! Hubby and I have very different favourite channels on pay TV – his is all about fishing and mine is all about house shows from the UK! I love to watch Grand Designs, Location, Location, Relocation Relocation, Property Ladder… my all time favourite is Build a New Life in the Country,although the original host George Clarke has sadly now left the show.

  7. Suzie G

    I was in a house on the weekend that is being done up, and it was heaven – great big open living area, massive kitchen, office space (*sigh* I can only wish my desk isn’t in our lounge/kitchen) and.. drumroll.. loft with 2 bedrooms. Stunning!

  8. Allison Rushby

    As you know, am a fellow addict. Am not a beamy person either. Somehow, being Australian, I see a slight problem in not being able to stand upright in your own home…

  9. suburp

    i’ve been watching this and other house porn shows with my husband and unfortunately, we’ll sigh for completely opposite styles..
    he may physically be unfit to be a ‘beamy’ person (at 6’6..) but i can’t understand how it’s always the modern and futuresque houses that make him moan in jealousy..
    i would have moved into that little church !! soo cute!!
    (almost bought a little train station in France once.. in an other life…uhm)
    so while we can’t afford to buy at the moment anyway (having both sold the walls of the past..), we can put it on our different tastes. is a bit like with real porn i guess. men just like different things…

  10. In My House

    Can’t believe I don’t know about it! Sounds bloody great. We have to keep up with our regular coffee dates.

  11. katepickle

    Oh I love this show too!!!
    And that orange skinned family was priceless!!!

    I am not a beamy person either… besides exposed beams is bad feng shui LOL

    I’d almost pay for foxtel to get all the other fab house porn shows they have…. almost… Instead I settle for house porn blogs and tumbleblogs LOL

  12. Sarah

    Like Green Mama can I recommend Grand Designs, if you think your show is porn then this is the harcore stuff 😉

  13. Our Park Life

    house porn! awesome

    have not seen the show but sounds fun….especially being a country dweller myself, i’ll look out for it

    Gill xo

  14. Little Ted Canvas

    I love that show too, I can’t help myself! Did you see the home last week with the most stunning imbossed walls?! I will dream forever about those walls…Still not good enough for the miserable pair looking though.

  15. Naturally Carol

    How come we don’t get ‘Beach House Downunder’?…I loved Grand Designs, even bought a DVD…except it is never the same watching over again…not the same excitement! I do love “Move to the Country” too, the peek into the English countryside is irresistable though some of those houses are definitely resistable with their low ceilings and little claustrophobic room spaces despite their quaint and pretty exteriors. I can almost smell the rising damp sometimes! I’m in for the long haul on Friday nights though and also enjoy “60 Minute Makeover” with voyeuristic enthusiasm!

  16. Stacia

    I think I would live absolutely anywhere named Rose Cottage … even if some nut with tacky mirrored tiles got there before me. That name just makes you feel all serene. (Imagining ripping out the tiles one by one helps, too.)

  17. Alli Sinclair

    House porn, there’s nothing like it. And I’m not a beamy person, either. Great blog!

    (in case you’re wondering, we met at RWA in August with the other Alli)

  18. Rhi@FlourChild

    We’ve got a show over here in Belgium called “Beach House Down Under” – total Real Estate Porn, I love it! It’s all Aussie houses, ridiculously expensive designer numbers bang on the beach. It’s so cruel of them, scheduling that in during winter here, but I can’t switch it off. 🙂

  19. Victoria

    I’ve spent many an hour watching this too. Love to be nosey and see around other people’s home (and how much cash they are spending!).

  20. Green Mama

    Ooh you would love Grand Designs Australia then- a few weeks ago it was a house on the gold coast- mock-Hamptons style mixed with Victorian mixed with Federation with contemporary ‘touches’ thrown in. I was amazed… by where people get money!

  21. @jencull (jen)

    I watch that too and I am not a ‘beamy’ person either, unless you are talking about the size of my rear end (also called a beam if it is very big, this side of the world anyway) then yes I would be beamy *sigh* Lovely to read and giggle about a programme I recognise considering I live the other side of the world 😀 Jen

  22. Lady Estrogen

    I love almost everything house related from the UK… escape to the country; location location, location; even homes under the hammer, and a couple more I’ve forgotten the names… I was a junkie – but I must admit, Grand Designs was my all time fave, oh yeah! 🙂

  23. Lucy

    I have seen that show. I love it. Lovely husband tells me to watch it, in preference to me starting too many conversations with “Hey, I saw an amazing place on realestate.com today…….”

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