Do you have friends in the city who talk incessantly about moving out here? Do they bore you with questions about property prices and the commute to Fitzroy? Do they visit for the weekend and make you drive them around and around and around while they try to imagine themselves here permanently, pickling their own produce? Send them our checklist for people who can’t afford to stay in Northcote wishing to make a tree change:
Check yourself. Is this really for you? Are you aware that amenities are slightly limited once you’ve turned onto the freeway to Stickville? Is your idea of country living based on Country Style? If so, turn your back on this article immediately and go pound the bluestone laneways that you still call home!
How handy are you? Can you change a tyre, fix a leaking tap and drag a dead roo to the side of the road? If not, make friends with people who can. This might mean lowering your standards, or forcing others to lower theirs.
Do you have a driver’s license? There is no public transport beyond Bell Street, unless you count the Newstead Community Bus, which seats twelve.
Are you willing to give up your Vivienne Westwood for Melissa heels for Birkenstock jandles? Are you cool with Cobalt Blue jersey smocks from Country Target? Are you happy for anything vaguely stylish to be covered up by a fleece-lined flanno for nine months of the year?
Do you like craft? Because just as the younger generation of country folk were discarding their dead grand aunties’ Bedazzlers, all these annoying people from Brunswick arrived and started knitting clubs.
Do you like to go to bed early? Because those new, handy friends of yours will be knocking on your door at 4am most weekends asking if you would like to drive 100kms to the nearest Swap Meet before ‘all the good stuff is gone’.
Do you even know what a Swap Meet is?
Do you like dirt? In your house? All the time? Also mud. Which is wet dirt. On your carpet. Forever.
Do you get excited about extreme weather? Even if it comes between you and a decent coffee or threatens to blow the roof off your shed?
Finally, do you like stargazing? Because there are no street lights in our little town and we have learnt to guide ourselves home after a night at the pub like penguins, via the stars. Almost as pretty as a Cobalt Blue jersey smock from Country Target.