Hi everyone, my name is Tina and I have a blog called Rubies' Place, which is all about our simple life in an Australian country town.  Our beautiful friend Kerry has asked me to do a guest post for her here at a Tranquil Townhouse, whilst she is kicking up her heels (in her gorgeous, recently purchased boots)  across the US.  This is my first guest post, so I hope I do her proud and that you enjoy a little peek into our country experience.

We have not always lived in the country...no!  We were previously living in Sydney, with long work and school commutes, never sitting down to a meal together, let alone spending any quality time as a family.  So, we decided on a 'tree-change' six years ago. We moved to a fabulous country town in the New England area of North West NSW.
 Our town is full of old character filled weatherboard cottages...
 tree lined streets...
wood fires in winter, gardens full of old fashioned roses...
and  it takes us literally less than two minutes to drive out of town into the quintessential Australian countryside.  Everything we had dreamed of before making the move.
We have read so many articles on tree-changes 'that have turned to dust' and how many people regret moving from the city to the country.  Well, I have to say that we have NO regrets about moving out of the city.  Mind you, in saying that, we weren't quite as prepared for country living as we thought we were.  So here are 7 tips for you, if you ever think about moving to the country from the city.

1.  Practise extracting your foot from your mouth, before making the move!  Seriously...country towns are small and everyone is either related to each other, or know each other.  I consider myself to be a very diplomatic person, but have found myself with a big old R.M William's heel sticking out of my mouth on quite a few occasions ;) (oh, yeah.... R.M. Williams boots are a MUST for anyone considering a tree change).
 2.  Shops in small country towns close at lunchtime on Saturday...no, seriously, they REALLY, REALLY DO!!!   Speaking of shops, country towns are filled with amazing shops and the thing that I love most, is that you can choose to support a local family-owned business over large chain stores... my favourite shop in our town is called Kitchen Addiction, a family-owned Kitchen wares store run by my lovely friend Fiona .
...so if you are ever in Armidale, you really must pop in!!  Beware, you won't be able to leave empty-handed!!
3.  In the country, when a tradesman says that they will be turning up on a particular day....check which week they are talking about...'I will be there Wednesday...'  could mean ANY Wednesday in the next 6 months.  We cooked on a BBQ on our front porch for 9 months, it took that long for our kitchen to be made....but I do think it was worth the wait :D

4.  Be prepared to be dragged to a local rodeo by well meaning neighbours who have been 'country folk' their whole lives....go on, you have to do it once in your lifetime!
5.  Learn to bake BEFORE you move, otherwise you will spend the first twelve months following your tree-change, feeling incredibly inadequate ...everyone in the country can BAKE!!

6.   Old character-filled weatherboard cottages, have absolutely NO built in storage!!  so either factor that into your budget or bring a truckload of cupboards and wardrobes with you, otherwise, I swear it will drive you insane sometimes!!
7.  Be prepared to have come across whole herds of cattle in the middle of country roads....  Also be prepared to have to turn off the engine in your car and wait for however long it takes, for said herds of cattle to decide they will move off the road and let you pass...true story, has happened many times!

So now that you have these little pearls of wisdom, you are more than prepared for a tree change ...or maybe just a visit or drive to your nearest country town.  Either way, go out and enjoy all of the fabulousness that Australian the countryside has to offer, you will love it, I promise!

Tina xx