A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears 

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       February 10, 2020


Author  Georgie Brooks

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9780648566916
Publisher:         Bad Apple Press
Release Date:   February 2020  

Website:    https://badapplepress.com.au 

Sea change, tree change, downsize change all have immense appeal at some time or other in just about everyone’s life; But not many take up the challenge and embrace the change.

So, when Georgie Brooks and her husband had enough of sweltering through another hot Adelaide summer down on the ‘ plains’, the cheek by jowl living of life in suburbia, when neighbours often shared far more than they ever really wanted to know, the temptation to relocate to the cooler Adelaide Hills proved very tempting indeed.

This is their story of the first year as newbies living the dream, coming to terms with the reality rather than the image and how, with a husband who is a Doctor at a major Adelaide hospital, a baby and toddler, Georgie Brooks managed to somehow begin to live the dream of mud, toast, tears with the addition of a mischievous cow called Ginger; their first mistake was naming the cows!

Written with very wry sense of humour, A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears, is a very honest look at what really can and does happen, when a couple of ‘city types’ decide to fall in love with a lovely, picturesque cottage in the Hills, finagling their way into purchasing the property, only to find that along with it being more than 100 years old, it is also the house, and sewage, and electrical, and plumbing systems that ‘Jack’ built.

Each month is filled with the new experiences discovered on an almost a daily basis, many of them costing money to solve, but many simply learning to manage what, in the magazines and the dreams, looks like the perfect solution to so many things – a Hills change.

Having a few chickens was terrific, until the Fox broke in one night, leaving only feathers behind; Georgie was in tears the toddler and baby took this disaster in their stride. The cows, fourteen in number bought with the farm, all received names, which was a natural thing to do: unbeknown to them, cows then become pets and unable to be utilised for any other purpose.

Winter that year saw a record amount of rain falling in the Adelaide Hills: along with the rain came more mud, intense cold, frequent power failures and the steep driveway washing away, making access to and from the house very difficult. A serious dose of winter ‘blues’ set in; not for the first time did Georgie begin to wonder if making a Hills change, was the right thing to have done with such a young family.

November sees a rant at another aspect of life in the Hills, The MAMIL; a strange lycra clad beastie that appears when the weather clears, believing that they have the absolute right of way at all times on the treacherous, narrow, winding Hills roads! – I totally relate!

The high points of peace, tranquillity, a glistening night sky, a glass of wine on the veranda in the dusk of the evening and so much more, like making friends with the neighbour, with a ‘real’ tractor, whom cheerfully helped pull her husband and their ‘small’ tractor, out of the mud on one than more occasion in the one day and several times after, all added up to a huge plus as the end of the first year fast approached.

A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears should be classified as a handbook for everyone, young or old, considering a making a “Tree’ change in their lives and just what that can, and could and does mean, as the days and months roll on as a dream is lived, a new lifestyle adapted and a steep learning curve are undertaken.

A funny, wry and very, very real look at becoming almost semi- rural!