The British TV series, Grand Designs has been around for a few years now and has really raised our awareness of the quality of the spaces we inhabit and how we live.
According to series host Kevin McCloud, environmental issues are here to stay: 'Eco-building is no longer the domain of the knit-your-own-sandals brigade. Legislation and the Rio and Kyoto protocols require us to consider the environmental impact of everything we do, and clearly our homes are big producers of pollution both in their construction and in day-to-day running.
Like Kevin, I moved out of the city a few years ago to live a more balanced, in-touch-with-nature sort of life. As much as I loved the buzz of the city, the prospect of raising a toddler in a polluted inner city neighbourhood meant all that excitement began to lose its charm.
Home now is a 110 year old former dairy farm house in the middle of rolling green fields - within easy reach of a decent coffee and a handful of stylish shops. Being more eco-conscious does not have to mean going to the the trouble of building an underground house like the one on an episode of GD, however.
I like the fact that we are "recycling" an old farm house, which we have gradually updated and are extending with an old church hall which was saved from demolition and moved to the property from a local school yard just before Christmas.
I am no hippy - believe me! I'm a former Fash-Mag-Slag with a penchant for designer shoes, but I must say I take great satisfaction in the fact that we harvest all our own water supply, grow our own fruit, vegies and herbs and have huge, tumbling compost bins.
Gone are most of our incandescant lightbulbs, replaced with those energy efficient ones that take a while to kick in and give a ghostly fish and chip shop sort of light (!). When the budget will allow, we are hoping to install some wind power in the form of an old windmill as well as solar panels which will be the next step for reducing our environmental footprint.
The one thing I have yet to tackle to complete the whole tree change picture is having chickens. Everyone of my new-found country friends assures me they are no trouble but something about their beady eyes unnerves me. That and the fact they attract snakes.
I wonder if Kevin has chooks?