It seems to be nearly ours. A few more weeks of legal stuff. I have cold feet as well as hot flushes of excitement – how absurd at my age? I’ve always lived in the inner city (bar one year) so will I feel uncomfortable in a suburb so outer that one can see horses, sheep and even cows at times from ones’ living room? Will I cope with so much land to manage? For a born and bred townie like me the garden seems huge.
Heading towards me there’s a whacking great one-off tax payment to Her Majesty’s Government, a levy which these days is called ‘stamp duty land tax’. It’s my not inconsiderable contribution to reducing her majestic Kingdom’s National Debt, which I understand is a modest £1.6 trillion overall and rising by the minute. In fact the one-off tax I will pay for the privilege of moving house is more than enough to cover my share of the annual per-person cost of paying off the National Debt. So I am paying not so much my alloted notional share this year, but my actual share, unlike most people. Suddenly its not notional at all but truly painful! No wonder no-one but me is trying to buy a house.
All that aside, I am still a little anxious about the major life change rushing towards me (us). Will we feel isolated when we can no longer hear our neighbours through the walls either side, coughing and decorating, and jabbering on their mobile phones in the garden while they chain smoke? Will we miss the comings and goings in this little street, which has a school at each end and thus a huge daily ebb and flow of yummy and not so yummy mummies (and daddies) and their offspring. Will we miss the vast supermarket just around the corner, and being in walking distance of about 20 quite good eateries of an infinite variety of cuisines, and three different railway lines into town (‘uplondon’)? Will I miss having my daughter live at the end of the street, even if she works all hours and we barely see her once a week. Will we be surrounded by oldies like ourselves, with no young couples and no-one with an inadequate income (shall we call it that?)?
It’s all a worry. For I have never lived in the 20th century suburbs, and I am aware that it’s a different experience. We may have to work hard to adapt and get the best out of our new surroundings and lifestyle, even though it’s still in London and not actually the Outer Hebrides.