Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Long live the North-South divide.....
I stumbled across a TV show tonight, which was called '...Location, Location, Location...'.
I watched almost disbelievingly as the presenters tried to convince a pair of hapless buyers that a flat for £600,000 in a post-modern Stalinist block in Holloway, North London, was actually a good buy.... I'll spell it out - six hundred thousand pounds for a god-awful two-and-a half bedroom flat, FFS !
And believe me, I know all about Stalinist flats, having lived in several during my times working throughout Russia.
Here '...up north...', we own a three-bedroomed house on a 600 square-metre plot, with only three near neighbours, open southern and western farmland aspects and a protected woodland to the north, for which we paid around a quarter of that sum, including the recent garden extension purchase.
And lest you think we're severely disadvantaged and remote from any trappings of so-called civilisation, within a mile or so from us we have a 24-hour Tesco Extra, an ALDI, a Boots, several health centres and dental practices, plus an array of small & specialist high-street shops and banks. Within five miles in another direction, we have another 24-hour Tesco Extra, a Sainsburys Superstore, a Morrisons Superstore, another ALDI, a Lidl and an M&S Food store, and a small town centre hosting many of the national high street favourites.
I'm a 20-minute taxi ride and then a two-and-half-hour train journey away from central London (or around four to five hours by car), for the very occasional visits I need to make to the Metropolis. I'm half-an-hour from an airport from which I can reach, via empty roads and a short hop to Amsterdam Schiphol, just about any major city in the world.
And before anyone tries to justify the ridiculous London house prices by talking of the higher wages available, I know I'm not alone in the North in being able to charge my clients London rates for the services I provide, without all the cost disadvantages of having to live there. I can also say that in the past I've turned down six-figure offers of full-time employment in London.
I've got no beef at all against the very fine people of London, many of my friends live in the wealthier suburbs and I also worked there myself many moons ago, for several years via the weekly-commute routine.
However, to paraphrase an old Victoria Wood comedy sketch, "...I'd like to apologise to those readers living in the South - it must be terrible for you..."