At the last count, 50 percent of my friends have moved ‘out’…as in out of London.
Rather than experiencing the shock of a sudden mass exodus, it’s been more of a polite seeping of fun and familiarity over the past decade. Like a party balloon with a tiny pinprick, London being the party, obviously.
Some have moved out for pragmatic, practical reasons due to the spiralling costs of housing in London, others have moved to find work. All have move out looking for a simpler life, usually somewhere rural.
I used to scoff at people leaving London, but as I now live with an extremely boisterous, mud pie making toddler, I sort of get it. The sky, the gardens, the trees, the dogs are all super-sized in the country. There is room to breathe, stretch and grow.
I am not living in a high rise block in Zone 2, which in some respects would make my decision to stay or go easier. My predicament is that I am residing in suburbia, an hour away from the West End, surrounded by open parkland, friendly neighbours, good schools, where nothing bad ever happens, but nothing of note ever happens either. It’s all very nice, very comfortable.
Remember that 70’s TV series, The Good Life, which was set (ironically not far from me) in Surbiton? I have days when I am more Barbara (I’ve mentioned mud pies already haven’t I) and days when I am more Margot. e.g tomorrow I am lunching at friend’s new restaurant in Shoreditch (see, classic Margot) which is going to take me over an hour on the train.
I’ve lived in London all my adult life, I love it. The problem is that being close but not quite close enough to the action, heightens the FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) tendencies within me. When I see my metropolitan Zone 2 friends on Facebrag spending an evening at the V&A or Shepherds Bush Empire because it doesn’t cost them £60 in babysitting, I do get pangs of envy.
I have two options. Move out or stay in suburbia, get an Au Pair and do more London-ing.
The jury’s out.