No Going Back: a humorous diary about moving away from the bright city lights of Brighton, England
Episode 1: Driving over lemmings
We’ve finally decided – there’s nothing else for it. Living inBrightonhas become simply unbearable. We’re going to have to move. What was once a care-free town full of bohemian artisans, creative artists and laidback hippies has turned into an over-commercialised, trumped-up little city that thinks it’s the centre of the universe. Yes, Brighton is the \’place to be’ alright – as long as you’re a financially bloated commuter, an artistic poser or a dodgy commercial property developer looking to overload a tiny site right in the middle of conservation parkland with a ten storey apartment block. And anyway, my wife Cherry and I might as well face up to it – we’re just too old for Brighton now; we’re both in our thirties!
We’re seriously thinking about where we want to move to. We’re focusing on West Sussex because we’ve heard such marvelous things about it – it’s got better South Downs than East Sussex, life is slower-paced and more civilised – and it hasn’t got Brightonin it! And then of course there’s the West Sussex Gazette – surely that’s worth moving for, in itself?
Had a flood of estate agents round today to value our bijou maisonette at Seven Dials – all falling over each other to get sole agency – vying against one another with their flattering remarks about our excellent taste, how easy the property will be to sell, and what astronomical price it will fetch. We plumped for House-U-Like – the only one that didn’t insist that we do a big pile of cleaning and tidying before going on the market. Because that’s the kind of people we are – life is too short for stuff like cleaning and tidying – yes, even if it’s to sell your house.
House-u-Like is showing the property to a tight rota of twenty-seven viewing parties today! We need to escape and leave them to it. Instead of a garden we have our beloved allotment up the road, so we retire there to sit in the sun amongst the waist-high weeds, where we’d once dreamt of having prolific organic vegetable beds and lush biodynamic fruit cages. As usual, the grumpy old geezer on the plot next door makes pointed remarks about ‘having a nice rest, are we?’ and ‘do we think we’ve done enough work to deserve a rest?’ He also hands us, with evident relish, yet another weed notice from the council. Yessir, it’s definitely time to leave. That’s one person we won’t miss.
Excellent news – there’s strong interest in our flat, at the ridiculously exorbitant full asking price. With prices this high, we might even be able to afford to live in West Sussex! The interested party – Tarquin Pangborne – is a very nice young chap moving down from London. His wife Bibi is a lifestyle coach, specialising in helping clients with overcoming food intolerances and interior decoration allergies, and choosing nail varnish colours to suit your personality type. Compared with London prices Tarquin and Bibi reckon they’re ripping us off, and they’re gagging to sign contracts. Apparently Tarquin’s a thrusting young property developer – they’re such nice people, property developers, and I won’t hear a word said against them. I’m sure they’ll be very much at home inBrighton.