The road to Putney.
They’ve gone. My friends from Eccleston Square, built by Thomas Cubitt himself as part of his mid-19th-century vision for Pimlico, have gone to East Putney.
Some of us thought it would never happen. They’d agonised for years. Houses were viewed, bid for and secured — only to be rejected at the 11th hour. Meanwhile, works on their substantial flat had begun. Their mood on leaving could be compared to that of the children of Israel on coming unto the wilderness of Sin. Mournfully, Fiona has started to call herself the Country Mouse.
To real country mice, there may be nothing to tell between these two places. Both are equally part of the Smoke. What difference that one is on the Victoria Line, the other on the District Line (Wimbledon branch)? Little, I say to my family, rather hoping that we might join our friends, but London is nuanced.
When we moved to our current house 20 years ago, the journey was no more than a few streets; that was part of the attraction. We weren’t really moving at all, everything would be the same. But it wasn’t. New shops, new neighbours, new anxieties for the residents’ association.
Strangely, as I attempt to convince the family of the excitement that change would bring—a fresh house, newly done up, everything working, perhaps a useful sum in the bank — I’m in a minority of one.