W3 Terrace Dwellers Move to Country Rectory
Swapping "Acton for Arcadia" Leaves Fictional Townies Homesick
This week, two articles in daily newspapers discuss different aspects of moving to the country from London. In one, Acton gets a mention after a fictional family sold their "W3 terrace" for a vicarage
Yesterday, in the Daily Telegraph, under the headline "Oh please, no more rustic roistering", David Sharp revealed how he thought life in the country would be dull. However, after dinner parties where guests misbehaved, discussed the benefits of Ann Summers sex aids and tried to squeeze his wife's breasts, he was left longing "for the dull lights of London".
In the Sunday Times this week, novelist Wendy Holden dreamed up a list of inhabitants for a fictional rural parish called Wellover. One of the fictional families Holden wrote about hailed from Acton. The author of Filthy Rich (Headline Review £12.99), described how Anna and Henry decided to move because their son Oliver "wasn’t happy at school in London."
The piece continues: "Anna and Henry weren’t happy with the cost of living [in London], so they flogged the W3 terrace (just after house prices plunged) for a former vicarage, three times the size, in Wellover. Olly goes to a local prep school – well, it’s a 40-mile drive, which didn’t seem far initially, not at the speed Henry drives, anyway. But Anna now spends up to five hours a day in the MegaCruiser, ferrying him around. There is a bus that goes past it, but only once a week.
"So, Anna and the other yummy mummies who’ve swapped Acton for arcadia are now blocking up the lanes around the school in their off-roaders. It’s worse than Chiswick roundabout. It was all going to be so wonderful – gardening in the sun, stews on the Aga, new friends – but, thanks to the time taken by the school run, the lawn is as much a rambling wilderness as Anna’s social diary. It’s all Henry’s fault, flouncing off to London every Monday-till-Thursday and having all that fun and social stimulation (and he then has the cheek to moan about it) while she’s home alone. She never thought she could miss Pret A Manger sushi like this."
Holden's village of urban evacuees and David Sharp's frisky dinner parties are amusing to read. If the air in Acton is more polluted than you would like it to be and the High Street lacks a village green, there is plenty to compensate those avoiding the urban exodus to the shires.
January 29, 2008