Sunday, 29 December 2013

On the Wise Locations of Houses

We've waved Charlii and Young Keith off on their honeymoon. They're going to be spending a couple of weeks in my bolt-hole in Great Tremlett, due to Keith's understandable nervousness about going anywhere near Paris.

At least they won't be suffering from floods. Great Tremlett is like a city builded up, on a limestone hill, thus dodging the flooding that is inclined to break out in the clay of the valleys, where the brooks are. It's one thing the South Midlanders of old seemed to understand well - the idea of living above the flood line. Every village you see is perched on a hill. Good news for the summer trade of the pubs as well - ensures people are always in need of a pint, just when one becomes easily obtainable.

Don't get me wrong - flooding's a dreadful thing to happen to you. But that's why, in these parts, they try and make sure the things that flood are those that are dispensable or, as at Cosgrove caravan park, up on blocks. It's easy to blame climate change for flooding, but then why keep building housing estates on flood plains? Sure, it's easy to build on flood plains. Keeps the house prices down. But they have that name for a reason. Round here, we have stories of the way the Ouse flooded between Olney and Emberton, and flood marks up the walls of the really old riverside pubs - dating from long before the CO2 levels started to rise. If you're gonna live on a flood plain, the really wise builder puts the house on stilts.

Likewise when the houses fell off that cliff in Hemsby. There was a reason why they were cheap in the first place. And the cliffs there are basically sand. Fun and cheap while it lasted, but the end was always coming.

So my advice, if you're buying a house, is to see whether you really like the riverside view, or the brook that runs through an enormous car park before babbling through your back garden. And if you do, buy a house further up the hill. You know it makes sense.

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