Monday, November 10, 2008

House Hunting

For the past month or so, I have been engaged in an activity generally described as "house-hunting." Why it's so described has always been a mystery to me, however. There's no heroism or danger involved. It's not as if you actually track the house, carefully examining the ground for its spoors. Nor do you don a red jacket and, mounted on a steed, chase it with hounds.
No. The dull reality is that, in the company of an estate agent, you simply turn up at a specified address at a pre-arranged time, look the place over, and, if you like it, buy it. Or if you don't, you don't. In this respect, therefore, it's got about as much to do with hunting as has going into Waitrose and buying a pound of mince. (Except in the case of Waitrose mince, there's at least a minimal amount of risk involved, in that you might end up with something that will you give you an obscure CJD variant.)

Anyhow, I looked at several places. Almost without exception, none was worthy to house me. The so-called "much sought-after location" would turn out to be the sort of location you'd only really seek after if the alternative were some sort of inner city estate populated by hoodies. The kitchen, described as "modern fitted" in the literature, would, on inspection, prove to "modern", only in the sense that D. H. Lawrence is classed as a modern author, and "fitted", only in the sense that a size 3 foot can be fitted into a size 13 shoe.

I can understand, now, why birds bypass estate agents completely and build their own houses; why you don't see signs saying "For sale: Purpose-built nest; would suit single starling or family of finches". But because I'm not a bird, I can't build a nest. And because I'm not Working Class, I can't build a house, either. What I shall do, therefore, is stay put. After all, I have decided I rather like my current location: a sort of oasis of sophistication located just outside Hertford. I am happy here.

Looking ahead, though, I might at some stage encourage some birds to build me a house. It's occurred to me that the only reason birds routinely build nests out of twigs is that they don't know any better. They're generally hatched in a nest made out of twigs, so twigs are the only building material with which they're familiar. If a bird were to be brought up on a building site, on the other hand, it would quickly latch on to the concept of construction techniques using bricks and mortar. Unfortunately, a small starling or a sparrow would only be able to manage something along the lines of a Legoland house or a Barrat Home. I will therefore incubate an ostrich and set the chick down in one of the nearby building sites. Then, when it has built me a four-bedroom detached house, I will displace it, cuckoo-like, and move in. I may even serve its meat up as part of one of my Evening Meals, together with a piquant sauce.

No comments: