I have always liked London. I don’t really know why. Maybe it is because of the energy, the various parks and the narrow, cobbled streets. But I can’t help thinking that it is because London has all the ingredients of an organised chaos.
Take Paris for instance. Someone called Haussmann decided to renovate and reorganise Paris. Old individual houses were destroyed and the main streets were completely renovated, boasting tall, modern buildings and wide avenues. It was all about order and ensuring consistency of style.
As a result, if you cannot afford to buy a “Hotel Particulier” (i.e. a big, posh house) in the XVIth district, it is virtually impossible to buy a house in Paris.
Things are different in London. Buying a house doesn’t come cheap, but remains possible. Lots of streets still have terraced houses, some Victorian, others Georgian. The capital is made of different layers and hasn’t had to sustain a heavy programme of renovation over the last 250 years. It shows. It makes it more human.
After a few years here, we wanted to put down roots and decided to try to buy our own place. It was quite a journey…Until one day, lured by another nice ad from an estate agency, I visited this home. An old couple had been living in it for a few decades and it was part of a house built in the 1840s. There was a cat on the cupboard, in the lounge. It looked asleep and was breathing. The agent explained to me that it was a stuffed cat that had been kept to keep the new cat company. And to trick the new cat, it was plugged and could breathe.
How weird. I thought that it must be a British thing again and kept my mouth shut. We made an offer. My highflying husband managed to convince the agent that the ad should be removed. It worked and the offer was accepted.
I have now been living in the Stuffed Cat’s house for 4 years. The former owners obviously took both cats (the living and the stuffed ones) with them. We found old newspapers from the 1850s in the attic. We now have our own piece of London.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London