Today I was reading an article that linked to a real estate listing in England. It includes a video. (DANGER! Ear worm!)
That was fun and cute and all, but it reminded me of a time I lived in a cottage some distance from London. I decided to pay a visit. I fired up Ye Olde Mappe Appe, zeroed in on East Hagbourne, and scanned up Blewbury Road looking for the pub near the brook.
No pub. That side of the road is now occupied by large, modern homes. The solar panels on the rooftops don’t fool me, these are English McMansions.
It makes sense. Nearby Didcot hosts the last super-high-speed train stop before London (at least it did in 1980). If I worked in London, East Hagbourne would be an ideal place to live, although only one of the three pubs I knew still stands. The Fleur de Lis was always the choice of the gentlemanly class in town, and now apparently that’s the only class remaining.
With all this change, I was not certain right away that the place I had called home for a little while still existed. I typed the address into Apple Maps, and was relieved to see it was still there, and a little bit delighted that the pin showed not only the address, but the home’s colloquial name. The cottage still stands.
Beyond the large new homes that line Blewbury Road, the fields remain. The land here is fertile, the rain reliable, and agriculture…
Holy shit Didcot has grown so much, usurping farmland to the point it has almost swallowed East Hagbourne. East Hagbourne also has doubled in size or more; entire neighborhoods of homes that look identical from space.
Compared to Orange County, the growth of Didcot is negligible. Just a little dot among the fields. But we have seen this show often enough to know how it ends. And if I worked in London, I would likely contribute to the destruction.