THE makers of the board game Monopoly financed a survey to discover the average Briton’s ideal home.
They want a four bedroom Victorian town house worth £250,000 in a quiet suburban street with two bathrooms, a garage, conservatory, utility room and custom-built barbecue area. Oh yes, and it has to be within walking distance of a good pub. Not asking for much, then.
All this in an era where builders are being criticised for making modern houses too small with rooms that are not big enough to swing a cat, even if you could get a firm enough grip on a feline and wished to partake in such an extreme form of animal cruelty. Shame on you.
This expression, of course, actually derives from the naval punishment of a sailor being beaten with the cat o’ nine tails. This needed a certain amount of room for the gentleman wielding the implement. Accordingly it was carried out on deck as below there was not enough room to swing a cat.
Is this column educational or what?
Mind you, who knows what people get up to in their £250,000 four bedroom Victorian town houses these days. Perhaps a little gentle flagellation is just as good as a cup of tea for unwinding after a hard day at work.
One lump or two, dear?
Monopoly, which inspired this survey, is American and the board game reflects American aspirations to acquire property and great wealth.
I grew up in a two-up, two-down and my mother felt very posh when she moved to a three bedroom semi. But even I got the Monopoly bug when I bought my first house. It was a large Victorian town house in Lytham St Annes 100 yards from the sand dunes with five bedrooms and within walking distance of a pub. It cost £2,000. The first week part of the roof fell off and just missed the postman.
The idea was to convert this dilapidated building into holiday flats and become a property tycoon. Watch out Donald Trump.
Unfortunately I had neither the finance nor the skills to fulfil my dreams which were, in fact, about as substantial as a board game. Neither, thank goodness, was I American.
I ended up in Huddersfield (an area with many pubs within walking distance) to pursue ambitions of a much more fulfilling kind and live in a house where I could, if I wished, swing a cat, although if I did my wife would definitely give me a lump or two. It’s her cat.