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by Liz Jones

Year on year the occupants get bigger, and the footprints get smaller, and sometimes it’s a challenge, to be perfectly honest with you, to reconcile that. But we do! We manage. And we’re a lovely little team here. I wouldn’t say it’s too much of a stretch to describe us as a load of old idealists. But at the same time, we’re realists.

Consultations have shown that the larger the space we allow to accommodate the television, the less we find we need in the rest of the property. And that’s what a modern lifestyle’s all about, really. Tailoring your aspirations to what can practically be accommodated. Living your way, but adapting to fit.

I read a study the other day, done on rats, which showed that as you put them closer together, and keep them in close proximity, their brain activity decreases, and this means that ultimately, taking all the data into account, they’re really happy to be packed quite densely. It’s reassuring for them. After a while they don’t even miss the space. In fact if they did have access to it, they’d be at risk of panic attacks.

Sometimes people ask us about sustainability, and to that I would have to ask them what their perception of sustainability actually is. Is it about the long game, or is it more of a wait-and-see situation? I think we’ll all just have to watch how it plays out. And you’re quite right, too, to wonder about quality, and we have been doing some work on that aspect. At the moment we’re looking at around a five-year or a three-year timeframe for major structural resilience. Anything outside that window we can’t guarantee.

At the end of the day, it simply wouldn’t be right to expect, if you haven’t got the resources, that you can have as much as someone who does. Take gardens. I mean, they’re a nice-to-have but I wouldn’t say they’re an absolute must. If you’ve only got a yard, you can work with that. The same principle applies to storage. Or ceiling heights. Or bedrooms.

We look to the future. You should have it paid off maybe fifty years down the line, and if not then your children will be glad to shoulder some of it. There are schemes.

Would I live in one? Well, there’s a question.

I saw another paper recently with research to show that we’ve evolved to enter a deep, meditative state when we stare at repeating patterns of brick. It helps if the brick is a neutral kind of beige, like a biscuit dipped in weak tea. It’s a profound and peaceful condition, like a mild coma.

When all’s said and done, I think most people accept that they don’t have the right to a view. It’s not my place to take issue with that.


Liz Jones lives in Somerset with her family. She works as an editor, writes novels and short stories, and is currently studying part-time for an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Find her on Twitter: @ljedit.

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