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Life with Lavendar in London town

Friday, 1 February 2013

Oh Give Me a Home, Where the Buffalo Roam!


Gone with the Wind was a key movie influence in my early teenage years.  I recorded it when it showed on TV and re-watched it so many times that the VHS tape (yes, I am showing my vintage here) started to unspool and tangle.

It was so dramatic and uncompromising. Scarlett was such a definite, unscrupulous, charismatic figure. She knew what she wanted and she didn't give two hoots how she achieved it.  If she'd been around in the 1980's her name would have been Gordon Gekko.

Having watched the movie so many times, I knew all the key quotes off by heart. One of these was when Daddy O'Hara puts his arm around his wayward daughter and points to the enormous plantation house in the distance and booms:

Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts.

Scarlett and her Big House (run by slaves)
 
This quote has played in my mind over the years when the question of buying property has come up. Daddy O'Hara was clearly someone who believed that you should own your own little piece of home. I however, have avoided house ownership like the plague. Now heading into my forties with young child in tow, I am still renting.

The society I live in makes me feel abnormal about this. Australia and Britiain, the two countries I have spent my adult life in so far, are all about home ownership. Renting is for when you are young and carefree. The goal ultimately is to own your own home as it is seen to make better financial sense. Paying off someone elses mortgage is stupid when you could be paying off your own.   Buying & selling at the right time is critical however. Otherwise you may be stuck with a depreciating property that you can't shift; without sufficient funds to move on anywhere else.

I get the above. I just don't like it.

More and more, I wish we lived in a city where rent controlled living was the norm. Paris. Copenhagen. Berlin. Cities where renting is the norm for the majority and the law works to maintain this. To me, it is a commonsensical way of life. I do not understand the need to own one's home. It's not in my nature, nor that of my husband's. Will it ever be? I don't know.

The pressure is building though. To buy. To stay put. To commit.

Is it time to move again?

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