Richard Oliff: Going away shows me it’s good here...

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There’s nothing quite like going away to make you realise how wonderful it can be to live where you live.

The past weekend was spent with a friend in the west of London. Our capital has given me some of the most exciting experiences of my life yet, as if one were visiting New York, Manhattan is not the real New York.

Far removed from the glitz of the West End, Big Ben or any other tourist attraction that one may care to mention, is the London that people outside of the city rarely experience.

It’s not even the EastEnder stereotypes as portrayed on TV. I’m talking about the everyday folk who live on the perimeters of discussion outside of their own boroughs.

Here is the London that Boris never mentions, the London that still has to pile its rubbish into sacks for collection: no wheelie bins for them.

Air traffic from Heathrow criss-crosses the sky at altitudes that require no binoculars to identify the myriad of tail-wing commercial decals.

The noise of this incessant airborne swarm competes with the permanent rumble and associated racket (including the deep bass blasts of ‘muzak’ which emanates from over-tarted heaps) from the white-knuckle ride that has become the trademark of a typical outer London road.

Yet, for all this, Londoners still have to pay outrageous prices for their homes. How does the average Londoner afford such “luxury”?

Imagine having to pay something like £250,000 to £300,000 for a two or three-bedroom terraced house where nothing but everlasting noise and proximity to greater London are, apparently, an advantage.

Well, here in Northamptonshire, many commuters to the city can be at their places of work sooner and more relaxed than many living in the capital’s “twilight zones” and still arrive home in time to catch EastEnders on BBC3.