Thursday, 6 January 2011

Twelfth night

Twelfth night is here and, though, like the rest of the country, I'm sick to death of picking pine needles out of my socks and wrestling baubles off the cat, the streets around my home look dreary and depressing.

I hadn't really noticed how dowdy my area of Brighton was looking until everyone simultaneously unplugged their fairy lights and threw the Christmas trees, stray strands of tinsel still attached, into their front gardens.

And it made me wonder why we only dress up our homes once a year (or twice, if we're trying to sell). We slouch around like Jack Duckworth for eleven months, then plaster on the slap and the flashing earrings like Bet Lynch just for the last couple of weeks.

Maybe it's because in cities people don't tend to linger on their doorstep, and the only time we look up is to see how bad the leaking gutter has become.

Of course, there are streets nearby which look lovely all year round, and they're not in the millionaire's neighbourhoods. I'm talking about the rows of multi-coloured tiny terraces, where owners not only keep their fronts pristine, but also cultivate award-winning floral displays.

And I suspect that the effort put in pays dividends, not only in terms of community pride and cohesion, but also in the value and saleability of their properties.

So perhaps, instead of settling down to another year of grumbling about falling house prices, and ignoring the guttering, I should set a good example by making my house look as nice for the other eleven months of this year as it did at Christmas.

Now all I need to do is tidy up the back garden so I can find the ladder.

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