Escape to the Country

Now retired, I’m able to sample the delights of afternoon television, and what a feast for the eyes.

Take one random Friday afternoon’s fare from the BBC, consisting of four quiz shows and a diet for avarice: Bargain Hunt; Money for Nothing; Antique Road Trip; Street Auction; and Coast and Country Auctions. Clearly, all designed to show my fellow Baby Boomers the value of their tat or alternatively an attempt to stave off dementia.

The most successful of these formats is Escape to the Country, shown every afternoon, with one satellite station showing almost wall-to-wall repeats of the programme.

This is hardly surprising, for apart from watching the goggle box, the oldies other preoccupation is considering leaving The Smoke.

While the population of England as a whole is ageing (primarily brought about by better health care), recent figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that London has become a turn-off for the over-65s.

At the beginning of Escape to the Country, the featured couple is asked just why they are considering leaving their urban home. Predictably, being screened by Auntie, the pair don’t cite graffiti, litter, the proliferation of fast food outlets, mugging, teenage stabbing, or their new neighbours which hail from a different ethnic or cultural background, it’s always traffic, accompanied by a location shot of a few cars passing their front door.

Well, back to those statistics geeks. For they have found only 11.9 per cent of Londoners are now oldies, a decline of 3 per cent over the last 30 years; in fact, 25-34-year-olds make up 24 per cent of inner London’s population.

A professor from that hot-bed of youthful protest, The London School of Economics, blames high property prices (something the BBC fails to mention featuring couples wanting to cash in their accumulated property wealth), and the Prof. elaborated for we simpletons, asserting that youngsters flood into the capital from around the world. Let’s face it if you want to work and/or get laid there are more opportunities in London than say, Nether Wallop.

Assuming that I’m in possession of a winning Euro Millions ticket (will they be available after Brexit, no one says), what is the right choice for this old codger?

My choice would be a small house near the coast for weekends, while a low-maintenance apartment in the Barbican with easy access (and free travel) to theatres, museums, galleries and the inevitable hospital visit.

So should the nation’s broadcaster start a new afternoon slot featuring those wishing to return, my suggestion, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, would be: ‘When a man is tired of Life, he is also tired of the Countryside’.

Featured image: Cows in a beautiful green field by Fir0002 (CC BY-NC)

2 thoughts on “Escape to the Country”

  1. First of all have a great retirement. I hope that your retirement extends long enough to see Uber go bust as it surely will. I, a Londoner, living in Colorado for 10 years am retiring & will be moving back to the UK in 1 year. My American wife can’t wait to get back to England. We spent Christmas Eve to Dec. 28th in London last year looking forward to Xmas TV which turned out to be crap. I will not be getting a tv/tv licence when we move back. Senior RailCards mean even Penzance to London is only £40 each way first class. Clacton on Sea just £13 first class. Live on the Isle of Man? 35 quid to Gatwick. You don’t have to live in London as an oldie but visiting every couple of months is easily affordable especially with so many new budget hotels in London. In closing regarding the BBC this 2 minute clip on YouTube from LBC sums it up. Happy retirement. “This Is What The BBC Licence Fee Pays For – Nick Ferrari – LBC”


    1. An preemptive welcome back to Blighty. Yes I can’t see Uber being around London next year, they are already on borrowed time here. We now spend a lot of time on the Dorset coast which seems a world away from The Smoke. Thanks for following CabbieBlog.


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