Everyone is leaving London – and other lessons I’ve learned trying to move house | Zoe Williams

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Why be in a city centre when nothing’s happening there, and where should you be when civilisation ends? Covid-19 has turned the housing market into an existential crisis

I went into lockdown feeling smug about almost nothing, except one small thing: right after it, whenever that was, we were going to move house. We had a buyer, we had a seller and the best bit was they were one and the same. We were basically swapping houses – no, sorry, this is the best bit – with a vicar.

It had been a winding, perilous road. In our first meeting (location: his house), knowing his calling, I tried to sound much more Christian than I am. But men of the cloth can always smell it when you do that. The second and third meetings (location: our house), I answered the door in a towel and in pyjamas, respectively; looking back, there wasn’t a single time I was appropriately dressed in this entire long-range encounter, except when visiting his house.

Who needs to be central when there’s nothing happening? Who needs great transport links to empty offices? Where do you want to be when civilisation ends?

Related: Covid-19 sparks exodus of middle-class Londoners in search of the good life

Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

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Author: Zoe Williams

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