The bump down to reality after a blissful holiday is never pleasant, but it’s infinitely more miserable when your neighbours have texted to forewarn you of a “tagging spree” around your street. A particularly enterprising group of emerging artists had daubed our pretty south London neighbourhood in graffiti, generously including one neighbour’s car in their pop-up exhibit. Instead of dreamy Amalfi Coast vistas and paintbox Positano, it was back to some particularly gritty scenes and a clean-up operation. It wasn’t so much of a bump as a crash landing.
So forgive me for greeting the news with enthuasiam that Prince Charles’s pet project, the Nansledan housing development in Cornwall, comes with some draconian neighbourhood rules. There’s a lengthy 85 of them, to be exact, about what you can and can’t do around your home.
These include a ban on visible washing lines, flag flying, ball games, satellite dishes, plastic blinds, caravans, external drain pipes, slamming doors and public drunkenness. The houses are painted in shades to evoke a quaint Cornish seaside, and there are strict rules about what colours are allowed. Bins must be left outside on the day of collection only. House numbers must be placed in a certain way and caravans and satellite dishes aren’t allowed. Where do I sign up?
Before I’m “cancelled” as a curtain-twitching Hyacinth Bucket in waiting, is it really so ogre-like to decree that an entirely new town spring into being with some guidelines? Granted, some of them are rather cult like - apparently fixing your own car in your driveway isn’t permitted.
Does some sovereign eye of Sauron scan the horizon for renegades changing a tire under the cloak of darkness? And by what princely measure does a firm shut of the door constitute a ‘slam’? To be fair to the royal, the rules were apparently set by the Duchy of Cornwall, not the Prince of Wales himself, in a bid to “protect the character” of Nansledan.
While I’d never deign to tread on the wonderfully waspish toes of the brilliant author and raconteur Nicky Haslam, who compiles tongue-in-cheek lists of what he considers “common”, satellite dishes and plastic blinds are pretty hideous to look at. Flags belong on The Mall or a flat roofed pub. It’s especially pertinent that these rules (which actually date from a document published in 2018) have come to light now - we’ve never spent so much time at home as we have in these last five months.
Minor irks about our local environs - the litter on the street, the after-dark offender who allows his dog to mess on the pavement and doesn’t clean it up - would normally be punctuated by working hours in the office, after work socialising, the gym, weekend trips. Now they’re in our face, day in day out, with little distraction. I think I’ve developed a twitch from the music that blares from our local corner shop hangout.
With any luck, once the heir takes the throne, the Nansledan rulebook will be rolled out nationwide.
What do you think of the strict rules? Have your say in the comments section below.
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