Those of us thinking about moving house in the UK, have long used the UK flood risk map supplied by the Department of the Environment to make sure we are not buying a house too close to a flooding river – witness the recently renaming of the town of Staines which became, for poncey reasons (actually an attempt at increasing house-prices there) “Staines-upon-Thames” – but which later came to be nicknamed “Staines-under-Thames” when the floods hit.
However, apart from flooding there is a new threat that should be considered when buying a house. Given the possibility of nuclear war the Korean peninsula which could well spread (well China did take North Korea’s side in the original Korean War), to help you decide where to live, the US based real estate eMoov has published a map which rates the risk of a nuclear attack for each area in terms of the fireball, air blast, as well as nuclear and thermal radiation. And jolly interesting it is too.
Of course, as a schoolboy during the Cold War your correspondent lived near Northwood’s Royal Navy nuclear submarine command centre (actually an under ground nuclear bunker whose entrance was in Northwood but whose location was actually some miles away), so he was always going to vaporised in the first wave of a nuclear attack – probably the best way to go in a nuclear war. In fact one day he even thought that nuclear Armageddon had actually come when his school’s air raid siren-like fire alarm was tested one morning after he had got in early. A change of his school trousers was nearly required.
So is there anywhere on the small island where it is safe to buy a house avoiding a nuclear strike? Apparently, according to the map those living in Skegness on the North eastern coast of England are safe. Mind you if you were living in that town, whose claim to fame is its “bracing” North Sea wind, you might lose the will to live anyway.
Perhaps Cornwall would be nicer – though down to the lovely cliff scenery in the BBC’s Poldark drama prices there are already high – and of course there is already a radiation risk via its natural granite rocks to contend with. Inverness on Loch Ness, is a possibility though the monster might have something to say about a lot of new interlopers, and best not get too close to the Clyde river either as as the Faslane base there is where the UK’s Trident nuclear missile subs’ are docked – a prime target.
Of course, the witty poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, always joked that in the even of nuclear war he would head for the Peter Jones department store (part of the John Lewis chain) in Sloane Square, Chelsea, London, an area once famous for its rich young “Sloane Ranger” types like Princess Diana was in her earlier years.
Actually, Sir John’s reasoning was that nothing bad ever happened in Peter Jones, so he would be entirely safe.
Mind you, Her Majesty the Queen might be wise to take cover as Sir John had it in for Slough, near her Windsor Castle. Or perhaps just wanted to improve it as he called for its bombing according to his famous poem “Slough”. Its first verse went:
Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!