Monday, 30 November -0001

View Envy

Is anyone immune from ‘view’ envy? It’s unlikely, says Sam Taylor

Written by Sam Taylor
Mark Twain once said, ‘Buy land, they’re not making it any more.’ The same could be said for sea views. A window looking out to water has always commanded a high premium, especially for holiday homes. Who doesn’t want the room with the beachfront access?

It would be more than a slight exaggeration to say that Rock House had ‘beachfront’ access, but it does have some unique views over the rooftops of the old town and down towards the fishing fleet on the foreshore. It was the primary reason for sinking every penny of what would have been my children’s inheritance (and any chance of university fees) into a house that, three years on, is still limping towards completion and chasing cash flow.

It would also, I now realise, be an absolute exaggeration to say it has the best views. Like all things in our complex, social hierarchy, views are rife for competition. It would be a rare (and extremely self-contained) person who felt smug about staring at a brick wall. The more people I become friends with in Hastings, the greater my fall from my elevated belief in superiority of my own views.


There is Ginny and MJ’s house up on the East Hill. Their perch is so steep they can see down the coast to Beachy Head and are far enough away from the front to not have the litter of the fairground crowding the foreground in their sunset photographs – mine are marred by the neon lights of the teacup ride and the Donuts stall.

Then there is Mel across the road in the double-fronted, lateral conversion flat. She looks over my house and straight out to sea – the arcade miraculously photoshopped out by the rise on the hill. Michael is in the largest and oldest house in the street, with the best bathroom in Britain, where he can lay back in warm, soapy water looking out through the French doors of his Juliet balcony straight out to France – as if bathing on the brow of a ship. It’s hard not to feel crestfallen by this kind of competition.

Recently, I made a new friend, Michelle, and invited her over for tea. She called to thank me before admitting to serious view envy. ‘I can’t stop thinking about it,’ she wailed. Is it wrong to admit that I high-fived myself?

Next week: Sailing away

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