There I was, strolling along and minding my own business when suddenly I saw the perfect house. In my imagination, I wrote the real estate ad to which I will soon be replying. There’s no price, because some people in my new community would be “not amused” by any mention of money. Here goes:
“For Sale: Duck Island Cottage. This lovely starter home is an architecturally-designed period maisonette with garden, en suite bath, and room for a pony. Location: London’s exclusive St. James’s Park. Share the vast surrounding green space with your royal neighbours, several troops of Horse Guards, the occasional Prime Minister, and millions of tourists annually. Enjoy a clear view of Buckingham Palace about a quarter mile away. No cats. Must love birds.”
My ad is fake but the house is real, and easy to find. It truly is right in St. James’s Park.
You may not have Duck Island Cottage on your London “to do” list, but I hope you plan to visit Buckingham Palace at some point. It’s worth it to pass by even if you haven’t got a ticket or an invitation to tea. When you’ve had enough of viewing the guards and hoping to see the Queen, turn your back on the monarchy and start marching east, toward the River Thames. Take a path through the middle of St. James’s Park. Keep the long lake on your left, and walk all the way to the end of the water. There you’ll find my new home.
The cottage was built for the Bird Keeper in 1841. Although it’s not a residence now, it should be. In fact, it should be a residence for me. Why not? I correctly identified three pelicans, a heron, and some ducks there, I’m allergic to cats, and I’m pretty good at filling bird feeders. To whom should I apply?