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North & south

Hampstead stoic

we live in the most vulgar part of Hampstead, a chunk of millionaires’ suburbia where the living is done behind electric gates away from the lanes of the famous “village.” The carbuncular alarms on every villa look like strongboxes. “Burgle me! Make my day!” These lovely avenues, once a part of “forever England,” have been tarted up by residents who favour gold letters and coaching lights. Our bit of Hampstead seems distinctly unintellectual and philistine, though someone did shout “Stoic!” when I was running in the rain.

In Balham, “gateway to the south,” a man in a van once shouted…

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