Noise. Above your lovely London home. Be afraid.

Susceptible to noise?: It’s possible I only include this factor because the answer in my case is an emphatic YES. Especially at 4:45 am. That’s when the first plane used to pass directly over our house on its final approach into London Heathrow Airport.

Obviously, noise in your home will be determined by a range of factors (How busy is the road? Are you above a pub, or between a popular drinking spot and a residential area? Does your neighbour play the bagpipes etc), but don’t underestimate the airplane noise when looking at leafy Southwest London. Check out this map, click on Westerly Arrivals 2012. The two short, black lines are the Heathrow runways. For anything under the parallel green lines after approach paths converged: expect early wake-ups, and much reduced conservation when trying to enjoy your garden. As you can see, only 8% of days in 2012 had less than 10 arrivals – most of the time, it’s a plane every 2 minutes. (Departures are not as much of an issue, unless you live extremely close to the end of the runway.

You might even have a visitor fall through your roof. One peaceful Sunday morning, less than a mile down the road from where we lived, the body of a stowaway dropped out of the undercarriage of a landing plane.  While this wasn’t the only body that rained on the neighbourhood (a man from Pakistan was found in 2001 even closer by our home), it’s rather unlikely to happen to you. Still, it made us think – about objects falling onto our heads (apparently, frozen blocks of pee from leaking toilets are also in the running), and about the level of desperation and hope the stowaways must have felt when they climbed into the plane before take-off. RIP. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2200947/Man-dead-street-Heathrow-flight-path-illegal-immigrant-stowaway.html; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19562101

By the way, our neighbour actually played the bagpipes. Turns out, there’s some way of disconnecting the noise from the practice, so all we were able to hear where strange “oooom”-like yoga sounds. No need to avoid the Scots.

The price of being a global hub. Lovely up there in the sky, but when it's scraping the chimney of your home...

The price of being a global hub. Lovely up there in the sky, but when it’s scraping the chimney of your home…

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