I have chosen the first day of the Mayan calendar to move home.
I came to London in 1992 to take up a job at the then Polytechnic of North London as a library assistant. In 1994 I moved to Hackney, and genuinely thought I would live here for the rest of my life. Events however intervened. For the past two years I have shared a single bedroom with my wife and two children - conditions that pretty much mitigate against proper sleep, or getting my research papers in any sort of order.
There was a time a council tenant whose affairs were in good order but lived in overcrowded conditions could have expected to be re-housed. Not today. In its assessment Hackney Homes gave me a 'general' banding status, putting some 27,000 families ahead of mine. There is no appeals process to this, and it was only after my Councillor wrote to Hackney Homes that they even attempted to explain or justify their decision.
The average price of a three bedroom house in Hackney is £438, 707. To rent is, on average £1950 per month (the figures for flats are slightly lower). Pretty obviously that is beyond my wallet - and with no possibility of being re-housed by Hackney Homes, I have joined the exodus from London to the Midlands - hopefully close enough to still be able to get into London for work and research, but far enough away for the rent to be affordable.
Hackney has changed a lot in the past 18 years. we have the Overground. Hackney has gone from edgy to trendy, Hackney Council has lost its 'loony left' image and residents of its remaining tower blocks can look out of the window and see a series of cranes working on the construction of new flats and re-developed estates.
Whoever those developments are for, it is not me and my family. Goodbye Hackney. It was nice knowing you.