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My ongoing search for the perfect leafy locale

WHERE to live?

It's always bothering me. Not the settling kind, d'you see? That is, I long to settle, but cannot. Not so such itchy feet as scratchy head. My mind - that fearsome enemy - is always encouraging: "Let's try somewhere else."

How I envy the settled, those who never moved from childhood haunts. They live long. Settled is good. Settled football teams with settled managers play better. Settled stomachs are healthy. Good ale needs to settle.

But, still, we can't help looking around. Particularly now, when the internet invites us to pry into properties. However, arguably, there's more to life than an en-suite bathroom. There's locale, space and - fanfare of kazoos, please - amenities.

I cogitate thus in the wake of intelligence from the public prints that G44 is Scotia's most sought after postcode and that a rural-style Perthshire street is the country's most expensive address.

G44 on Glasgow's south side was ranked top by postcode enthusiasts Royal Mail in a study of employment opportunities, health, education, crime rates and housing affordability. We're talking territory that includes Cathcart, Croftfoot, King's Park, Muirend and Netherlee. It "boasts an abundance of green space", as that Herald newspaper put it, including leafy Linn Park.

It also contains Holmwood House, a residential villa designed by Alexander "Greek" Thomson and now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

There are amenities for all, including (in order of importance) pubs, shops, restaurants, transport links, sports facilities and schools. There's a fine ice-cream shop, a quirky gift boutique (it says here), and an interesting cemetery.

A quick gander on website Zoopla shows 158 properties for sale, from a four-bedroomed detached villa in Cathcart ("truly flexible layout") for £360,000 to a traditional tenement one-bedroom flat ("superb"), also in Cathcart, for £42,000. But the south side has something else that money can buy: atmosphere.

I've no idea about the atmosphere at Balmoral Court in Gleneagles Village, Auchterarder. Fine, I'm sure, if not the place to be seen swigging Buckie from a Poundstretcher bag. Zoopla has declared it the most expensive street in Scotlandshire.

Want a hoose? Search your pockets for £2 million and some change. Average values at Balmoral Court have risen £185,627 over the past year. That equates to seven or so average annual salaries. Of those properties currently for sale, the highest stated asking price is £2,044,870, but several above that invite requests for an estimate. In the past year, one house went for £2,100,000. It had five bathrooms and three reception rooms. Would suit someone doing a lot of pooping and recepting.

But what of amenities? Well, one house available for self-catering holidays at an undisclosed price lists nearby attractions as shooting, falconry, horse riding, gundog school and off-road driving, most of which would be illegal in any civilised society.

Talking of which, you may recall that, last year, I wrote a moving and casually authoritative column about what was then billed as Scotland's most expensive street: Dick Place, in Edinburgh's Grange area.

It's the street I stravaig every year, commemorating a walk from one friend's house to another when I was back in the city after a period in the wilderness. It was so magically beautiful, an autumn evening with a big moon and leaves falling into the loamy gardens of substantial properties with solid, Scottish-style suburban architecture.

I should have known it'd be pricey, and amended my plan to live there with the following detail: "(3) Die and be reborn as an entirely different person with a lot more money."

I haven't enjoyed walking in posh streets recently, as they're the only ones with Better No' posters in the windows, though even here I've noticed Yes declarations going up of late, obviously among the better-read and more ethical.

Reading about the past when folk lived 10 to a room, I contrasted it with today when we all want space: a villa of one's own. And preferably in an area with a fine ice-cream shop and a quirky gift boutique.

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