Thursday, 26 February 2009


I have become reluctant to plan - certainly not to plan more than a month or two ahead. This is probably what's behind my failing to book singing with the Robinson choir types for the 18th April for AGES. It was too far away to commit to. I've been living a shifting life for a couple of years now, and I half resent closing down options. I should pick it up again though. I have holidays to organise!

For someone who doesn't like change very much but who has been rollercoastering around life for the past 5 odd years, I think I'm doing ok. It took a bit of doing, but I think I succeeded in transferring 'home' from being a place to being a state of mind, or an atmosphere, generated by people. I can keep in touch with them wherever they are in the world, and so I need never feel as completely alone as I was when I was uprooted from physical places I felt attached to. I love Cambridge, don't get me wrong. I'm comfortable here; I know where to find things and I know the shortcuts and there are beautiful places that I go to when I feel the need for them. But all of those things are not home, in themselves. The fact that I see people around all the time does start to make it home - the whole place takes on the feeling of a shared house; somewhere to keep stuff and feel comfortable. An old coat with huge pockets.

Maybe nobody creates home as an adult in the way that children do when it's the place that they've always known. Maybe one never recaptures the pure affection for somewhere in the same way. I adored Ashwell. It was an idyllic place to grow up. I wouldn't want to live there now, and I was in the end glad we moved to St Albans. I fused myself to that place, after initial resentment. My life revolved around the city, and I barely left it at all except for actual holidays for 8 years. It tore me apart to be told I wasn't going to have that base any more. Now, though, it's not friendly any more. It's dirty and smelly and old and I have to be someone I'm not when I go back there. I changed and it didn't feature in the change, and neither did any of the people who live there, so now we're not in sync any more. Like a couple that have split up in difficult circumstances who come back together later, hoping to find a little of the spark that had led to them being close in the first place, only to find that they really have nothing in common any more.

The people who mean home to me now do not necessarily live nearby, but they're always at the end of a phone or an email. I locate home in the airwaves, somewhere? Perhaps I do. If they were around, and some of them are, home is easier to pin down. Safe and comfortable.

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