This entry is prompt #20 of The Book of Me, Written by You project
This week's prompt is – The feeling of home
Home means different things to different people, so this week we are going to explore what it means to us
- What does it feel like?
- How do you recognise it?
- What makes it home – people, place, time
This is going to be a really difficult one for me … Because after all, what is a home, what makes it more than the place where you live? Every house I have lived in was my home at the time …. To quote the song, “wherever I lay my hat, that's my home.” But a true home is something more than bricks and mortar, something more than the people that live in it, the memories it holds, the feelings it can elicit. A true home is something that exists in your heart and your mind, it's somewhere that gets under your skin and into your blood, it's the one place where you feel most relaxed, most at peace, most like yourself. But what if that one special place, the place you call home, is somewhere you have never actually lived? What then?
I was born and brought up in Harrow, north west London and I spent the first eighteen years of my life there. It was definitely home at the time – but though my dad still lives in the same house, it doesn't feel like home any more and I don't feel like I have any emotional connection to Harrow either.
From Harrow I moved to Hounslow, in west London, and I lived in various rooms in shared houses before settling with a partner in a flat in Feltham, and then another in Hanworth – all the same area really. In total I was in that part of London for around six years and each house was home at the time but again I don't feel any emotional ties to the area.
Then we moved out west to Farnborough, Hampshire, with our fifteen month old daughter, and our house there was very definitely a home, though not always a happy one. We lived there together with our children for six years and he continued living there after we separated until his sudden death last year. The house I moved to with the children as a single parent family became a very happy home, but it wasn't till I had to empty his house that I realised in many way his house was my home, because it broke my heart to see the state it had become.
From Farnborough I move north west to Oxfordshire, first to live with my soon-to-be-husand and then to become a single parent once again when the marriage failed. His home was never a home to me; the house we moved to became a home of sorts but was never a house I particularly liked. Today I and my wonderful man live in a large four bed house in Faringdon, and we are very happy here – yet despite living in this town for nearly six years I still wouldn't say it feels like home.
Because in my heart home is somewhere I have never even lived – Cromer, in Norfolk. I first went to Cromer when I was four, and I've been almost every year since, apart from a brief hiatus in the 1990s. As a child I arrived at Cromer station and felt like I was home; nowadays I drive past the “Welcome to Cromer: Gem of the North Norfolk Coast” sign and know I'm home. And one day, you know, I'll be going home. It's just a matter of when.