home and hearth

I’ve been thinking a lot about home recently. Not because I’ve gone all nostalgic, but because it’s the theme of the local TEDx, which is taking place in November.

It’s a great theme, as it offers a huge range of possibilities for talks. My immediate thoughts were quite domestic: houses, family, pets, neighbours…

But of course there are other connotations: home is about being safe. And there’s a definite emotional connection: it’s not just about being out of danger, but being comfortable with the language, the culture, the habits…
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you don’t know what you’ve got…

When I moved to Spain in the late Eighties, I still thought of the UK as my home. Having now, at least temporarily, ceased to have a permanent base in Spain, I seem to be in the opposite position. I don’t think I’ve ever really suffered with home-sickness, but there is always a hint of greener grass elsewhere. (Or, more realistically, greener grass in the UK and bluer skies in Spain, I suppose.)

olive grey leaves against a grey sky

I don’t know if the leaves in the picture are actually olive leaves – there were certainly no olives visible on the trees – but even set against the grey English sky they reminded me of the olivar I used to walk through to get to the pueblo and I had to stop to take a photo.
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going home

Madrid from the Casa de Campo
Many years ago I used to regularly read the Peanuts cartoon in the Sunday colour supplement; occasionally, I would cut one out and put it with other bits and pieces in a scrapbook. I remember the last panel of one of these cartoons showing a fairly despondent Snoopy saying, “Thomas Wolfe was right: you can’t go home again.”
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home thoughts

pebble-mosaic steps relleu

I’ve been in the south of Spain for a couple of days, and have been talking to other writers down here.

It’s natural to want to put other people into some kind of context, so I wasn’t surprised when, shortly after I met her, one woman asked me “Where is home?”

Without much thought, I answered, “Spain.”

Then that began to rankle. It simply didn’t feel like the right answer.

Home. It’s not simply where you live, is it? It has to do with family and friends and a sense of belonging.
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