This week’s blog falls at an awkward time. I would say that I’m moving house, but that doesn’t quite cover it. More accurate to say I am moving back into my house. The house is the same, but different, from the one I moved out of several months ago.
Those who know me will be aware that the last few years have been a period of some upheaval for me, including being of No Fixed Abode, as it rightfully declares on this blog.
I can’t deny that it’s been an interesting time in all senses of the word. I’ve taken to pet sitting on an international scale, and borrowed everything from sofas to yacht berths and frankly luxurious guest rooms and apartments from friends around the world.
But somewhere to call Home has a particular appeal.
For one thing, I have rather a lot of books, which have been packed away in storage boxes for far too long. Books are there to be read or they lose their animation and become little more than paper weight.
Besides, there are books I need for research, that I have been unable to find, and reluctant to re-purchase when I know I already own a copy … somewhere. Having your belongings scattered between several locations – some many miles apart – does not make for organised living.
I feel I have acquired more clothes than I need, and yet have some that are still in store and have been so for more than three years. Does this mean I will wear them again with joy, or wonder why I ever kept them in the first place?
It’s been difficult not having a permanent study – not just somewhere to work but also to keep things like my accounts up to date, my paperwork in order. Writing can be done anywhere, but the rest of it needs some kind of continuity of place.
I’ve always been a fan of what I call Lewis Carroll Theory – a place for everything, and everything in its place. Must stem from being brought up living on a boat, where space was at a premium and items needed secure storage or they were liable to end up tossed across the cabin as soon as you went to sea.
If this makes me sound impossibly tidy, that’s not the case, I assure you. My desk, when I’ve had one, has always tended to be awash with notes if I’m in the midst of a book. But I do like other rooms to be uncluttered because it’s possible to put everything where it belongs. Finally getting to unpack those boxes will give me the opportunity to de-clutter once again on a large scale.
I don’t have a great deal of knick-knacks and ornaments. But I do have a small collection of my old cameras, for instance, and a number of paintings it would be wonderful finally to be able to hang somewhere.
For many, a sense of Home is down to family, but being on my own has changed that. Family is still important, but it’s become a step removed from what it once was. Increasingly, Home means some small space to call my own. Somewhere I can find the things I own. Somewhere I can retreat to.
Somewhere easy both to live in and to leave behind.
But also somewhere welcoming to return to.
This week’s Word of the Week is grinagog, meaning a foolish fellow who grins without reason, and comes from The 1811 Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose.