A place called home

On my previous site I had written a piece about a new place becoming home.  I don’t mean a new flat or house as they become home when you move in, disperse you possessions around it and for the fact it is the place you have chosen to be and the people you share it with are the people you want to be with.   No, I’m talking about the place that is home, the village, hamlet, town or city.

Obviously, as the saying goes, home is where the heart is, where the person or people you most care about are, where you want to be, where you are happiest, where you have chosen to be.    This was an assumption I left out of the last post.  The core  of what defines home.  After this I believe there are then layers which build upon this centre and cement the feeling of a place being you home.  I am currently reading the memior of Guenter Grass, ‘Peeling the Onion’ where he peels back layer after layer of the past, like you can peel back layer after layer of an onion.  I know an onion doesn’t really have a centre but a place becoming home is like layer after layer being added upon the centre above.  In the previous post I then talked about milestones which can add layer upon layer cementing a place to be home.  Getting to know people, having a party and people coming, being invited to and going to someone else’s party, leaving to go elsewhere and coming back, having family or friends join you and showing them around the place you now live; just bumping into a friend whilst walking around, then bumping into one  and going for a drink, spending Christmas or other special time in the place, following teams from the new place.  This is my experience as a first-time ex-pat. Do others agree/disagree?

The reason for this philosophical treatise is that today I had another layer added.  Seeking to get a jacket and a couple of shirts dry-cleaned I went to our normal dry-cleaners to find that it was closed and the proprietor had died.  It wasn’t that we were great friends or anything, but we’d chat about football, he had suggested I might like to help his son with some English, he was always cheery and friendly, even when my French meant there were difficulties communicating.  So he was a friendly acquaintance, someone who made the neighbourhood a better place and now he’s gone.  Another layer, Strasbourg more of a home, the death of an acquaintance.

Normblog has a feature on a Friday where he interviews a blogger.  The last one had included amongst his favourite music a track from the ‘Soul Mining’ album by The The.  It reminded me that I hadn’t listened to it for a long time and I got it out again and have been listening to it again.  It was something I played a lot on journeys between my home in Liverpool when I was a student there and my parent’s home, when visiting them for holidays.  It has strong links with sitting in a train and watching the English countryside pass by.  Here’s ‘This is the day’:

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One Response to “A place called home”

  1. Whole lotta Burns « The Flashing Blade Says:

    […] have written elsewhere about the layers of belonging which build up on central facts about the place where we exist to […]

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