I was delighted to read Catherine’s latest post over at Knotted Cotton – part of the current blog hop that’s introducing creative sorts from around the world and giving us glimpses into their individual processes and idiosyncrasies. Catherine kindly mentioned Dreaming In Stitches (thank you Catherine).
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my own creative process, which I think includes most of the questions covered in the blog hop – the link to it is here if you’d like to read it again. But one question I didn’t cover then was -‘Where I live, or have lived’.
This for me, is both the easiest and confusingly also the hardest question to answer.
The simple and straightforward response is that I currently live in the Home Counties, just inside Bedfordshire, but so close to Buckinghamshire that I cross into it every morning when I walk the Delinquent Dog.
I was born and raised in rural Worcestershire, went away to university in Yorkshire and lived there for near-as-damn-it ten years, before coming south to work in the 1990s.
I met the Other Half here. This is where we married, where our children were born and where they are now at school for a few more years at least. I have lived here longer than anywhere else, it is where the others call home. But is it where I call home?
And this is where it becomes complicated.
Because although our house, our family home, is undoubtedly home, my home, my nest, my sanctuary, – at the same time, I can’t put my hand on my heart and honestly say that this area feels like home.
Deep inside, with a yearning that is so powerful it makes me come over all emotional, I want to go west. My body may be in the Home Counties, but my mind and my heart are somewhere between Hereford and Harlech. It isn’t a recent thing, although as I get older, the desire gets stronger. I long for hills and mountains, for rivers and streams, for castles and hill forts, for history seeping out of the stones.
I ache to go west and I suspect it may be in my genes. My paternal grandfather retired to Pembrokeshire and my brother has now retired to Carmarthenshire – coincidence? My mother’s family were Jones’s, so perhaps the pull comes from both directions, who can say. All I know is that if I stand for a while in the garden, I swear I start to lean over towards the west.
I’m acutely aware that this could be a recipe for huge discontent, especially since without the Other Half making major changes in his working life, it’s not likely to happen soon. Even tentative ideas for retirement are still rather more in the realms of fantasy than reality. Dwelling too much in the land of what-ifs could blind me to the beauty of what-is and I’m determined that that won’t happen.
So I make the conscious effort to tune in to the patterns of nature, to go with the same rhythms of the year that I’d experience wherever we lived and to appreciate the elements from the flat-lands as much as I’d do if I was on top of a mountain. I don’t put my enjoyment on-hold until some future time.
It’s just that when the spirit of a place burrows into your soul, it’s very difficult to ignore. I live here and I live there too.
Standing on top of Raglan Castle, looking west… pure heaven.