I’m in a pensive mood today, for this time next week I’ll be living back in Devon after nearly 11 years away and I can hardly believe the journey I’ve been on this last decade…
A week after my 18th Birthday I moved to London…rented a ‘man with a van’ and headed off to my tiny room (a lean-to that backed onto a car port, to be precise) in a student house in South Woodford. And now, ten years on, I’m not only returning to my home town, but moving into a house that’s been in my family for 70 years (Great Aunts)…a street away from my folks!
I’m feeling a strange mix of excitment and bewilderment at present, for I am returning a very different person to the teenager that left…and as you all know, a soon-to-be-married one at that.
I’d always vowed that I would never live back in Devon, that it was somewhere I could now only appreciate as a visitor – yet, since getting engaged, I’ve felt this deep yearning to return home. OK, I know it’s partly due to my Dads illness, but before he was even diagnosed there was this huge pull to be back in the place that helped shape me into the woman I am now.
So what’s with this now-found sentimentality? Well, I partly feel like I’m already mourning the loss of my surname. Yes I know that sounds dramatic, but I find myself swooning when I hear people say it – and I know this has somehow penetrated to my friends, cos I hear them calling me by just my surname, in a jock-like-changing-room-manner – which isn’t something I ever remember them doing before!
But more than the surname issue (a can of worms I’ll explore at a later date) I think it’s this overwhelming feeling that I’m kind of leaving my family to join another.
Even writing it sounds crazy – I’m hardly deserting my family – and I’m not that young either, but maybe that’s the problem. I’ve had nearly 29 years of attachment to my name and 29 years to fall in love with my dysfunctional and very eccentric family, many times over…so on some level I feel I owe it to them and myself to have a year or two of…well, them.
Not only will I get to plan our wedding with the help of my family, but I can re-aquaint myself with them in a way that’s not possible on a 3 or 4 day visit. My Mum sometimes laments that she doesn’t know me any more (guess who I inherited the drama from) but it’s only now that I’ve really got what she means…there are so many “isms” that she doesn’t know of, because when I left home – I was a child!
And can’t wait to show my beloved the nooks and crannies of my childhood…the piece of tarmac that wasn’t just laid in the village, but is firmly imbedded in my knee too. The mundane walk I use to take my darling dog Tess on, which I long to be able to take her on again. I want to bottle up all the sounds, like our church bells on a Sunday, which used to make me groan and the perminant taste of the salt sea air on my top lip!
I really can’t wait to be back there now…for there’s no place like home.