Home is such an subjective concept to me, I spent the first half of my life moving from place to place making home wherever we were.
For the last nineteen years I have made this town in central Scotland my home. We have lived in four properties, three starter flats and for the last thirteen years our current home.
The chirpy little song from the film ‘Bolt’ declares that, “there is no home like the one you got cause that one belongs to you.” In short, that is true.
I have been struck this last year in particular with the transient nature of all that we possess and hold on to. Living through a mass human migration from the African and middle Eastern nations has provoked some questions. We have unprecedented access to images from these nations, I can switch from typing this to a satellite image of anywhere my heart desires.
I can compare the once proud cities of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria with the dusty remains that now occupy the same coordinates. I can wonder at the pain in the heart of a father who packs what is left of his family and their life into some bags and sets off North. It is easy for you and I to pontificate about these people when we know little or nothing about them.
What would I do and to what lengths would I go if the house which I have poured everything into was reduced to rubble by my own or a foreign government? Would I be able to pick through the dust to collect……what? What then is important? My flat screen TV or my lap top computer?
Or would it be enough warm clothes to see me through an unknown future? Would it be some treasured momento or just those loved ones who survived, would that be enough?
Moving around so much there is next to nothing of my life before marriage that I have in solid form. Everything exists only in memories and the odd photograph, but is that such a bad thing? Three years ago I was fishing on my birthday and came home minus the only thing that I had remaining of my grandfathers. That little folding knife had survived with me over nearly thirty years, now it is lost. But he isn’t, the memories of him live on without a piece of steel.
Our home is now largely completed, we have hung pictures beneath nice lights and prints adorn painted walls. Soft carpets reach the skirting boards where a temporary mismatched runner lay for ten years; but what is it that makes this pile of stones home?
Is it the fact that we have poured countless hours and money into it, is it the warmth of the heating reflected from the new gap less windows? Yes the memories that we have made there are special and will remain with us forever, our children will always remember the crazy big house that they grew up in. These too are not home.
Home for me is a place where the people are who complete the picture.
I love what we have been able to create together, but if it were gone tomorrow we could do it again, together. That is what drives people North, either into America or Europe, that hope of finding a place to call home.