I’ve always thought myself a bit of a collector, and this week I have been collecting people’s views on *home*. You may have seen my earlier post in which Andrew Painting and Susie Waru John wrote about what home meant to them. It’s well worth a look, for the contrast and the similarities, and to see their pictures which includes Susie’s charming art work.
Excitingly, a number of other people are preparing their own contributions, but in this post I have paired my own thoughts with those of my husband, Andrew.
My idea of home has changed a lot over time, having grown up with my parents and two sisters in the same house for most of twenty seven years in the rolling Devon hills, getting married and moving to Peckham in South London, and now living in the well-to-do commuter belt surrounding London. For me, home is not a place or a feeling, it’s an odd mix of both, taking aside the obvious fact that home is wherever myself and beautiful wife are at any particular point in time. Stepping off the train at Peckham Rye still gives me a sense of home just as meeting up with old friends at the Panniers in Barnstaple feels very settling too. So for me, Home is not a feeling or a place but a combination of the places and the people that make my life so far – home is constantly changing because of this.
Andrew has chosen a picture of our dog Jamie for his ‘Home’ photo
Having lived in a lot of different places, I am well aware that some places feel more like home than others, and that some people feel more like home to be around than others. We humans have a need to belong, but, although we want to believe in sit-com idylls, finding a place where we feel we really fit in does not always happen as naturally as we would like.
That said, there is one thing that has the ability to make me feel at home wherever I am and whoever I share it with. This is something that has the ability to comfort and to help us to relax, to reinvigorate and to bring people together… It is the most British of homely beverages – a cup of tea 🙂 Tea has become something of a ritual and a tradition in our country – and perhaps it is in this history that its ability to comfort, centre and cheer us lies.
My flat mate at uni, Shell, was the one who really got me into drinking tea. In our first year, a group of 6 of us shared a flat in halls. It was basic, but it was ours, and it certainly felt like home. Drinking tea became an important part of our life there, and was both an opportunity to talk with each other and a simple gesture of kindness when others had had a long day. Since then, tea has remained a permanent fixture in my life, wherever I have lived.
P.S. For a nice idea for a new tea ritual, check this out – http://dustandpearls.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/london-fog/ I’m hoping to try it soon!