There’s no place like home…

There's no place like home

This week’s Theme Game theme is ‘home’. It’s funny how, no matter where I go, or where I live, or where I choose to settle, there is still a little corner of South West London which will always be my true home. My parents still live there, perhaps without them there it wouldn’t be the same. I know that when they sold my childhood home, 11 years ago now, I didn’t mourn for that particular house the way I thought I would.

But now, when I visit Teddington, Hampton Wick, Kingston, Richmond and Twickenham it does feel like going home. Places like Bushy Park (where I learned to ride my bike), The Teddington Cheese (which used to sell coal!), the Anglers pub down at Teddington Lock, the Broom Road ‘Wreck’ (as I always used to think it was spelled) where I swang almost high enough for my feet to touch the branches, before running down to the riverside to feed the ducks and make swings in the fronds of the many willow trees lining the banks, or climb into their gnarled branches for an impromptu picnic – all these places are a part of who I am.

I have seen the way Kingston town has developed and this sense of bearing witness to the history of a physical space makes it feel like home.

I remember once, when I was about 22, going with one of my best Uni friends to stay at her Grandad’s house in the mountains outside Perpignan on the French/Spanish border. He was a world renowned doctor and had another home in Paris. He had obviously travelled the world and lived in many places. We got talking and he asked me where in the world I had lived. At that point it was literally my childhood home in Teddington and my Uni digs in Brighton. He was shocked! I guess by my age he had travelled and moved around and re-located several times. For me though, that made him a nomad. I think there is something a little poignant in the expression ‘wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home’. It speaks of rootlessness and transience.

Last time we visited my Mum and Dad and passed through Teddington, I pointed out my old childhood home to JJ and explained that ‘that’s where Mummy grew up’. A few beats later he said ‘Mummy, is that where I grew up?’ and I had to explain that there was a time in my life when he didn’t exist, long before I ever met his father. I think this was a bit mind blowing for him and I’m not sure he accepts the validity of it even now!

It makes me feel a bit weird to think that his childhood memories will be of the town we live in now – about 30 miles from my old stomping ground. We have only lived here for 6 years and whilst I know a lot of this, and the surrounding areas, intimately, and feel AT home here, I don’t think I will ever think of it as my ‘True North’. But maybe my children will.

Underneath all of these ponderings though, I realise that home is where you feel safe and comfortable. And most importantly home is where your loved ones are to be found. Maybe, at the root of it all, ‘home’ is ultimately about people, and not about places at all…


The Reading Residence

26 thoughts on “There’s no place like home…

  1. Yes, I think home is where you feel safe and comfortable, and happy. I live in the town that I was born in. I had a very happy childhood here, my mum lives 10 minutes away, it’s a nice place, great schools, and cannot imagine actually leaving. So my kids will grow up where I did, Boo might even go to the same school when she’s older, who knows? I sometimes yearn for change and a move, but when our family is here, it’s just too good to stay. Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame x

    • Oh you’re so lucky to have your mum so close/great schools etc! I think South West London was affordable on average salaries when my parents were setting up home but we’re talking about at least £450,000 for a two- bedroom house round there now which is waaaaaay out of our price range 😦

  2. Yes, there’s definitely something to be said about people making a home as much as a place. I’ve just brought my children back from my home city where I used to spend every summer for years and it was lovely to share my history with the children. Yet I only lived there briefly as a child. We visit the place where I grew up often but I don’t share as much about there for some reason. Thank you for sharing with #TheThemeGame

    • It must be strange to feel like you are ‘from’ somewhere – another country but have lived most of your life elsewhere. Suzy from (The Airing Cupboard) blogged about this as she is clearly totally Irish and lives in Dublin – even her writing has an accent! – but her parents are English and she feels like she doesn’t really ‘belong’ anywhere…

  3. As you know from reading my post, we have similar views 🙂 I have definitely come to realise that home is more about people than a place, although that doesn’t stop me loving where I’m from and thinking of it as my ‘forever’ home. Where I am now though, with my family, is home. Lovely post x

  4. First of all fab picture, gotta love red shoes 🙂 I really enjoy reading your family-themed posts, you always speak so fondly about them.

    I agree that home is about people not places. I had over a dozen ‘homes’ by the time I left my mother at 15, then about a dozen more over the course of the following decade. The only places I’ve ever felt were truly home have been the three that I’ve lived with hubby from 2007.

    SW London is one of my fave places of the world. Having previously lived in Brixton and Streatham, a piece of my heart remains there. One of my besties lives in Whitton near Twickenham, and we love going to visit xx

    • One of my besties is from Whitton too. I’m definitely more of a ‘leafy suburb’ girl than a proper city girl. The picture is cute isn’t it? I was happy to be able to write a post which leant itself to my Wizard of Oz theme!! The fact that you’ve only ever really felt at home where your husband is shows that he is really your ‘True North’. X

  5. Such a lovely post! I think where we grew up always holds fond memories for us and it’s so comforting to go back there. We have settled our own little family right next to where we met and married. I do get itchy feet sometimes, for us to have a year or two away, but ultimately home is most definitely where my heart is! Xx #sharewithme

  6. Lovely post. You couldn’t be more right. I think Home is about people not places. I still to this day don’t feel like my home country town in america is home home. I always felt that the city where I went to university was my home home and where I felt I fit in the best. But ultimately like you said home is where my family is. Teddington sounds amazing. My friends just moved there from Manchester and their pictures are always amazing. Thank you so much for linking to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  7. What a lovely post, and i agree with the other comments really. Home is about the people and feeling safe and secure. Although being a seaside girl i could never quite get the home feeling in London.
    p.s LOVE that print x

  8. Great post! I agree with you, home is about people as much as it is about places, even though just like you said, you will never forget the places of your childhood, the park where you first rode your bike etc. Strange for me to think that my children’s idea of ‘home’ will be so different from my village in France… x Mel #Sharewithme

  9. I am sure I wrote this before but I really love, love, love the new design of your blogs – the owls were really cute, too, but this one is really YOU, as I imagine you to be 🙂 x

  10. Im such a Home bird!… My Granda lives 3 houses down and my mum lives round the corner… my kids go to the same school that i did as a child :).. I couldnt ever imagine me moving 🙂 #ShareWithMe

    • That’s quite enviable really Leanne! I loved my infant and junior school in Teddington (not so much Secondary school in Twickenham!) My infant school was demolished years ago though. I probably would have stayed if it had been affordable! Nice to visit though. X

  11. I can relate to this. I grew up in a small village near Cambridge and at the time, I hated it. Now, it seems like a haven for families and I love taking the kids there. We now live up north so my kids are northeners and I can’t help forgetting that they know nothing of country life at all!
    x x

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