As any readers that I have will know, my early life was, somewhat, transient, setting a template for the future. So much so that, by the time I was 19, I’d moved six times with all my worldly possessions in a suitcase. During the years that followed, I’ve spent more time than I care to remember in places where I lived but never considered as home. They weren’t where I wanted to be.
At the end of 1979, for six months, I returned to London where a friend came to visit. When we met, his first response was, “You’re home, aren’t you”. A statement and not a question, you will notice. When I asked what he meant, he told me that, in Harrogate, I’d always given the impression of living in a cage; here, he could tell by the way I walked, that I was at home. Well, it didn’t work out and I moved back to Harrogate where I spent another seven years during which I started to get my act together. Six years later and with my children grown up, I moved back to London again. Not the south London of my birth, but north of the river; a heresy in my youth. I have now lived here for 29 years. The first few in Islington and the last 25 in Camden. Of these, the last 20 years have been in our current flat just off Camden Square. I feel at home, at last, and Gaynor and I have made it such. So, a life that I always felt was like a Jackson Browne song is no longer so. Sorry for the indulgence but here is part of it:
In my early years, I hid my fears
And passed my days alone.
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness,
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love
That I’d heard of
In books and films and song.
Now there’s a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs.
Oddly, I do occasionally miss those times. Indeed, more than miss them, I feel them pulling me back and very strongly so. Today, for some reason, is one of those days. However, I now dance to a different tune. One covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt. Google it and listen to “Feel likes home to me”.