On leaving and the meaning of home

On leaving and the meaning of home

Our move to France has been a very long time coming. As we’ve had to wait for so long for it to happen, it has felt like an abstract concept; something we hoped would happen, but had no idea of when. Now abstract has turned to reality and in just over a week’s time we will sail from Portsmouth on a one-way ticket.

 

Since selling our house last month we’ve led a peripatetic existence, moving from one kind friend’s home to another. Living out of suitcases and boxes and on waking trying to remember where we are. We’ve spent many of our days on the phone or at the computer, filling in paperwork and copying documents. But it hasn’t all been form filling. We’ve been able to spend time with family and friends, sharing meals, wine and laughter.

 

All this has led me to reflect on the meaning of home. Where is my home? If asked, my UK home was and will remain, Sussex. Although not born here, it is where I’ve spent most of my adult life, where I was married and where I’ve formed my strongest friendships. I’ve come to love its landscape, from the green rolling hills of the South Downs to the beaches and coast along the English Channel. I always get a buzz from being in Brighton; I love its vibrancy, diversity and inclusiveness. I’ve found creative inspiration all along the coast, spending hours wandering along beaches, promenades and piers with my camera. The colours of the landscape and seascape have influenced my crochet and knitting projects. Every time I travel to London on the train I always make sure to look at the view from the Ouse Valley viaduct, seeing the scene change through the seasons. When travelling south, crossing it marks my ‘coming home’. While living in Sussex I’ve learnt to appreciate wine, develop my photography and learn new horticultural skills.

 

While I will always have memories, I wanted something tangible to remind me of Sussex. In Shoreham this morning, I found this small clay pot and dish, both made by a local artist. The clay is from Sussex and the fused glass is recycled. The colours and textures remind me of the land and the sea. When I see them, in what will eventually be our new French home, they will always remind me of here, a little piece of Sussex.