Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A place called home

I've almost certainly mentioned on this blog before that although I now live in God's Own County (Yorkshire for the uninitiated) I was born and grew up down south, at the part of the Underground map where the District Line meets the county of Essex, only moving in my early twenties. Leaving the house I grew up in was relatively painless in the end. It happened while I was at university and during that period so many things were in a state of transition that it didn't register as much as it might have done a few years earlier. And I always assumed I'd go back. Not to the house you understand, but to The South, to London, because that is what graduates, clutching their shiny new degrees, did.

It never happened and somehow, eleven years later, I find myself a kind of expat. By which I mean I think that I think of myself as a Southerner living in the North. They don't let you declare yourself a Yorkshire(wo)man until you're third generation.

And now I'm moving again, from North to West Yorkshire. And, oh,  the wrench at leaving York is far more acute than leaving Essex. I guess it's because my really formative years took place here, my  real growing up.  In the last ten years in this, my beautiful city, I have had my first proper job (it involved chocolate), and my first flat (damp and nasty).  I got my heart broken a little bit and bruised a couple in return and, of course, I met the man that I would end up marrying. It was in York that D and I had our first date, at a grotty pub that happened to be handy for the station, in York that we made our first home together, spent our first Christmas, probably had our first big fight. York is where I think of as home.

I don't want to leave.

But then, what is home, really?  Is it a physical place?  Or is it just anywhere that the people you love are?  I suppose the very fact that my heart now belongs so firmly to the grim North is evidence that the concept of home is more than geographical.  It is love and memories rather than bricks and mortar.  And so, although I got a bit sniffly when I looked round our little flat, devoid of furniture, and will get a lump in my throat when I walk down High Petergate towards the Minster, I must be brave and resolute and accept the idea that in a little while they'll be a whole new set of Leeds based memories and a home built there too.

I leave you with one of my favourite views of York taken by D a few years ago. And I promise to follow this up at some point with something more relevant to this blog - a Foodie's Guide to the capital of Yorkshire.


  1. I can't wait to visit York! But I am sure you will have fun building new memories in Leeds.


  2. I'm a northerner by birth and now live here of course but years ago I somehow expected that I would end up in the south. i went to Uni in Bristol and worked in London for a few years. I so pleased I didn't though.

    Good luck in Leeds. I'm sure you'll come to love it and find the good bits. DON'T however succumb to their football team. If you're ever tempted to try footie, call on me and I will take you to a PROPER northern team!

    Lesley x

  3. We moved a long way away about 8 years ago, and the new town has surpassed the old one in many many ways we didn't ever imagine - wishing you all the best in your home-hunting! xx

  4. Awww, thanks for your kind words ladies, and I'm sure you are all dead right.

    Lesley, I have been informed in no uncertain terms that I
    could be facing divorce if I dare to adopt Leeds as a football team!!!