You sometimes end up where you started, metaphorically and geographically.
As a child my family roamed, think Chocolat, but with two parents, until my Dad told my Mum (who is the grand daughter of actual gypsies) that we needed to ‘settle down for the sake of the children’s education’ so we settled and my brother and I became educated. The nomadic gene is difficult to resist, at least for me, and I spent my early twenties working in Denmark via Israel, Italy, France and Berlin, before living in West London, Bath and then SE London. In five years I didn’t stay anywhere more than eight months, a trend which continued through the early years of being married. The excitement of somewhere new to explore and the anonymity of being a stranger is one of the most seductive and addictive experiences for me. My brother, on the other hand went to University and stayed in the same town – he actually hates geographical change.
Having my own family meant that we bought a house, chose schools, started to become part of a community, which surprisingly for me has it’s own attractions – neighbours that have become friends, knowing where your possessions are located and feeling like you belong, while not as exhilarating as moving around have a romance about them.
I love my mother, and while I’ve never said I’m not going to be like her, it has always been practically implicit. Last weekend I met a friend and we did a guided tour around some local (ish) chalk caves, then afterwards a drink in a pub fairly close by. On the train to the caves it dawned on me that I was doing part of the journey on a train I used to take from where I grew up to where I went to school.
The pub we went to used to be a Tesco’s, and when I was doing my A levels my closest friend used to work there, I worked in a restaurant next door; we would meet up on Saturday nights after work to plot how we would leave all this bourgeois middle classdom behind us.
Twenty years later, not only do I live in a house similar to the one I grew up in, it’s less than 6 miles away from where I did grow up (I think I was in denial about this until last weekend).
My daughter shows all the symptoms of a nomadic disposition already, will she be following in the female traditions of our family ?
I originally heard this song as a cover by the amazing Devon Sproule, the original version is so beautful.