Thursday, 12 March 2009

A sense of place

I've just read Cheshire Wife's post about moving house. She isn't, but there's a lot of it about at present, and reading about it makes me shiver. I've just done the maths and realised I've been living in this house for longer than I've ever lived anywhere in my life. Not counting uni. halls and student digs, I've lived in a dozen different places. That's a lot of tea-chests. And before you start to 'phone the bailiffs, I should point out that my childhood moves were down to my father's career, and almost all my adult ones have been for similar reasons. I can't say I've ever enjoyed it, though. That awful new-boy feeling never gets any better, even when you're on the staff. And all the packing and - inevitably - losing something, and then finding it again the day after buying a replacement. If I never move again I'll not be too unhappy.
And so far, Sally's been to only one school in her life; at her age I'd already been to four. People said that it was 'character building' and it may have given me some social skills (I can talk to almost anyone) but I lost the longer-lasting friendships Sally is already making. I'd quite like to stay put just to make sure that my children don't move schools too often. But it's also quite nice to 'belong', and to become known, especially when you've not experienced that before. Sometimes, of course, it's necessary to move house; for children to change schools. Our circumstances might change. But for now, to paraphrase Philip Larkin, I may actually have found that place 'where I can say/This is my proper ground/Here I shall stay'. At least for the duration of Sally and Charlie's education.
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