Sunday, April 27, 2008
Lots of my favourite blog-people live a long way from where they grew up. A different state, a different country – even a different continent.
I live about six miles from where I grew up, in the same city. I’m very attached to my home territory. It's not that I'm particularly a city lover, but if I go away on holiday for two weeks, I’m thinking longingly of home about half-way through the second week. I love it when we’re driving up from England and we see the familiar shape of Arthur’s Seat, the biggest hill in our city, on the skyline. I love getting back to my garden and seeing what’s grown, and being back in my house, which looks to me, like the rest of Edinburgh, familiarly strange, strangely familiar.
I occasionally wonder if I’d feel the same about home if I’d grown up somewhere less pleasant. Edinburgh, as cities go, is a good place to live. It’s not very big – you could walk from the centre to any place on the outskirts in an hour or so – and yet it has most of the things you need in a city: shops, theatres, cinemas, parks, hills (I think you need hills in a city), art galleries, museums. It has its ugly bits like anywhere but also some lovely bits; it’s historic; it has quiet areas; and it’s got the sea on one side. The weather – well, it depends what you like, but I don’t like hot weather and it’s seldom either very hot or very cold. It has short days in winter but this is easily offset, in my opinion, by long days in summer.
Would I feel less attached to home if I lived in an industrial area full of tower blocks? A huge city like London? Or somewhere with an extreme climate? I don’t know.
I’m always amazed when people emigrate. Apart from leaving the place, I wouldn’t want to leave friends and family. I just can’t imagine why anyone would – of course I exclude victims of war and famine for whom home has become intolerable. And I realise that sometimes you have to move for work. But people who just tootle off from somewhere nice to somewhere else nice – clearly they have much more of a sense of adventure than I do. (Not that this would be hard.)
The only reason that we might move far away would be if our children did. They’re more important than anything.
Ah well. We’re all different; and other such original conclusions.