How long do you need to live in a place for it to be "home"?
I lived in Teesside until I was 18. I have now lived in Leicestershire for almost 22 years. I have lived in Salford, Leeds, Halifax, Newcastle, Southport and Somerset for typically around 3 years in each. I loved experiencing them all and only moved through opportunities with work. I re-vist most of them regularly and some frequently. I have made good friends in every place and I still see them in these places or they come to spend time in Leicestershire with me. The places were all different in character but we always found people were willing to reciprocate friendliness and neighbourliness.
I loved the landscape of the Pennines when living in Halifax, the moors and the valleys, the rivers and canals. I loved the wide sweeping beach of Ainsdale near Southport and the vibrancy and humour of the people of Liverpool. I have marvelled at the rhynes and drains of the Somerset levels whilst living on the edge of the Mendips with the magnificent Cheddar gorge nearby. I have walked often under the shadow of the Tyne bridge and up the superb Georgian architecture of Newcastle's Grey Street for work and for leisure.
I lived in Teesside for only 18 years, and my own folks aren't from the North East region. It is not the prettiest place I have lived - it is probably last on that list! It can be hard and uncompromising but it can also be warm (in spirit, if not in climate) and the people are friendly. It is not a place for airs and graces but honesty and genuineness are expected and prized. It is an area that offered hard physical work in the past and has suffered through harsh economic restructuring. It has had, and still has more than it's share of deprivation. It is changing slowly and for the better.
So why do I still think of this as "home"? I can only surmise that that it is the place of childhood and my formative years and that they were happy times and they comfort me.
It seems no matter where I live or roam, and despite no intention to return to live here, Teesside will always be the area I think of as "home". My trip to see my Mum this week reminded me just how deeply this is felt.
Do you always think of your early years location as your "home" or have you moved on and and to quote the song wherever you lay your hat that's your home?
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