You Can’t Go Home Again

Posted on Updated on


The last few weeks have been busy. The nice kind of busy mostly; the travelling, catching friends for dinner, hiring wedding people kind of busy. In the space of a week, Chris and I ventured to highest Scotland for a wedding, visited Louth to house hunt and wedding plan, dine with friends and family, and then parted ways for respective Stag and Hen parties (same couple, due to marry next month) which would require me to car pool down to Derby for the weekend, and then finally take the train back home to Plymouth.

Did I mention we’re moving? We’re moving. It’s part of the previous blog about big changes. I meant to write a post. When I tried the words tripped over themselves. The emotions are hard, and turned chaotic on the page. I’m sorry.

Now, however, is the period that always precedes a move, particularly a big one, when life becomes the stressy, bittersweet kind of busy, and requires advanced planning, and phone-calls, and ‘goodbye – keep in touch’ conversations, all of which I’m bad at, particularly the last one.

Chris has a processing time much faster than mine; his ability to simply take information and transform it into practical plans and reasonable motives is astonishing. I’m less geared. I need a scheduled slot to allow for emotional unwinding. Before I move I start to see the ghostly visions of all the important aspects of my life which have happened on a particular chair, in a room, in a cafe, in the city. And I’ve lived in Plymouth for nearly ten years.

Did I mention we’re moving out of Plymouth? We’re moving out of Plymouth.

During my childhood, I became accustomed to picking up and moving on. Being a RAF brat will do that to you; we never set roots for very long. Even as a young child I needed emotional end space. ‘This is where I played with Barbie, goodbye place I played with Barbie’ ‘This is where the Christmas Tree was. Goodbye where the Christmas Tree was’. Somewhere in the back of my head, I have a briefcase filled with snapshots of places. I suppose it was to ensure that I would always be connected to them when they ‘belonged’ to me. Memories are fragile. I’ve lost some. I’ve kept a great deal. I’ve done this for places I have lived for years, and places I have lived for months. I thanked friend’s sofas when I was couch hopping during the bad break up phase. It makes it easier to leave.

Honestly, I’m uncertain as to why. I have always done it, and perhaps I always will.

Now I find myself having to collect these mental Polaroids for an entire city. A city I have shifted through for ten years, longer than I have anywhere, at any other time in my life. The prospect of beginning, and thus seeing through, the negotiations of leaving is daunting and unwanted. I wish for a magic button with which to bypass to the difficulty, and be, through no effort, at the next stage. In a house at our new destination, settled and accepting, building.

Life doesn’t come with magic buttons. They would do us no good in any case. Nothing would be learned or gained from such an easy experience. But the childish, afraid part of me wishes it could all be so simple, practically and emotionally.

The key to the above is that I am afraid.

I. Am. Afraid.

Of moving, of failing to know what to do and when, of not doing enough, of losing who I am in this city, this space, and failing to grow into anything in the new one. I’m afraid of being alone in a small town, just south of nowhere, and becoming lost.

Yes, of course, it’s exciting and an adventure, but adventures are often adventures because they’re unpredictable. And unpredictable is also terrifying. I’m sure Frodo had his reservations about taking the ring to Mt Doom. He wasn’t exactly skipping the whole way there. I am willing to bet, Frodo was wishing for a magic button. And he had Gandalf.

Fortunately, I have Chris who is a wizard in many ways with methodologies and keeping things moving. I even have a ring. Let’s hope orcs aren’t on the way.

‘You can never go home again’

It’s a phrase I’ve heard a few times before, but not something I ever took the time to truly consider. Growing up, I didn’t have a fixed home, so I didn’t really understand. I’m not sure when Plymouth became ‘home’. I’ve lived in many places throughout the city – seven in total – and so no individual spot has been the bases of my life, but the city itself has been the constant. I have come to know it intimately. But even in the decade I have been part of it, the city has been in a state of constant change.

Shops have closed, people have moved to other towns in other counties, and the building which used to house my little studio flat, the place where this very blog began, was demolished to make room for a more modern, taller establishment. My friend and I were talking a few weeks ago about having out-grown one of our old haunts, a shabby, quirky student favorite on the outskirts of the city centre where we once enjoyed pints of tea, greasy cheese based meals and monster size milkshakes. This was before we enjoyed a meal at another of our old favourites, which was redesigned some years ago when new ownership took over. There’s a blog post somewhere in the records where we are drinking tea there.

Everything is in a constant flux, shifting and altering with the stream of time. Nothing can ever be the same for very long. I’ve been present for all these changes, and in a sense I’ve been part of them. The girl who started this blog is not the same girl who writes it now. I got somewhat older, arguably wiser, I moved onward with the city. And now I am tasked with the step of moving away from it, knowing it will continue to bustle on.

The memories I have gathered here will join the box in my mind, they will be as they are, unchangeable, but the places they occurred will continue to be sold, occupied by others, closed, demolished, come under new management or become something else. It is the inevitability of all things, all places at all times. But the saying is right. I can never go home again. It won’t be be there anymore.

So, for a little while, I will be without a home, save my own skin. Then will begin the task of creating a new home. Before all that comes leaving, and endings, and changing of chapters. That’s another popular phrase – it’s not the end of the book, simply the beginning of a new chapter. But the pages have yet to be turned, the content unfolded, as yet unwritten. And soon, Plymouth will be a once upon a time – something I tell my children, show them perhaps on a holiday south to see the sea. ‘This is where I did this,’ I will say, ‘And that happened to me there. This was once a that.’ I’ll draw the Polaroids from the box and share them briefly, looking back on today now, when everything was so uncertain.

So, now commences the ending before the beginning; the final visits to favourite places, fond farewells to companions. Peering back in the rear-view mirror of a life passing out of time into memory.

For now I am simply afraid and excited about the adventure to come.




This Place Will Change

Posted on Updated on

Howdy readerditos, New Years is upon us again. 2014 is about to pull into port leaving the dying embers of its predecessor’s funeral pyre behind it. We stand at the forefront of another rotation around the sun, 364 days as we ride on a giant ball through space, and when I put it  like that the passage into a new year sounds significant in ways I haven’t thought about before. In light of this, I’m going to divert from my original train of thought and talk momentarily about the hugeness of the Universe.

A few weeks ago I was contemplating stars, the beauty of them and the vastness of them. There’s a song lyric that goes ‘Beneath the stars came fallin’ on our heads/ But they’re just old light, they’re just old light’  a line that makes me feel incredibly small and incredibly quiet because of it’s truth and the emotion with which it is sung. I remember hearing once that if the nearest star to us, (Proxima Centauri, at a distance of 4.243 light years) has a life sustaining planet and we had been beaming the history of Earth since the dawn of its existence, the people circling that sun would be currently watching dinosaurs. My mind was a might bit blown at that idea. Here we are, this tiny rock floating about in the space equivalent of the middle of nowhere, some  37,256 years travel from our nearest possible spacial neighbour, alone as far as we know, since we spiraled down as space dust millions and millions of centuries ago. The ability to even contemplate such a matter with comprehensive train of thought is beyond my capabilities; my brain overloads on the awe and just stews in philosophical what ifs for a while before routinely shutting down with a customary whirr. Since this is a tangent I feel I ought to now round the issue back to it’s original topic, and perhaps return to this at a later date. Let’s continue with our scheduled blogging topic.

New Year. Here it is again, sprouting recollections on the events of the passing year; one obvious note on my part this year is my lack of blogging, to the point where past February I haven’t added content at all. There are a myriad of reasons for this most of which arn’t worth getting into. I got bored of book reviews; I don’t feel I’m particularly skilled at them, and I certainly don’t give great information on new releases. The pressure I placed upon myself to read and produce subsequent articles just tainted my love of writing here altogether… and then life does what it does best and got in the way. My employments kept me increasingly busy and personal issues often removed spare time. The dust gathered as days became weeks and weeks turned into month after month. I just didn’t have the enthusiasm inside me for this page. I tried a few times to gather some energy and write about something, a review, a thought or anything, but I couldn’t manage it. I quickly lost interest and saw no sense in forcing myself to continue.

Then a few days ago, some bad news compelled me to turn once again to this place. It’s odd when things like that happen, I’m not entirely sure why my first thought was to come here and type out my feelings after so long. In a way, I knew this blog was made to be used and used as a place of expression, and I was called back because suddenly I needed it and I wanted it again. I didn’t think too much about the words so much as I did the emotion behind them. Liquid feelings spilling onto the page for the first time in months without any real effort. I remembered suddenly what this blog used to be like to write. When I began three years ago, I just liked being able to put as much or as little effort into the page as I wanted. If I just wanted to mind-stream I did, if I wanted to philosophize on random life events, or talk about random subjects I just did. This was a blog about expression and freedom to experiment with writing, however I wanted. I spoiled that when I attempted to pull some formula into the mix, when I set unnecessary deadlines and goals. In light of this revaluation, in 2014 this blog will be changing.

I’m not 100% sure on the details yet, but I’ll be integrating the old aspects as of now. I will no longer be writing book reviews unless I am compelled to, or I feel I can say something about the book I feel has been previously unsaid. Instead, I’ll be reverting back to classic blog posts involving life, odd topics and articles, with the hope of producing content of a regular, if unscheduled, basis. We’re going to fun here in 2014, that’s the only goal. I’m contemplating a name change also, but as yet, I’m undecided. We’ll see; there’s no rush, and no pressure… which is the point.

I will now take my leave and which you all a very prosperous new year 2014. May you work towards your wishes and reach high for your dreams, and be more than you were in 2013.

Kiss a lover,
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure.

Face your life,
It’s pain,
It’s pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.

Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book