I think when you move to a new place you only really feel like it is home once you have been away and come home. Although we were away for Christmas, we still had boxes looming at us when we walked through the front door – a depressing sight for anyone! I’ve just been on the Continent for a while for work and I have to say that there was a certain satisfaction in coming home to our London flat. I was tired and grubby and very definitely footsore, but when I got off the DLR and walked around the corner and saw the dock stretching out in front of me, I felt a lifting of my spirits.
The water was as smooth as glass and the lights of Canary Wharf were reflected almost without ripple. A couple of moorhen were making their friendly squeaks to one another, but otherwise it was very quiet – one of the things I love about living where we do in the middle of London. It was freezing outside but walking into our lovely warm home felt welcoming and cosy.
Ultimately, what is home after all? It’s the place where you feel safe and secure, where you can draw the curtains to protect yourself from the outside world or the place where you can throw the drapes open and gaze upon your neighbourhood, your world.
Now that our boxes are unpacked and we (sort of) know where to find things in cupboards and drawers, our flat has become home to me. I might miss the wide open spaces of Africa, the starkness of the Karoo or the sculptured beauty of piles of granite rocks balancing against the Zimbabwean skyline – I might even miss the Chiltern Hills and the swooping flight of the Red Wing Kites, or the vibrate fields of golden rapeseed in the English Midlands, but for now at least home is the fluorescent lights reflecting pink and blue in the water of the dock, and the cry of a single moorhen.