I have two homes, like someone who leaves their hometown and/or parents and then establishes a life elsewhere. They might say they are going home when they return to see old friends or parents, but then they go home as well when they go to where they live now.
– Aleksander Hemon
We recently took our 7 month old baby on her first trip to see Nana and Grandad in the town and house where I grew up. It really got me thinking about where home is. Obviously my home now is where I live with my husband and baby, but I don’t love that town and have pride in it. On the other hand I always feel proud coming back to my home town (Louth in Lincolnshire) for a visit.
It’s a long trip involving ferries and a drive across the breadth of England and Wales, so we had put it off until she was old enough to sit in the car seat for reasonable durations, but with my maternity leave ending soon, we decided to buckle up and go.
Nana and Grandad have been to visit us, so it wasn’t the first time they had met, but it was lovely to see our baby in their home, and how proud they were to show her off to neighbours, friends and family.
I love you – I am at rest with you – I have come home
– Dorothy Sayers
It was a really busy weekend, and it was lovely for my baby to meet so many new faces. When she was born people were so generous and we got sent lots of wonderful gifts of clothes and toys. Therefore, it was really nice to say thank you in person .
We had lots of visitors and she was very happy and smiley. She was so excited she missed a few naps, and as her mother I could tell she was getting very tired and close to getting upset. I could see her little lip wobble a bit, but a quick cuddle and another new face and she would perk up, so I was so proud, and no one but me could tell she was getting tired. Eventually I had to make my apologies and take her for a walk so she could nap, and I felt a bit bad, but it meant she didn’t really cry all weekend, so it was a very stress free time.
I had been a bit worried in advance that my parents Victorian house wouldn’t be easy to fit a buggy in, although that was a bit silly really, as they managed fine with me, and sure enough we could get it down the hall and stashed under the stairs. They had bought her a few toys, and got a playmat from an old friend at a car boot sale, so she was perfectly comfortable.
It’s a lovely market town, with a beautiful imposing church and town hall, and because it’s so remote it hasn’t been overrun with high street shops, so the shops are still quirky and unique. Best of all, everything is in walking distance. This meant we managed to get our first date night out (see https://wanderingpram.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/date-night/ ).
One of the things I like about the town is the abundance of nice beer gardens. It might not seem the best place to take a baby, but she was kept well away from any smokers, and all the colourful flower pots were a great sensory experience, and another great chance for my parents to bump into people they knew and show off their granddaughter.
On the edge of town (which is just a few minutes walk away) is a lovely park with a river running through a wooded valley. It was where I spent endless childhood days playing in the stream, rolling down the hills and exploring the woods.
She is too young to do any of those things, but I did hold her at the waters edge and she had her first experience of feeding the ducks, which she was very curious about. They made a mad charge for the food so I had to pick her up again pretty quick, but I don’t think she’ll have a fear of ducks for life (at least I hope not!).
We had a gorgeous Sunday lunch at a local hotel. Since I’ve moved to Dublin I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect roast dinner, but roast potatoes are in short supply, and yorkshire puddings are an extreme rarity. I’m also not keen on the Dublin habit of mashing all vegetables until it resembles baby food (although that might be handy now I have an actual baby). The Brackenborough Arms roast had none of these shortcomings. It had tender beef, a wide selection of vegetables, homemade roasties and yorkshire pudding all smothered in a thick gravy with a hint of fennel. We wolfed it down, and as our baby was napping (thanks to Grandad taking her for a walk round the garden) we had some yummy crème brulee for dessert.
It was a very quick rushed trip. It would have been lovely to have been there a bit longer, so we could take our time and visit everyone at a more relaxed pace. As we were driving back across the country I couldn’t help wonder whether a move back there could be a realistic option. Unfortunately as much as it is a lovely town it doesn’t have many job options. When we got back to our house it also felt good to be back amongst our own familiar things, so while a permanent move might not be option, hopefully we’ll be able to visit again before too long.
Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts
– Oliver Wendall Holmes