"...there are places in which we feel at home, even if we don't live there; and people with whom we feel at home; and ideas that feel like home too. Ultimately, of course, what we hope to find is a way of feeling truly at home in this world, in our own skin, with who we are, with - spiritually speaking - our essential nature. If we push this far enough, then 'home' means being at peace in every moment, in any place." - Roselle Angwin
The above image, taken in 2008, is of 29 Grosvenor Avenue, a large Victorian terraced house in Highbury, North London, where I lived with my mother and grandparents in the early sixties, from the age of eight years old.
So, here I am going to focus on what I consider my first home, although I lived in other 'homes' before I arrived at this one. I have felt at home in London ever since I can remember, and will always feel that way as it's where I grew up and went to school, and despite a seven year break when I lived in Northamptonshire, it is where I felt the need to return to as soon as I reached my twenties.
I vividly remember my early school days, particularly walking to Highbury Quadrant Primary School along Highbury New Park, (pictured below) a long tree-lined road, with multi-green leaves merged arching all the way along, offering a wood-like quality to a city street, with its large Victorian houses set right back off the road. On my visit in 2008, it struck me that all roads should be built like this;
wide so as to offer everyone adequate space. On the day, the weather was perfect, not too hot. All I heard apart from the occasional car passing, were the sounds of leaves rustling gracefully as they danced in the light warm breeze. All I saw was a lollipop lady with her dog. We smiled at each other, commented on the lovely weather and went about our business. I sat outside my old primary school - the kids were still inside.
The house I grew up in, 29 Grosvenor Aveue, was divided into two storeys, we lived in the basement with its narrow, dark, damp passage leading to a brighter living room and a small parlour, which just about accommodated a table and chair. The larger back room had built in sideboard-type furniture, a large wooden dining table, always covered with a tablecloth, which would be white on special family dinner occasions, when my cousins, aunts and uncles would visit. A couple of armchairs surrounded the fireplace.
My mother and I shared the front basement bedroom (as pictured above), which had wooden shutters that made the room pitch black when closed. We used to burn Night Lights at bedtime and my grandmother would light an oil lamp. There were two single beds, a couple of small armchairs, a black and white television, a chest of drawers and a wardrobe.
To be continued...