Are you in love with where you live or do you long to be somewhere else?
I live in Mid Bedfordshire, An Unassuming County, and it is full of surprises. There are lovely country spots like The Barton Hills, Maulden Woods, and The Dunstable Downs. There are places to visit for example Woburn Abbey Park, Park and Gardens, Wrest Park and various museums in Bedford and Luton and also Shuttleworth Aviation and Stotfold Car Museum. There are traditional villages including Old Warden, Bromham and Woburn. Bedfordshire certainly has more to offer than people give it credit at times.
Home is where the heart is ~ but the heart is fickle!
Since I was a teenager I have been aware of my family roots on the Channel Island UK, especially Alderney and Guernsey. I have treasured childhood memories of holidays on Alderney, where my great grandmother was born, but it has been during my adult years that I have been drawn to the island like an invisible thread across the sea, tugging at my psyche time and time again. I’ve written blog posts on www.dianamj.wordpress.com about why Alderney is so special to me – the people, the deserted unspoilt sandy beaches, the cliff-top walks, the amazing views, the little town of St Anne, bustling with life one moment and yet eerily quiet the next and the abundant flora and fauna.
It was Alderney that inspired my debut novel Riduna, allegedly the island’s Roman name, and I have always dreamt of living there. I remember vowing that I would teach at their local school one day, but I feel that my teaching days are almost certainly past, in a traditional sense anyway.
Each time I visit my heart begins to race a little faster even when joining the little queue for Joey at Southampton Airport and I cannot help but smile.
I spent all my formative years living in St Albans. I love the town, Verulamium Park with its Roman history, the cathedral where I was confirmed and numerous childhood memories. I don’t live far away even now, only forty minutes, but on occasional visits I’m still excited when I see the cathedral sitting majestically on the horizon as i approach the town. St Albans was my home for fifteen years until I was eighteen.
And now I live in a village in the heart of Mid-Bedfordshire and have done so for sixteen years since I went to college in Norwich when I was eighteen – not all at the same time though but certainly for the last thirteen years. I have family and friends here, I worked at a local college for twelve years not far from where we live and it is the place I think of most as ‘home,’ that is until our world was turned upside down and we relocated to Fife for a year in 2013, 2014.
My husband, on the other hand has lived in Bedfordshire all of his life, the majority of this
time in the small village in which we now live. Since he was a child though, he has vowed that one day he’d live in Cornwall, a place of many memories of holidays since he was a child.
All of this changed last year when we were suddenly relocated to live in Fife for nearly a year. We both fell in love with this less well-known coastal region just north of Edinburgh and for the first time both of us called a different place ‘home.’ If you have been following my blog I have described our life in Fife and posted numerous
pictures of Pettycur and Kinghorn, where we lived. We virtually walked the coastal path from the Forth Bridge to St Andrews during our stay, about forty miles. I particularly, enjoyed being involved in local community life. My husband was working whilst I was writing and it was an idyllic writer’s retreat, even in the depth if winter. The villages in Fife were like those in Cornwall decades ago. Although we did not experience the region in mid-summer, while we were there the roads were never busy, the people rarely rushed – in fact our pace of life slowed down markedly, even for my husband who was still doing ten hour shifts.
It was strange because parts of Fife even reminded us of Alderney. The difference was that, even on the wildest of coastal paths you were never far from civilisation or M & S for example! I was once walking along the path between Crail and St Andrews when I paused a while. Standing on a pathway, which seemed to be cut in the cliff about half way up, I looked around me. All I could see was the rock pools below, the sea and the occasional seagull flying overhead. That is until I heard a sharp noise above my head. A few steps further I turned the corner to peer over the edge of the cliff, upwards if you see what I mean. Men were playing golf just a few feet from me and their pavilion was close by. Within half an hour I was walking into St Andrews and strolling around the shops and Cathedral ruins.
I’ve written a novella about my life in Fife but fantasy is mixed with reality as I gave my imagination full reign. Picking it up again this January to proof read it and to make serious rewrites, I’ve been transported back to that precious time. There’s a knot in my heart that just won’t go away as I relive moments and places we visited.
My husband has also been reminiscing about our life there too and saying how much he misses it. Both of us have an inner yearning to return and yet logic tells me that everything I need and want is here in Bedfordshire.
Who knows what the future holds when my husband has finished his gap year? (see last post) I wish there was an instruction book to life!