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U3A Writing: Be It Ever So Humble

"What anticipation, when turning the key in your own front door, after a long journey, and the feeling of relief to step inside once more.'' Shirley Lingwood wholeheartedly agrees with the sentiments of the well-known song - there's no place like home.

The words of a very old song express my feelings exactly: they were written way back in the 1820ís by one Ė John Howard Payne and a fellow by the name of Henry Bishop set those words to music. Suffice to say that forty years later in the 1860ís it became the favourite of thousands of warring soldiers in the American Civil War.

Iím not offering any prizes for guessing the title, but I dare bet it is known to every single one of you here today.

"Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, thereís no place like Home"

Despite the fact that it is well known to be second only to bereavement as the biggest cause of stress, some people appear to quite enjoy moving house fairly frequently. It seems that after a few years in one place they get itchy feet and feel the urge to move on. Perhaps the employment of the main wage earner decrees that a move is in the offing, perhaps an improvement in status within the company and a heftier pay cheque is the enticement so, Ďhey prestoí itís up sticks and Ďall changeí to pastures new.

I once knew a family who accepted that they would never be more than three years in any one place. That would have driven me crazy Ė I certainly could not have found the motivation to decorate and refurnish yet again, knowing it would all be to go through again so soon.

Itís true to say I havenít had many homes in my life. I was actually married from the house in which I was born. I hadnít been away to study as, in those days it was relatively uncommon for teenagers to go off to university, and I Ė like many others Ė went to night school (or the Technical College) for some further education and qualifications, whilst working at my chosen job during the day, thus continued living at home. After our wedding, my husband and I moved to live in our first home, only about three miles away. Five years later his job saw him based in Leeds and we thought that merited a move to somewhere a little nearer, which is how we happened to make a move to Mirfield. Very conveniently, my parents bought our 2-bedroomed bungalow for themselves in their retirement, so of course, we never lost touch with our first home, as we visited frequently.

We lived in Mirfield for the next 25 very happy years, making lots of friends of similar ages to ourselves and whose children were at school with ours. The bonfire night parties and New Year revelries are still remembered fondly. Ralph joined the Round Table movement and leisure hours were spent socializing and raising money for charitable organisations.

By the time our children had flown the nest, we felt it was the right time to look ahead towards our retirement years and find somewhere to live which we could furnish and decorate BEFORE it all became too much effort.

Our long search finally ended with us finding what we wanted in Kirkburton Ė back in Huddersfield once more, having both been born there and now come full circle, where my elderly folks still lived in our first home, and us about 3 miles away, so handy to pop in to help when needed.

It is now 21 years since we moved to Huddersfield and during all those years I have been very fortunate to travel on holidays to many different places abroad, but strangely, however good the food or the weather, after about ten days my thoughts start drifting towards home. The traditional two-week break is more than enough for me and Iíve never wanted to go away for longer than that, as some do.

What anticipation, when turning the key in your own front door, after a long journey, and the feeling of relief to step inside once more.

This is HOME, where you KNOW the bed will be just right, the cup of tea Ė perfect, those cosy old slippers are waiting and the neighbours speak your language.

I will admit to looking forward to the change that a holiday brings: that feeling of wanting to escape the hum- drum routine of daily life. But thereís something very comfortable and appealing about that old familiar groove.

So. thatís just four addresses Iíve had in my lifetime and as Iíve already passed my allotted span, I hope to see out my days at the present address, my HOME, thank you very much.

The alternatives: Residential Home, Convalescent Home or Nursing Home, somehow donít have the same appeal.


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