What do you call home?
Is it just somewhere you live, or do you really feel it is a location, or district, or country?
My English Grandmother used to refer to England as 'Home'. We used to tease her about it.
But now I tend to refer to New Zealand as 'home' too. But then, the Bay of Plenty is 'home', or the little town where I was born & grew up.
Or home is the Southern City where I spent so many years after marriage.
And home is here, in Australia, here in NSW, here in this house, which I feel is my REAL home now.
When BFJ & I left to travel on our 'adventures' together, 'home' at first was our humble rather primitive bach we lived in, while apple picking. No hot water, an outside loo. We had to boil the copper to wash our clothes. Boil a Zip hot water heater for our food. The outside loo, under tall creaky pines was never a nice place to visit during the dark nights, where it would be pitch black, & perhaps the sound of tubercular-sounding sheep coughing, could scare the hell out of us.
Once we moved to the Southern City, we initially stayed at "The People's Palace" which was a huge hostel affair, run by the Salvation Army. It provided clean, cheap accommodation, & you could buy cheap breakfasts and cheap evening meals. I had previously stayed at a People's Palace in Auckland too, & it was also a huge place, providing plain, safe havens for the poor or newly arrived traveller. I dont think there are any left now, I suppose they have had to close because of rising costs.
BFJ & I were anxious to find affordable accommodation, & did find a 'Hovel'. It was terrible really, we had no ablution facilities, -those, we had to share, & they were in the house in front of our hovel. The Hovel as we always referred to it, was situated behind the house, & consisted of two rooms, with no opening windows & a door with only a bolt to close it. Padlocked from the outside or in, depending if you were out or in! The house was tenanted with an assortment of people of differing ages, & sex, & tennants seemed to come & go quite often.
We never really regarded this hovel as home, but for several months it was all we had. We were lucky enough to find half a house next door, same landlord, & so all we had to do to move, was carry our possessions through the connecting gate. The half house was certainly no luxurious arrangment either, but it was luxury compared to the little box Hovel.
We had a huge bedroom, with rotting floor boards- we found this out, when our stilletto heels went through the soft wood! A large lounge with a huge window, covered in tattered curtains, a cut off passage, which led to the other half of the house, a small kitchen, with gas stove, & a bathroom of our own, with a gas Califont for hot water.
I had never met a Califont before, & I was always terrified of it. I hated the lighting of it, & we had a meter on the front porch, which we had to keep fed with shillings* in those days, to keep gas coming to use for the water & cooking. Once we discovered, when we went to feed the ever hungry meter, that the lock on it had been broken, & so we gleefully fed the same shilling through the meter over & over again, until it was to full capacity.
Imagine our horror when, a few nights later there was a knock on our door, & there stood 2 large detectives, demanding to know if we had broken into the meter. Of course we quickly assured them we hadnt, & they proceeded to take fingerprints!! "To check you didnt break the meter". We lived in terror that they would accuse us- we frantically tried to remember just what we had handled as we pumped the same shilling through the meter.
They came back several times, once to let us know they had caught the culprits. Once one of them asked me out. I told him, after I got to know him, what we had done with the shilling, & he laughed. He said they knew who had done the breakin, because their prints had been on all the other meters in the street, that had been burgled.
The half house was 'home' for about 8 months, I think. It had a lumpy old lounge suite in it, that had been slashed at the base by a previous tennant, looking for change, so the landlord told us. We had a bed each in the bedroom, & I think there was a chest of drawers. There was an old fireplace in out bedroom, gas, with things called ceramics in it. There was another in the lounge, & once GOM & BFJ's husband to be, threw blank bullets into it, when it was lit, & blew the ceramics to pieces.
There was a couple who lived in the other half of the house & they seemed to have spectacular fights. If we were home we would listen at the wall, & hear all the thumps & bashes & screams. We rarely saw the other couple, & were never sure who was bashing who!
Probably the best thing about that 'home' was the close proximity to the city & our place of work. We could run through the park on the freezing southern mornings to get to work, & run home again.
And our landlord owned a Fish & Chip shop accross the road from the house, & we could always get 2 shillings worth of Fish & Chips for tea, on the night before pay day, when we would usually be broke! Tough times, but fun looking back.
And now we are both so much older, & both of us really love our 'Homes'.
It is all very well to say, "Home is where you hang your hat" but at our age it is so much more than that, I feel.
Home is really where your heart is, perhaps.
* A Shilling was equivalent to our 10 cent piece.