Friday, 4 August 2017
What is home?
This is now my view from the loo for the foreseeable future. I have to admit to really enjoying being back on my mooring. As you can see I am half way through reclaiming my hedge. The grass needs another go over, the bushes are entirely out of control and my pots are full of weeds, but I love pottering round my patch of paradise.
I have also been welcomed back by my friends and neighbours. They have stopped for a chat. They have cut my grass. They have lent me petrol in a can as the petrol in my car mysteriously disappeared while I was away. It is a wonderful yet diverse community of people who are brought together by mooring in this location and all do their best to make it a lovely place to live.
Bonny has also really enjoyed reclaiming her territory. She has been peeing around the place so much that she has had to suck up half the canal to keep going! After four months she is loving going on familiar walks once again, but so far has been really good at staying with me while we explore!
But part of me feels a bit guilty about my enjoyment. I say to myself that if I was a 'real' boater, a real explorer, then my boat would be all the home I needed. I wouldn't need a place, a community to return to. If I was a 'real' boater I wouldn't have a mooring at all but would endlessly travel the waterways and call each patch of towpath I tie up to home.
Also although I call it my mooring, I don't own it. I rent the space from CRT who could ask me to move on at any time. So how do we define what home is? Surely it is more than the roof over our heads? Is it where our loved ones are? But then what about those of us who are alone or who are separated from those we love?
Perhaps for me it is the place I feel I most belong. Yes, I belong first and foremost on my boat, but Hunts Lock mooring is the place I come back to. It shelters me in the winter, it allows me to pretend I have a garden and it allows me to belong to a community. When I am here I don't have to worry about moving on every two weeks (or less). I know each night who will be mooring next to me and I know I am safe here.
I admire those hardy souls among the boating community who have cast off their need for a place and travel free of attachments. Perhaps I will do the same one day but I know I am not ready for that yet. Meanwhile I click my heels and say..."There is no place like home."