Mini-returns and unfamiliar ‘homes’

Photograph of Gardens by the Bay

Towards the end of last year I went on a wonderful three-week holiday to Australia. It is one of my favourite places, if it is fair to think of it as one place – in three weeks I saw just a tiny fraction of it on this visit. My parents lived in Melbourne for a … Continue reading

Home climates: snowdrops and falling leaves

Tree in autumn

I’ve been reminded by a mild spell and the sight of the sunshine that the weather makes a huge difference to how I live and how I feel about it. I do like to see the change in seasons, although I prefer all other changes to when it gets darker and danker. I lived once … Continue reading

Shopping malls

China Town plaza

Looking at my globe often makes me think not just of other distant places, or of a well-chosen gift, but of the shopping centre it came from. This was a welcome sanctuary on returning to the UK: a brand new air-conditioned mall with chain stores, a food court and a familiar, inside-outside light filtering onto … Continue reading

The smell of home

Chinese soup spoon

Reading about the salmon in my last post I learnt that apparently salmon are guided in their return migration by the smell of the stream where they were born, and that is how they know how to get home in order to spawn. The sign in Vancouver’s Stanley Park (written by the city’s aquarium) asks, … Continue reading

Scrapbooks

Scrapbooking experienced a resurgence a few years ago, with an effervescent range of electronic and paper options becoming available to the new and experienced conserver of memories. This is a practice with a long history and in the modern era, women in particular have been responsible for preserving and arranging their family histories: trials and … Continue reading

Coffee shops

Coffee shop chains were a rare sight when I moved back to the UK in the late 1990s, at least outside of major cities. When I did see a branch, it brought familiarity from around the world, and from an important part of my life as a teenager, learning to like coffee with friends and … Continue reading