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

A break in the commute

On my journey to work there is a point where the train line rises above the roofs of the houses and I can see all the way across the city. It is fleeting so I have to avoid falling into my commuter cocoon before I get there so I don’t miss it. Each morning I … Continue reading

People watching and shoes

Pair of distressed shoes

Standing idly on the train station platform this evening, I decided there was nothing better to look at than the shoes of the people swarming around me. I prefer to think that still says more about the station and my computer-tired eyes than my proclivity for shoes. A train pulling in provided me with an … Continue reading

Canadian return migration: salmon, geese and butterflies

When I was in Canada recently I learnt to appreciate the scale of animal, insect and bird migrations a little more, particularly the huge journeys made by hosts of salmon, geese and Monarch butterflies. It was not that I didn’t know about these before but there is always something about witnessing events or their settings … Continue reading

A little homemaking on the prairie

I have recently returned from a big holiday treat, crossing Canada by train. So wrapped up was I in what I would see and how it would feel to have traversed such a huge landmass, I did not really think about what it would be like to spend four days on a train, with just … Continue reading

There and back again: a hobbit returns home

Source=http://flickr.com/photos/96147639@N00/338143312/ |Author= Rob Chandler

I have just finished re-reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit, inspired to return to a childhood book by the forthcoming film. This reminded me that Bilbo’s journey and subsequent memoir are a perfect depiction of what it means to return home after living abroad or, as in The Hobbit, after an extended trip away. Since this is … 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