Home – that familiar word with an unfamiliar sentiment. I’m back in it, or somewhere thereabouts, probably. The trip to Oz feels already like a distant memory, and were it not for the crippling credit card statements that arrive through my letterbox, I’d not be entirely certain I even went. Usually I wrestle the paper statements from The Dog’s jaws, but this month I’ll let him shred a couple with his German efficiency (DNA tests revealed he is half dachshund).
I’m frequently asked (usually by my parents) when I am going to move ‘home’. It’s coming on 13 years in Old Blighty and I admire their hope and persistence. Truth is, I weigh up the pros and cons on a regular basis. Mostly, the argument for upping sticks back to the southern hemisphere comes down to weather. That said, the first five days of my holiday saw more precipitation than I’ve enjoyed in Cheshire for a while. That might have more to do with my shitty luck with weather on holidays than anything. Yes I’m really that powerful I can influence whole weather systems, sure.
However, I’m not moving, not any time soon. And although it disappoints my folks in the mother country to hear it (frankly, I defer the question and commonly say that we’d love to, because on some level we really would) I’m actually rather at peace with the decision this time around. Returning to the UK fresh off a mostly sunny vacation in the warm embrace of friends and familly, I expected to feel a stinging chill of isolation back in the UK. Perhaps it was the messages of my UK friends that were glad to have me back that warmed the cockles or perhaps The Husband left the heating on by accident while we were away.
But there are other reasons I am staying put. The kind of things you really only notice when you genuinely examine the possibly of leaving with eyes wide open, because I have done a lot of this lately. I’ve mentally imagined myself actually re-settling in the mother country, not just dining out at Pilu in Freshwater (very nice, by the way) or drinking with friends in the city. Actually picturing what my weekly activities non-holiday-style would involve were I to leave the wet island I inhabit. And surprisingly, there is plenty that I can’t imagine myself giving up easily in Blighty. See, within the UK I can enjoy my career from a non-urban setting in an affordable home, avoid a commute (other than to visit clients when absolutely necessary) and ski the French Alps. Those three things alone almost make it worthwhile. I can also spend the weekend in pubs with genuine character, while The Husband enjoys craft ale that he doesn’t have to seek out an overpriced boutique bar selling them for top dollar.
Australia, from what I can gather has about twenty clients in total that I would bother getting out of bed to work on, no work from home inclination, a housing market that would saddle me with debt long past my expiration date and a ski season that lasts as long as a British summer (and is just as good). As Frank Turner has screeched at us live on several occasions ‘no one’s yet explained to me, exactly what’s so great, about slaving fifty years away on something that you hate.’ He might have a point.
Not to mention The Dog who would suffer more than us. His ability to rapidly surrender (I’m convinced he’s actually French) in anything greater than 20 degrees like a rich tea biscuit in a fresh brew is a concern. Not to mention the fact he’d spend his separation-anxiety filled days on his own, worrying himself into a daily frenzy.
So, this is home. Here. In the overcrowded land of stiff-upper-lipped overly-apologetic people. Besides, it’s nearly ‘summer’ and I have a trip to Paris in two weeks. Ask me again in November for the exact opposite response.