Thursday, March 21, 2013

A far country

Totnes - a favourite town
 Our recent trip to visit our family in the UK in February was a quick three week affair which passed in a gluttony of meals out with different groups of people, visiting and a general impression of talking and listening a lot. I visited my family eight years ago previous to this trip.
We found a little time to visit our old haunts in between family commitments.

                                                     A sunny day on Dawlish seafront.

After a decade and a half of living elsewhere I felt very much a visitor and observer in England. The country and I guess the family has moved on without me. In fact (for now) it has left a feeling of ‘not belonging’ anywhere. I’m sure this is shared by many emigrants who leave their place of birth particularly as adults. I have no ‘history’ here in NZ outside of the past 15 years and in my birthplace I have no ‘present’. I have missed the later lives and deaths of three of our parents, marriages, births, joy and upheavals of my siblings and the many milestones of their offspring.
There is always a price to pay with any major life decision. I like living here and we have created a relatively good life for ourselves. This is my home, it is where my children have grown into adults and become independent. It’s just sometimes the ramifications of my choice resurrect feelings I thought I had come to terms with, I guess it’s the cost of revisiting a place/people that hold your past.


   The trip however, did bring lots of pleasure, not least spending time with my mum, brothers and sisters, one of them being my twin. I got to visit ‘Spin a yarn’ and enjoyed some time with the knitting group who meet there. I unexpectedly sat beside someone I had previously met more than 20 years ago at a natural dye class on Dartmoor. I spent a delightful morning revisiting Coldharbour mill, now a working museum in Uffculme on a very chilly day. I reluctantly crept past a class of weavers on the top floor of the building studiously working at their looms. I couldn’t resist buying a few skeins of the yarn from the shop (although choice was limited).

                                           Coldharbour mill
                                            old spinning frame

                                            Weaving a Devon Tartan
                                            Glassmaking in Bovey Tracey

The weather was pretty good for February with only one really wet day. The effects of January’s torrential rain in Devon were still apparent.
Our two children managed to fit in a trip to Glasgow to visit two of their cousins and London.
I was reminded of how far away I live after 30 plus hours of plane travel, but on arrival a beautiful sunny morning in Christchurch made me glad to be home.



Kiwiyarns said...

I know how you feel. Try growing up in one country, spending your teenager years in another, going overseas for 20 years and then coming 'home'. It's all very weird.

When my grandparents settled here from the UK, I don't think my grandmother ever really did accept NZ as 'home' even though 3 of her 5 children were born and grew up here.

Doespins said...

Yes your grandmother would have come knowing she was unlikely to see most of her family again.

Peter said...

I also share that sense of having a home but... not a place, or something. I wonder if we are wired up like the albatross to have a homing instinct that stays with us throughout our life? When I went back to the UK for 4 months in 1997 after being in NZ for over 20 years, I found it disturbingly easy to connect up again in the UK, almost like the 2 decades away had been a dream. I kept looking around at people in their early 20s in case I recognised them..., and then had to remind myself that the people I knew would be in their 40s. The parts of the UK where I lived as a child had scarcely changed at all (although my primary school was now, "The old school apartments"!!! which made me feel.. very old! Lovely to see your photos. Those looms are wonderful.

Kind Thoughts to you, hope you are soon adjusting again to life here, and are back into the swing of creating lovely things. P

blodeuedd said...

I feel the same when I go back to Australia, although I've lived here in NZ for less than a decade. It's a strange feeling not really belonging anywhere, but I think NZ is the better choice.