Run for home...

12 Dec 2015

As Lindisfarne put it: "Run for home, run as fast as I can...I have travelled the land, made mistakes out of hand."

I have travelled around quite a bit, five UK cities and two foreign countries. Mainly it has been for work reasons, but sometimes I wonder.

The interesting thing about moving is that there are two sides to it. On the one hand you are moving towards something new: new opportunities, new friends, new relationships. Conversely you are also moving away from the old: old events, old friends, old relationships.

Sometimes it is difficult to disentangle the conflicting emotions of moving towards a new life or running away from the old one. Plus the nagging suspicion that perhaps you are searching for something and not finding it. Over time too comes the feeling that you are losing more than you are gaining, especially as old friends lose touch and new ones seem to be harder to find.

As I was growing up, all the traditional industries locally were closing down, and the mantra was to get an education and leave town. Health, wealth and happiness were elsewhere. (This has given me a great insight into Irish thinking and culture living in Dublin.)

One aspect of feeling that leaving home was not a choice is that you can over-romanticise your birthplace, something the Irish have always done, although Newcastle people are not far behind. Many supporters at Newcastle away games will be ex-pats reconnecting with their upbringing. Sometimes though there is a backlash when you are eulogising your hometown and someone snaps "well why don't you *** off back there then!"

So that is the plan. I am applying for jobs back in the North-East of England and planning to move back there while I still have family and friends. And perhaps eventually retire to a coastal village where it rains horizontally.

Whatever I have been looking for will not be found outside, it will be found inside, so going back to where it all began to achieve closure seems a good move.


A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Dec. 12, 2015, 12:25 a.m.

It sounds like a move with a definite sense of direction. Best wishes. I hope that while your ‘outside’ gently re-acclimatises to feelings of belonging, your ‘inside’ can find the feelings that you most want it to x


the room above the garage

Dec. 12, 2015, 7:15 a.m.

Hello Norman, I love this, you are going with your gut at a time when you are healthy and decisions are clear. You're being the change! I hope you have some support too? love ratg x.



Dec. 12, 2015, 8:16 a.m.

I do however remember the words attributed to John Lennon: "Life is what happens when you are making other plans..."

the room above the garage

Dec. 12, 2015, 10:10 p.m.

Oh yes, I love that song...Beautiful Boy, for Sean, he whispers at the end "goodnight Sean, see you in the morning", and I wonder how often his son has played it just to hear that part. Wonderful album.


Dec. 12, 2015, 8:22 a.m.

Morning Norman, your blog brought back the ending of the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy closes her eyes and repeats "there's no place like home..." Cheesy I know! I'm the queen of cheese and love it! :) I admire people like you who have the courage and sense of freedom to move on, try something different. I am so different. The story I tell myself, although true I guess doesn't have to confine me, is that Because I was over protected from the outside world by a parent who catastrophised life events, taught me that no one but family could be trusted, that basically the world is a big bad and scary place, I have not had the courage to consider moving away and have remained very close to London. It's a bit of a dilemma, I love London, but will never experience what there is to love about other places if I stay in my comfort zone. I do find modern living too fast paced and stressful and I do have a romanticised image of a warm sunny place, where the pace is slow and life is simple. Where it's warm enough to sit outside and pass the time of day with neighbours and go for a stroll without wraping up. Wander through a local market or over to the local shop to buy fresh bread and be able to enjoy it without worrying about carbs! Ahhh I had a bit of a mind holiday then! ... aaand back in the room! I'm sure there's no such thing as the perfect place to be. Do we search for a better life or be content and grateful for what we have? Is it a waste of my time on this precious planet to only experience one way of life? I guess if I really wanted to be somewhere else I'd probably make it happen one way or another. Thanks for a thought provoking and inspiring blog Norman and keep following your dreams! :) LP xx


the room above the garage

Dec. 12, 2015, 10:13 p.m.

LP, i understand very much your reasons for staying put. I've decided, for this part of my life, I'm a homebody and that is good. Another part will be different if and when. Your time for doing different will come if it's needed xx.


Dec. 12, 2015, 8:55 a.m.

A sense of homecoming - wonderful - and that horizontal rain - works for me. Take your insights from your travels and go well



Dec. 12, 2015, 9:45 a.m.

Your blog reminds me of the film Brooklyn which I saw this week. Set in Ireland, a young girl leaves Ireland for a job in America; she has very romantic feelings about her home town. I won't say anymore but the ending surprised me. My husband is always wanting to go away on holiday and is always planning our next stay, in our house in France or a week here and a few days there, always abroad. And he works abroad too for several weeks a year! I know he is escaping. And he has no mental health issues (other than that!). I am happy to stay put having travelled the world for work and going through the channel tunnel many times a year plus we, like you Norman, have moved several times for work. I have good friends here, work of a kind and strong feelings for the place. When I was desperately unhappy, I was always planning escapes to different places. These days, I like living in the present. So your blog today Norman, put into words what I have suspected all along that my husband is in fact escaping from here. He has no connections with our small town and I always accompany him on holidays of course (not work). I know how vital it is to live comfortably with one surroundings and until one finds that place, I guess wanderlust will always be there. Your plans to move N.E.sound perfect to me. Julia



Dec. 12, 2015, 10:25 p.m.

A schoolfriend's father was a long-distance lorry driver. His idea of a holiday was a week in his armchair in front of the tv! Drove his family mad!


Dec. 12, 2015, 10 a.m.

Thank you, Norman. I read this with a family member in mind, who escaped to Oz and is now coming 'home'. And LP ... Come to Spain!



Dec. 12, 2015, 11:12 a.m.

Oh Barbara, it wouldnt take alot to tempt me! :) xx

Mr A non

Dec. 12, 2015, 12:03 p.m.

Brilliant blog Norman, I find if i have peace of mind then i can be comfortable anywhere. Home is where the heart is.



Dec. 12, 2015, 5:01 p.m.

"Whatever I have been looking for will not be found outside, it will be found inside ..." Thank-you for this timely reminder Norman. How often do we hide away from our inner selves, our true selves ... You have reminded me that I need to grieve properly for two people and I keep putting it off ... In addition, as I grow older and (hopefully!) wiser I realise that sometimes we need to grieve for ourselves - for the people we were (for me this is about grieving for when I was fit, healthy, active), if we are to accept and welcome the people we have become (fatigued, aching, lacking in energy, and having to manage a chronic condition) Good luck with the job-hunting; I do hope it works out for you Norman. Frankie



Dec. 12, 2015, 10:41 p.m.

Frankie: not to go too deeply into it but you've made me think I need to grieve for the person I never became: it feels like I have a great future behind me to coin a phrase.

The Gardener

Dec. 12, 2015, 8:58 p.m.

Defining 'home' is so difficult. Where you were born? The house where I was born, and the next one where our sons were born, are under motorways. We have no family 'roots' We have a long establishment with our parish in UK - daughter with us at the moment still wants us to be buried there, regardless of cost. Norman talks of two countries. When we left the UK during our first four years in France we talked of going 'home' to UK, now France is definitely 'home', house, activities, community. People who emigrated to Australia and New Zealand talked of going 'home' to the UK at least once in their lives, though it was virtually impossible. There is a cliche 'Home is where your heart is'. I wrote an article on the subject following an excellent sermon. I said it was an ever open door to friends and strangers alike, a welcome smile, a cat and a room full of books - today this has all happened, Can you want for more?



Dec. 12, 2015, 10:15 p.m.

TG: houses under motorways? There was a time when I felt as though I was being followed around by my own personal bulldozer! Both my primary and secondary school, the hospital I was born in, and most of the houses I have lived in, are no more. Even my flat block at University was wrecked by a combination of subsidence and earthquakes! I used to joke that there would be nowhere left to put the blue plaques!


Dec. 12, 2015, 10:19 p.m.

In Southampton there was an Irish pub full of old men talking about when they would go home. In Stoke-on-Trent there was a pub popular with elderly afro-caribbean men (from Barbados I think) who came to the UK to earn enough to buy a small farm back home and get "set" and still talked about it. In reality neither group was going home alive: I resolved that I would never end up like them and leave it too late.

Mary Wednesday

Dec. 12, 2015, 10:44 p.m.

Lovely to see your post Norman. Excellent. Today I saw a pic on Facebook that just summed this up - a statue of a man holding a suitcase striding out into the sea - but so cleverly he had no middle - none at all. It looked as if his top half was just floating (it was actually held together by the arm and suitcase from the top connecting with his leg - the other leg came up from the sea and then - just ended. The statue is to represent the loss of self people feel when they leave home for another land. I'm with the gardener on this one; "an ever open door to friends and strangers alike, a welcome smile, a cat and a room full of books." For me now - having made so many contacts around the world this past year - some of whom feel like such very old friends, I would now have to add a computer and the internet! And - sorry to be so late with posting this. Busy day!



Dec. 12, 2015, 11:07 p.m.

Mary, That reminds me, I must get to see "Another Place" at Crosby beach. Similar concept I think.


Dec. 12, 2015, 10:48 p.m.

Thanks for all the replies. I'm sorry I didn't reply earlier but I was stuck at work shortlisting 45 applicants for a part-time (16 hours pw) maternity cover job: there's a lot of people struggling out there.



Dec. 13, 2015, 9:02 a.m.

Hi Norman, sorry I never reached this blog to reply til now. Reading your responses I feel I could have written dome of them myself! I am sad that during our marriage, we moved away from home (beautiful Wales) however it has always been great to go 'home'. Now that both sets of parents are dead, there is nothing to go back for, well, not as much, so I feel adrift. The house we live in is a comfortable one - it's a warm home as much as we can make it...but I'm not settled. We have decided where we will be 'scattered' when the time comes, and it's back in Wales. Rambling on, I know, soz, pet! We missed 'another place' a few weeks ago...should have visited whilst in the area, but the weather was foul...don't think we'd have seen anything! Really liked this Norman and the responses. Hope you are still keeping up your good work without alcohol :) love rambling Bear x

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