Friday, November 25, 2005

Like a new place

Two weeks in the UK, initially for work, but soon dedicated to my Dad who was taken ill two days into my trip. Two work meetings (that were the reason for the trip in the first place) were cancelled, leaving me free to do some practical stuff for Dad. This was handy, given that he's likely to be away from home for some months recovering from the stroke. We normally keep in touch 2-3 times a day by e-mail and text, and now still have the texting thing, even tho' in theory mobiles are banned from hosptial wards. Between my sister and I, we hope to get him kitted out with a laptop and internet connection by the time he's farmed out to what used to be called a cottage hospital for the hard work of rehabilitation. He's got a couple of projects to work on, one a spoof work magazine he's been writing anonymously for years, and the other his substantial body of doggerel poetry that deserves a wider audience. I suspect we may get some of that on one of my other blogs 'by yer in overne' in due course.

Being at home in Swansea was a bit strange. This was the house I grew up in, in the town I grew up in. Yet it felt different. It was no longer the same PLACE. This was something I noticed on a previous 'illness-free' trip home. I also noticed it when I visited our 'old' house in Pompey which is now let to a friend. Yes, this is the house where we lived for 3 years, the first house we owned (in partnership with the bank and a mother). But it's not the same place. This one still has a vibe.

In and around Swansea, there are a few landscapes that still feel like the same place. For me it's because they are invested with people energy. Sometimes others unknown have left something magic, some vibe behind. Something they noticed when they found it, and added to in their turn. Sometimes the vibe is our own, and while we are there, it lives; when we move on, it leaves with us.

The landscapes are important to me. Can they really be affected by people as houses or other buildings are? (That reminds me that there is the negative angle on all this too. One building - an ex-military prison in Stirling had an extremely disturbing vibe. I don't know what it feels like now.)

So here I was in early November, in autumn, clearing leaves and enjoying the last surprisingly late fruits of my garden - cherry tomatoes being a particular favourite. I leave to go to old Blighty, and when I get back, it's winter. The first snowfall is arriving as I write.

Waiting for the school bus with excited kids. Enjoying that special peace that falls over the landscape with the snow. Transforming the house into a cosy refuge, our massive fireplace really coming into its own. This place has its own vibe, which is great, and we are adding to it every day we are here. Our dream is to buy this or another similar place and vibe away to our hearts' content. Wish us luck.

PS Some pictures to come - Blogger doesn't seem too happy about uploading this morning.

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