Remember in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Hermione takes the squad to all her childhood places when they need to apparate somewhere safe?
I’d like to think that if I was Hermione – a goal I’ve had since I was old enough to choose my own Halloween costumes to match my teacher’s pet personality – I’d be able to apparate my pals somewhere safe within seconds, because there’s a lot of places that I’d call home.
There’s home home for a start. And everyone has a home home. For me, home is currently Derby, but home home is Bingley.
B I N G L E Y
I adore Bingley. Yet growing up, I desperately wanted to leave. I couldn’t wait to start my adventure elsewhere, meet new people, have my own house. I guess I saw it as an anchor to the bad times in life: I would get home from school or work and feel miserable in my room automatically because in my moody teenage years, and when I left University, my room was where I would go to be sad. So it was as if the sadness was captured.
But now Bingley is my perfection; a little place I want to capture in a time-lock capsule and pop in my pocket forever. When you’re growing up, you have all these big plans to take off and live your life, but you always include everyone around you – it’s like you all grow up and live together still, just in a different place. But the reality isn’t quite like that, so despite Bingley being perfection, there’s also a bitter sweetness to it when remembering how life used to be here.
Bingley is familiar, it’s home. It’s where my friends are, and my parents. It’s where my cats are, too – which is ever so important. But it’s also so much more: It’s where I’ve laughed, where I’ve loved more than I thought possible, where I’ve cried and hurt more than I thought possible. Where I’ve grown, succeeded, failed and flourished.
When I come home, I feel comfort, excitement and all round happiness. I walk the same route home from the station that I have since school, I know the quickest ways to get to where I want to go. I sit and I watch films with my parents – something I would never do when I was younger – or grab drinks in the town’s 5 bars, a box of £2 cheesy chips for the way home and a fiver for a the taxi. Sometimes, home is all you need.
S H E F F I E L D
Sheffield was my home for a brief six months, but made its mark on me extremely quickly, and for some reason part of me has never let it go. It wasn’t my bedroom I’d found on EasyRoomate that felt like home, it was the atmosphere; the people, the city, the new independence, the learning experience.
It was the half-day Nandos and bitching sessions, and the chilling in bed watching Top Gear and Take Me Out. Hell, I’d even say the 70p bus fares are pretty up there in ‘factors that make a good home’.
My best friend to this day I’d met in Sheffield, and even when I pass through on the train, it feels lovely.
Through the years I’m learning that the places I call home are the places I’ve settled: So passing through Sheffield makes me want to write a thousand words in shorthand and head to Pizza Hut for the lunchtime buffet straight afterwards. It makes me think of hilarious council meetings and visits to court that made me excited about my future career
not that I became a journalist, oops .
Sheffield makes me think of Christmas, and wrapping up warm on my way to college. It makes me think of the beautiful suburb I lived in, and the crisping of leaves under my feet as I headed through the park to Morrison’s. My spindly legs and arms ready to take the weight of 3 tightly packed carrier bags of food shopping. (Actually, I was never ready for that… and ended up usually spending a fortune on food in the Co-op instead, or living off lucozade and dairy milk bars.)
Sheffield was the first place I moved to after the University tumble. It was the first place where I felt I was getting life back on track and moving in the right direction – I felt like me again, and even now I don’t always feel as ‘me’ as I did whilst there. I Learnt To Live Again.
B R A D F O R D
Whilst Bradford and Bingley count almost as the same place, we’re talking specifics: My second flat.
My second flat was everything I had ever wanted. It had the aesthetic I thought I would always work towards but never have; sachet windows up to the ceiling, exposed red brick, beautiful natural light – and even built in speakers in the ceilings so I could dance in the shower.
I loved that flat, I lived for that flat, and very often I miss being there. Of course, we all have to move on at some point and I have, to Derby. But if I ever find myself needing to move back home, it’ll be right there.
Don’t get me wrong, it had its downfalls, like the fact that it was mainly sub-zero temperatures in the run up to the Winter months. The heaters were in all the wrong places and hadn’t been used through the summer so just emitted the smell of burning dust, rather than making me any warmer.
I had big plans for that flat; and I finally had that ‘I just want to go home’ feeling for myself. It was close to the station so I could pop and see friends whenever, and I held a few parties myself because the space was perfect. I had high hopes for my flat to become the social hub of our friendship group, though that never really took off and I spent a lot of my time alone. But I didn’t care so much because hello? Exposed red brick.
It was my own little space in the universe that was mine; and felt like my own home.
L I V E R P O O L
Though I never visit Liverpool anymore, it did feel like home for a very long time. I spent Friday night’s on late night trains to the city, to spend the weekend and coach it back on home on the Sunday.
Liverpool also makes me feel like Christmas. It makes me feel warm and comfy, too. I got to experience the good and fun bits of University here, whilst I wasn’t able to have my own experience.
Spending time here, I learnt a lot of the area, and I guess familiarity always makes people feel at home.
There’s plenty of other places I could mention too – my auntie’s house, the woods near my parent’s, my friend’s house, Daniel’s tiny bedroom in his Huddersfield house share, but I guess these cities are a bit easier to talk about rather than truly specific locations.
There’s also some places that used to feel like home, but aren’t quite the same anymore – Northampton, Rugby – and there’s just some places that will always feel like home.
Whenever I get myself stressed, or fried or emotional, I just have these gut feeling where my mind tells me ‘we need to go home’. It’s not Anxiety, or panic or anything like that, it’s just a desperate want to be home, even if I’m sat on my sofa in my pjs.
I think sometimes, I find it difficult to understand what home is, and where it is. Sometimes home is just the word we use when we’re looking for that homely feeling, and sometimes it just isn’t a place. Sometimes it’s a hug, or a conversation or a time out to ourselves.
Home is warm and comfortable. It’s familiar and wonderful. It makes you remember certain things and feel a certain way, and I guess that’s what all these places do for me. I will always hold the idea that I want to live in Sheffield for much longer, and I would hope to grow old where my friends are. Hopefully one day I will have my own real home – mortgage and all – and I can fill the space with memories and smells and feelings; my very own perfect piece of universe.