I moved out of my house in Leicester today and made the journey back up to Sheffield and despite the copious quantities of dog dirt, the regular police sirens and noisiness that defined the house, I realised I am going to miss it. It’s the first place other than the house I grew up in that I have ever considered to be “home”, that concept of both ownership and security that it’s so natural to want.
My flat in halls last year never once felt like home; for the most part it felt like an incredibly extended stay in a fairly poor hotel and I was glad to see the back of it, my feelings about 109 Grasmere Street are a little less straight forward.
It’s one of the central premises around the idea of University as a developmental experience, the idea that you live away from your parents and discover some of the realities of life; that the washing basket isn’t a magic portal that cleans clothes, but merely a staging post in a boring chore, that bills always add up to more than you expect and that no matter how many times you clean the house, it will soon be dirty again. I got to “enjoy” all of those and a whole host more living in Leicester this year and I definitely enjoyed the freedom, though I’m glad to be back in Sheffield for a number of reasons, high up amongst them being good food.
I genuinely did begin to think of that small terraced house as home over the course of the year and so it seems odd to think that in a few months I’ll be moving into an entirely different house and attempting to get used to all of its nuances, hoping that it begins to develop whatever it is that turns a house from a generic brick structure into a home.
I’ll miss the fact that it was less than 10 minutes from the door of my house to any of my lecture halls.
I’ll miss having a pretty damn good Chinese takeaway directly across the road from my house.
I’ll miss the corner shop where I recognised every member of staff and they sold tubes of Pringles for £1.29.
I’ll miss the room that I covered in posters and CD sleeves.
I’ll miss ‘my chair’ most of all though; a ridiculously comfy arm chair that faced towards the TV and was the perfect distance away from the table for me to put my feet up; I spent an awful lot of time in that seat this year and if there was a way for me to transport that chair over to my new house next autumn without annoying the land lady I would do it in a flash.
It’s fairly insignificant things like that chair which I believe create that sense of home; small creature comforts and particular distinguishing features that make us associate a whole range of emotions and concepts with the building.
One thing I won’t miss while I’m back in Sheffield is the thin walls of terraced houses; it’ll be a relief to live in a house where people moving around in either of the neighbouring houses doesn’t sound like it’s right outside your door, I’ll think we’re being burgled an awful lot less often now.
I’m sure the house I’m living in next year will eventually begin to feel like home, as will any other houses I live in throughout my life, but that generic student house in the centre of Leicester was the first place that felt like MY home, rather than my family’s home and so I’ll probably always remember it.
This song is one I’ve definitely posted before but it’s called “Home”, is by 'Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and has a great whistle based melody, which let’s face it, you can never have enough whistle orientated songs.