Postcard from Weardale

We've just come back from a fabulous week in County Durham, where as you can see the weather was kind to us. However, you can't tell from the idyllic looking picture that the wind's breath at the top of Weardale contains a warning that winter's never far away.

30 years ago NAH and I moved away from this kind of scenery to start our married life together down south. Since then we've had good, bad and unexpected times which I wouldn't change for the world, but the pull of the north has always been there at the back of my mind.

So last week was a bit of a test - was my homesickness for the north east simply part of my imagination or for real? I'd say on balance it's for real because I didn't feel like we were on holiday. We'd simply gone home instead.

I'm not from the area, but it's the only place I've ever felt at home. Elizabeth and Mark have blogged much more eloquently on this subject than I can and they've given me much to ponder over the past 18 months. A number of our friends have moved away in the last couple of years and I've become quite unsettled in the process. Is Chippenham my home, or is it somewhere else? And if somewhere else isn't achievable, can I ever make Chippenham feel like it is my home?

NAH wisely says home is where we make it and whilst my head's in agreement with him, my heart's not so sure...


  1. Derbyshire is some where my hubby and I both felt the pull to. as teenagers were both camped and visited for day trips.Only 1 hour travel, him from the north me from the south. We camped with the children as they grew, moved around the country for work Then we retired 2yrs ago to Derbyshire to an area we didn't know and have meet so many nice friendly folk we haven't regetted a moment of the move.

  2. The Co-conspirator and I have been discussing off and on for years where we would live in retirement. Now that that time is actually approaching I keep thinking about the time we've spent in the Pacific Northwest or the Northeast or on Nantucket Island and how "at home" we felt there. Though we've always lived almost as far from the oceans as possible in North America it seems we're feeling the pull of the coasts.

  3. I know what you mean about feeling as if you're going home - I get that both in Cornwall and in Shropshire, which we know well. I've always put it down to being a different sort of holiday, with the enjoyment of settling into something familiar.

    To me, Chippenham sounds lovely and your blog makes you sound very involved in the area. My aunt moved to the North East around Newcastle for a bit (totally different person, totally different reasons, I know) and she relied on public transport (such as it was). She returned to London, having missed the arts, culture and conversation.

    There's not much that's more unsettling than other people moving on. Perhaps the North-East is indeed your spiritual home but I think I'd say, Don't let that unsettled feeling be the reason to move. I suspect, wherever you live, it feels unsettling when others leave.

  4. Head and heart don't always go together, especially with that sense of feeling at 'home' to an area. We know that feeling. Although we're not unhappy and actually feel settled, head is the main reason where we are now. As for the heart, there are several to choose from (Cornwall, Buxton (!)...).

    Glad to hear you had a fantastic time and you felt you went home rather than just a holiday, making things extra special.

  5. But the head doesn't rule your emotions and it's those that rule how you feel about something.

  6. A lovely part of the world. we were up there ourselves recently

  7. Looks beautiful, and with your own history there too, no wonder you feel the draw.
    I'm sure you've already come across him but if not, (and for anyone else interested) I always enjoy Phil Gates' blogs and the gorgeous photos he posts of that area on Twitter (@seymourdaily).

  8. Thanks for your comments everyone. There's much for me to ponder and I expect to return to my thoughts and your comments shortly

  9. The 'home' thing struck a chord with me. I feel at home in Brighton and it's where my sense of identity is but in a lot of ways (bad neighbours, the town going downhill, etc.) I no longer want to be here. The problem is that I don't feel like I belong anywhere else. I need to be near the sea and feel the call of beautiful beaches from my youth but I feel alienated from the people and places near to them.. I was always a misfit until I landed in Brighton a town full of misfits so I fitted


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