Wherever I lay my hat


Back in the mid 80’s, I used to enjoy listening to Paul Young, helped to be honest by the fact that when he was at his prime, I was often told, by attractive women in bars, that I looked like (a younger version of) him.

Maybe I still do, if we have aged in parallel, although judging by his picture on Wikipedia, I’d like to think that the years have been decades kinder to me.

Anyhow, one of his best known chart-toppers was his cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”, detailing his freewheeling approach to life.

But it is here that I have to say that my definition of ‘Home’ diverges somewhat from Mr Young’s.

Whilst he (or Marvin to be more precise) seem to feel that home is that place where you happen to reside at a particular time, I have a rather less portable and more complex view.

For me, ‘Home’ is not something that can be packed up and carried around in a suitcase. Instead it is something permanently tattooed onto my DNA as a result of my early and formative years. And once it is there, no amount of laser surgery can remove it.

The reason I mention all of this is that after living in Australia for over 20 years, I am shortly returning with my young family to live in the UK. When people ask, I say I am returning home.

Despite the fact I have lived in Australia for a long time and feel totally at home here, I have finally come to the conclusion that it will never actually be home.

But why is this? And how easy will it be to return? And will home be lying in wait for me or will it prove to be like the elusive end of a rainbow?

The answers to these and many other questions will no doubt emerge over the weeks and months ahead  and will help to determine whether this journey does indeed feel like a return home, or if the time away will result in a strange feeling of statelessness.

So, for anyone else who has even pondered the true meaning of home, or even contemplated making a return themselves, please join me on my journey and share in the weird and wonderful experiences of a returning pom.

Meanwhile, when it comes to Paul Young, I always preferred “Come back and stay” anyway – somehow a more appropriate sentiment for this blog (this clip incidentally contains some of the best stiff dancing/random horse combos you’ll see in a long time).

Until next time…


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