What makes home, home?

I am really enjoying something new I started on twitter a few weeks ago, it started because I was looking for something on Google and came across some wonderful pictures of places in the world that although aware of in some cases, I didn’t really know anything about them. I started to tweet landscapes from around the world, majestic mountain ranges, waterfalls and the most amazing sights in nature. Then I added in the odd and beautiful, the things you wouldn’t believe unless you had proof and back up on. Just like me others love them and others are sending them on, but for me and I hope for some of those sending them onwards, it is what I am learning about all of them, I am not happy to just send out a pretty picture, I always try to add in a fact or a note to spark interest. So far my quest is easy, as believe me this planet if filled with what you least expect where you least expect to find it and even places built by man that defy all logic, the stories behind most are not just interesting, inspiring & occasionally unbelievable, they are filling in my thirst for knowledge, a new hobby has been born.

I used to go on mad hunts like that a lot, just typing something into Google then going to their images page, find a picture I liked and follow it onwards to it page and links, it is amazing how much time can pass and all you have done is enjoy yourself. My first husband and I had only been married about a year when we fell victim in some people’s eyes, to an encyclopaedia salesman. At the time, most people saw them as some sort of pariah, the person who knocked on your door and if you didn’t get the door shut by word two, they would already be sat in your living room signing you up to a lifetime of payments for books you would never read. I guess our salesman must have thought that either we were simple or mad, as we welcomed him in and listened to every word he had to say, keeping him there while we enjoyed going through the volumes he had with him. We must have been his easiest sale ever, but what he didn’t know was that the quest for knowledge was probably the one thing that we had in common with each other. Even though we were short of money and were living in Navy housing, furnished by the Navy, who aren’t best know for interior design, despite the fact we didn’t even have a washing machine or even a vacuum cleaner, we bought the full package, not just the encyclopaedias but we signed up to 10 years of more books to add to them. When those books arrived we almost fought over who was going to go through them first and I filled many a day, just pulling one out at random, letting it fall open and just reading. One of the best things about the deal we signed up to was that every year there was a yearbook which kept your collection up to date with all the important events and discoveries, books I loved just as much and I always read from cover to cover. I suppose that not many homes even have encyclopaedias these days, the internet has removed the purpose that most people see for having them at all, just as a way of answering a question, that thing that niggles and you have to know, now totally replaced by the Google. I have always sort of flinched when people asked me what my favourite book was as if I am telling the total truth, that whole collection was my favourite, yes I did read quite a lot of science fantasy, but it was our encyclopaedias that I loved the most.

It is strange thinking back all those years, no one would even think these days of living in a house without a washing machine, or of renting their black and white TV and their fridge, but that was just the way it was and that was what was described as a fully furnished home, life wasn’t as polished and fancy as it is these days. I can’t imagine what a modern teenager would make of living in such a place, but I can imagine their faces to find that there wasn’t even a phone, or to clean your carpets, which weren’t fitted, more room sized rugs in two rooms only, you used a hard brush to sweep them and took them outside occasionally to beat them. Life in the 70’s wasn’t glamorise unless you were very well off. After rent, we had £15 a week to pay all our bills, feed, cloth and enjoy ourselves on, not each but for both of us and some people also had kids to look after as well.

All those years ago I never thought I would be sitting in a home that I own and also owning everything in it. We had been here about a year when we found out that the future would include my being ill and unable to work and I did for that reason make sure that our home was complete, that it was beautiful and that it was everything that I could possibly make it. I know that some people do the opposite, they spend what money they have going to and doing all the things they want before the stage that they can’t do anything more. I guess there is no right or wrong way to live those years in between, I had no great desire for holidays, or to spend time doing mental things like bungee jumping. I didn’t even really think deeply about it, I just carried on, I lived my life just as I would if they had said there was nothing wrong, I continued and kept nest building, because that is what I have always done, striving to make our home just that bit better all the time. It was only once I was in a wheelchair that I truly put my mind into buying and making this place as beautiful as I could, with the things I wanted to see daily displayed where they would always be seen. Now I am so glad, I am so glad that I chose that route, my brain can ditch as many memories as it wants, but my health can never take those things that I can see, touch and enjoy, away from me.

Our home is special and unique to us, our lives are special and unique to us and personally, I am happy with both if you can say that with truth and happiness for your choices, then no one can ever say that you made the wrong choice. All that is different about my life, is that unlike most peoples it is in constant in fast forward, I am 53 and physically closer to 73, I am loosing the years faster than I can live them, but as long as I am doing so happily, I have lost nothing. Ultimately there is no right or wrong, once that fast forward button is pressed, you can’t change it, all the planning in the world will not change it, all that you have left in your control is your happiness, so make the most of it, regardless of how fast it runs and regardless of what those around you think you should be doing, or worse still occasionally telling you.

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 19/05/12 – To see the doctor or not?

My legs are bad this morning, I wasn’t wondering around more than usual, but I did stay up one whole half hour longer than usual, probably nothing to do with it, but sometimes it good to have a reason even if it is wrong. Not knowing why is always part of MS, once you have your diagnosis you still find yourself asking why is that hurting or what caused that cramp, not everything is the fault of MS. For the first couple of years after my diagnosis I blamed everything on MS, from a cough onwards, it was my Doctor who eventually convinced me to see that blaming MS for everything…..

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