I've been at my mum's house all week having wonderful half-term adventures in the South West, with Granny and her dog. Although when I am in Sussex I talk of going 'home' as in coming home to Somerset. You see, I am one of the lucky few at the age of nearly 40, who still has her childhood home. My mum has lived in the same bungalow at the end of the track for over 38 years. The memories are strong and are all over the house and garden.
I help myself to coffee that has been in that cupboard for all my coffee-drinking life, the cheese biscuits still inhabit an old ice cream container from the 70's, the shower dribbles the same stream of water that got me ready for a night out in my teenage years and the swing stays still, rotten and hanging from the apple tree.
It's a privilege to be able to show my own children where I galloped my pony on the common and fell off every time he bent his head violently, to eat grass. I show them where I picked blackberries, where we played '1,2,3 in' and where my rabbit used to live. We take them to my childhood beaches and recreate games I used to play. It's evocative stuff.
As I travel to Sussex on the M25 today I will wonder if I am really going home, or if I am returning to a place where I am choosing to bring up my own family. And hopefully making beautiful childhood memories to boot.
Mum's garden in the summer