My mother remarked last week when she read my blog on the Borders Book Festival that she had never know anyone to love where they lived as much as I did.
I was a bit taken a back at first thinking that maybe I was a bit too enthusiastic about where I live. My next conclusion was well I do love living here and life is too short not to love where you live.
But there is more to it than that. The more I thought about it I realised that I do fall in love with places very quickly and with great enthusiasm and have done so all my life. My life has been full of places where I have been too and loved and equally places where I have been to and hated. I am the type of person who doesn’t feel lightly. I either like something or I don’t. If I like something I am 100% passionate about it. If I don’t then I tend to really dislike it. Very rarely am I neutral about places.
So my first love was Glasgow this remains a passion of mine today. It’s my home town, where I come from and it makes me laugh when I am in it. Plus I have a great pride in its achievements. Then my next love was the West Coast of Scotland and the Islands particularly Arran. That too has never left me I love the West Coast to this day and still hold a special place in my heart for Arran. I grew up there in many ways it’s where on holiday I was allowed to walk the dog on my own, dreamt of being a writer in a cottage in Lochranza, came for romantic breaks with my now husband and was proposed to. (and said yes).
My next passion was Italy and the discovery of Italian food. Though Scottish through and through I have never been a fan of plain Scottish cooking and used to be a nightmare for my parents when we were eating out. I hated most things offered in Scottish restaurants at the time. Then they took me to Elba an Island off Pisa and I fell in love with the cooking and the revelation that mince cooked with tomatoes was a whole different ball game. Not been back to Italy since but my love of that style of cooking has stayed with me. My number one city to go to if I had a choice is Rome. Hopefully I will go there one day though my husband says he is afraid I would go there and then that would be it. We would never leave.
My next passion which stayed with me for a number of years was France. I again loved the food, culture, language and the weather. I used to cry my eyes out as the boat left Le Havre on the way back to the UK. And I thought and still do that Paris is the most magical city. Interspersed in this love affair with France. We went to the USA and Canada on holiday. I was very excited to go to the States less so about Canada but we had relatives there. I came back still with a passion for one. But guess what it was Canada. USA I could have taken or left but I just loved Canada. So much so that my mum for a while thought I might emigrate there. It was a possibility but I met my husband at University and that was it. But I still have a soft spot for Canada and can’t wait to show it to my kids in the future.
I went to Edinburgh for University and for a long while felt torn between the two main cities in Scotland. I lived in Edinburgh for 13 years and loved the years at University and also living in Morningside. Life in suburbia and finding the Scottish Borders made me for a couple of years downgrade Edinburgh to just somewhere that I had lived. These days though I am rarely there. However when I am I get glimpses of why I fell in love with it in my teens and feel honoured to have lived there.
But my mum is right the Scottish Borders for the past 13 years has owned my heart. As a west coaster I never thought that I would end up living in the east and certainly never thought I would live here. Loving not just this area but Cumbria and Northumbria as well. Though I was intrigued to find when looking at my grandfather’s name on my mother’s side that we have history in this part of the world. So maybe I have just come home.
I do love living here. As much as I loved growing up in Glasgow I always wanted to live in the country and I know there are many rural areas but this one for me suits us. My husband and I first drove through St Boswells in 1999 on our way to a romantic weekend. We both remarked what a pretty little village it was and how much we liked it. So no real surprise that when we came down here to stay for the millennium celebrations we came to just outside St Boswells and both of us felt it was the place for us. We love the God made stuff stunning scenery with the Eildons and the River Tweed. But we also like the community and culture here too.
This is not to say though that I am now immune from falling in love with other places. Until a few years ago we went to Spain on holiday every year and loved it again with my usual passion. We have been to many parts of Spain. But to date my favourites are Mahon in Menorca and the area around Cadiz especially the coastline and the city itself.
Would we move there? I don’t know is the honest answer pre – recession I would have said yes without a doubt. Now I am not so sure if basically we can afford to do so. And I never wanted to do so permanently. But I still hold on to a dream that we could do it for a year. Become fluent in the language and immerse ourselves in a different culture for a year.
I would though always want a base in Scotland and unless anything changes radically would like that base to be where I am now as I do love it as you might have gathered. So mum as ever you are right about your daughter. I do love where I live and do write about this often. I have a history of this which is why my mum correctly guessed my career when I was in Senior 4 showing a French girl round Scotland on a school exchange. I love Scotland and selling Scotland and the particular areas of it I know best especially the little corner that I live in now.
Though confess I am not always bright and cheerful about where I live. I love colour wearing it and seeing it. I also love the sun. So Scottish summer’s like this can get me down and confess this week I have been feeling less than cheerful about the grey and the rain. And at times it can really get me down if there are weeks of grey with little sunshine. Am I a fair weather supporter of where I live then? Well I confess there are days I can be when like yesterday the rain is pouring down with no let down and day could be night and vice versa. But in the main no if a place gets my heart it gets my heart for keeps. And the Scottish Borders is right in the centre of my heart just now with a few destinations leading off from it. As I said at the beginning we have only one life to live so we might as well live it where we want to be. But God could you send us sun so I could love it just a little bit more?