Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Home is… something far too many people don't have.

Haven't got the pictures on the walls yet tho...

"Yes," said a friend of mine, when I showed her the newly decorated back bedroom and said how happy I was sorting it out and putting everything back in it, "Staying at home and putting a child's room back in order is nice, but I'd rather go out for cocktails." And she did. 

I think I would rather stay in and sort out Middle One's bedroom, I thought. 


No really, I would. 

Wow. That is strange. 

Or is it?

(This is me talking to myself by the way).

I had been spending the late sunny afternoon indoors putting Middle One's room back together, after several weeks of building work in there, when she popped over to have a pre-cocktails drink in the garden. 

The drink was lovely. It was lovely to see her. It is always lovely to see friends, and to natter, and to go out. But I also love to stay in. Love it.

There has been damp in that top back bedroom, and a ceiling that looked in danger of caving in, and so we had the chimney stack taken off the roof and tiles mended up there, and the chimney breast removed inside, which makes an already good-sized room seem huge, and then a new window put in… and some new plastering... and while we were at it spot lights in the ceiling... and lights under the shelves for the desk … To be honest it all got a little out of hand but it's all finished now. Hooray.

So I was in heaven sorting it all out, emptying the boxes filled with his things and putting them back on the newly painted shelves. There is nothing I like more than arranging things on a shelf. Bliss. In fact all homemaking is a joy to me. I love it. Renovating, decorating, organising, styling, tidying, chucking things out, planning, painting, even putting flowers in a vase and unpacking the shopping onto the pantry shelves gives me immense satisfaction (but this is because I have a new pantry/kitchen, which I am in love with). Some people love their homes, love homemaking in all its shapes and sizes, and some people don't so much. 

And this got me thinking about what a home is, just bricks and mortar at the end of the day, of course, but also a construct: a place both physical and psychological within whose walls - that we imbue with colour, that we plaster with pictures and shelves and 'things' - we stamp our identity and make a little world of our own. 

I love creating that world, and I love being in it. Which then got me thinking about people who are less fortunate, who don't have homes to homemake in… 

Here are a few shocking statistics.

* 112,070 people declared themselves homeless in England last year - a 26% increase in four years

* Over the same period there has been a 75% increase in people sleeping rough in London taking the number to 6,437 for 2013- 14

* The estimate is that across England 2,414 people slept rough on any one night last year

* There are currently fewer than 40,000 hostel beds in England 

* The number of 16 to 24 year-olds sleeping rough in London has more than doubled in the last three years 

* 2,090 families with children are living in bed and breakfast accommodation (2013), an increase of 8% on 2012 figures 

* With more than a third of those living in B&Bs beyond the legal limit of 6 weeks

My heart goes out to those people, and to all people across the world who find themselves displaced or homeless through natural disaster, or war, or poverty. Because home is such a joy, truly where the heart is, as the cliche goes, and where family happens. And that is everything. At least to me.

And now I'm off out for cocktails. (Only kidding, I'm going to put a wash on actually).

Love E x

Ok, so he chose the colours...

Stats from Jon Henley, The Guardian, 25th June 2014



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