I grew up in and around Oxford but not in the house my parents now live in. This makes visiting them a weird mixture of very deeply held childhood memories (the comfy chair that used to belong to Aunty Ethel, the silver statue, the bag of knitting tucked out of sight, the smell of their washing powder, bath towels with my sister's nametapes sewn on them) but also new views and sounds (they have Wi-Fi, iPod docks, honey from Marrakesh and double glazing).
There have been many small lovelinesses this weekend. Here is my list of some of them.
- swapping jams with Mum (my blackcurrant for her apricot and her plum)
- drinking a delicious gin & tonic made by Dad (he taught me how to make them - a very important piece of my education)
- watching O play with the same dolls' house I played with at her age
- long walks along the canal towpath and through North Oxford to playground and pub
- looking at all the many, many photos of the family that are in every room of the house
- playing peepo with my one year old nephew, who came over for a visit
- making Mum & Dad a cup of tea
But I find that the strangest part of going to stay with my parents as an adult, is realising that when I come back to my own house at the end of the weekend, that is when I feel like I am coming home.