Last month The Long Way Home celebrated its first anniversary and I decided to mark the occasion by visiting my very first postcode. Ironically, this is one of the few places of which I have no memory. For reasons beyond my control at the age of two, I left central London for a life first in France, then Wales. Despite my recall now being fully dependent on stories and photos, I still consider myself extremely lucky, because my initial experience of this planet was the City of Westminster.
Since its creation in 1965, this London borough has homed some of the globe’s most famous tourist attractions. From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace, a wander around Westminster is humbling for its visitors. However for me, it holds something closer than landmarks. I flick through family albums of winter mornings feeding the ducks in Hyde Park and pauses at Speaker’s Corner. The Victoria pub, where my parents first met (and without which I probably wouldn’t be here at all!) is just around the corner. St Mary’s Hospital where I was born roughly a month before a very well known baby prince, is a short stroll away towards Paddington Station.
The intransience of this city means that little has changed in the thirty years that I’ve been around. I enjoy the feeling as I walk along the wide, tree-lined avenues, that we are nothing more than a blip on this land’s radar. I’ve changed slightly since the winter of 1984, but the view has stayed more or less the same…
It’s an important part of my blog’s message that home doesn’t have to be where you were born, but now my theory falls short: I’ve rarely found myself in this part of the world since 1985 and in spite of this I feel a connection; a sense of the familiar. Will Westminster always be my first home?