I grew up an only child in Kent and our little family of three has always been very close. I've always enjoyed going home, which I still consider home even though I now have one of my own. We chat about food and the garden, we share recipes, we gossip about the neighbours and work, we discuss politics watching BBC News 24, we watch old 70s sitcoms like Terry & June and Love Thy Neighbour on DVD, and we moan about each other too. My mum cooks me all my old favourites - this weekend it was cauliflower curry and minced beef and mixed vegetable curry. It's great seeing them.
Going home also provides me the opportunity to step outside my usual lifestyle and slow down - to get off the teeter-totter of my must-do and want-to-do lists and to simply sit and be. It's always at my parents' home that I fully understand this old Zen koan:
"Sitting quietly, doing nothing,It was to home I returned for long spells when I needed respite from cancer treatment, it was to home I returned when I was going through a particularly bad heartbreak, it was to home I returned when I wanted to finish writing a novel.
and the grass grows by itself."
And I go home to remember who I used to be - as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult just starting out with all my hopes and dreams and preconceptions of life. For my mother refuses to clean out my bedroom - though we moved innumerable times growing up, all my books and music and notebooks are still there bearing witness to my evolving passions through time.
Engineering works on the tracks meant I spent half my journey back to London today on a coach. M.I.A. and Gwen and Madonna kept me company on my iPod coming back just as the Chilli Peppers and Bowie had kept me entertained on my journey there yesterday. And then the coach turned a corner and there was the Gherkin and Canary Wharf and all those cranes glinting in the soft, dusky sunshine and M rang to say he was waiting to meet me at Liverpool Street Station having finished his day at the office, and my heart sang.
M made steak with frites and a tomato salad again for dinner and I'm now going to eat fresh peaches and drink Sparrow's Tongue green tea while M continues to work and I settle in with a novel.
Sad to have left them; glad to be back with him.