View Full Version : Home not-so-sweet home

29-06-2009, 12:30 AM
Το βρήκα πολύ διασκεδαστικό - και θυμήθηκα και διάφορα αντίστοιχα δικά μου. Είναι από το Magazine του BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8118622.stm).

The young often yearn for independence, but leaving home is not always the adventure you imagine, says Laurie Taylor in his weekly column.

I've always been singularly unmoved by songs which extol the virtues of home. It doesn't matter to me whether the singer is longing for the green, green grass of home, or a home on the range, or a home on the hill. That's quite irrelevant.

What I can't stand is the assumption that "home" is where we'd all like to be, that "home" is "where the heart is" - that "east-west, home's best".

I can trace my enduring dislike of home back to adolescence, to the time when my mother used to complain that I was treating the home as a hotel.

Instead of inducing me to be more polite and considerate in the house, more respectful of my younger sisters, less abrupt in the way I gulped down my meals, this repetitive observation only made me wish that I was indeed in a hotel rather than a home.

Imagine living in a place where your hot meals and clean clothes were delivered to you without an accompanying homily on your lack of gratitude. Imagine living in a place which you could leave and return to at any time you wished. A place where beds made themselves, a place totally free from younger sisters. I might have been less discontented if I hadn't been big friends at the time with Pete Roberts, who had three brothers in the merchant navy and an elder sister called Dorothy who was in my mother's phrase, "running wild".

Pete never stopped talking about how his brothers had walked out of the family house as soon as they were old enough "to get a ship", and how they now spent their time sailing backwards and forwards between the most exciting places in the world.

But it was still a surprise when Pete made his momentous suggestion. It was, I remember, a warm evening in early June and we'd both abandoned our A-level revision to race our bikes through Sniggery Woods.

What we'd overlooked was the impossibility of setting up a tent on a beach, no sooner was the canvas erected than the pegs leaped out of the soft sand as though fired from a rifle.

As we both leaned breathless against the no-cycling sign on the edge of the pathway, Pete turned to me and declared that he could stand home no longer. He couldn't stand the cushions and the curtains. He hated the carpets and the rugs and the mats. Detested the cupboards and the drawers and the shelves.

And because of his sister Dorothy, he now particularly loathed the comfortable beds. Dorothy, it seems, had read him a wonderful poem about being as free as a gypsy, in which a noble lady had run away from a palace. Pete still remembered the words with which the lady had rejected the pleas to return home:

"What care I for your goose-feather bed
With the sheet turned down so bravely. O!
For tonight I shall sleep in a cold open field
Along with the raggle taggle gypsies, O!"

Sodden plimsolls

"So," said Pete. "Why don't we do it? What are we waiting for?" "Do what?" I said. "Leave home," said Pete. "Leave home? Go to a hotel?" I said naming the only alternative to home I'd so far encountered.

"No, no," said Pete. "I've got it all fixed, I have a tent. We'll take it down to Formby beach. Set it up there, sleep there every night, cook meals on a gas thing. Jump up in the morning and swim in the sea before we cycle to school."

We lasted one whole week. What we'd overlooked was the impossibility of setting up a tent on a beach, no sooner was the canvas erected than the pegs leaped out of the soft sand as though fired from a rifle. We had no alternative but to spend the night in our sleeping bags, with the tent draped across our bodies like a counterpane.

And then something went wrong with the pressure in our cooking device so we had to eat cold baked beans and cold cream of tomato soup. And then the two girls who had promised to come and see us when they heard about the adventure failed to show up.

And then our idea of washing ourselves in the sea had to be abandoned when we discovered after our first early morning swim that we were both heavily stained with the oil that crested the waves in that part of the Mersey estuary.

I might have just about coped with the embarrassment of returning home early if only my youngest sister hadn't spotted me sneaking up the stairs to my room. Hadn't spotted the oil-stained jeans and ripped, dirty shirt and the unkempt hair and the thin stream of sand still gushing from my sodden plimsolls.

"Mum, mum," she shouted. "Come quickly, come quickly. On our stairs - it's Worzel Gummidge (http://www.google.gr/search?q=Worzel+Gummidge&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:el:official&client=firefox-a)!"