The Holiday – The Road Home

We counted off the junctions to home. There is a point on a familiar road where the car seems to embrace remembered contours. The engine hums a soothing pulsating home-coming. Seems to pull with new determination. Our magnetic North become home.

Motorway parallel with the hills and the West Coast train line.

Gretna, Ecclefechan, Dumfries, Moffat, Beattoc Summit, Drumlanrig, Abington, Douglas, Lanark…

The old water tower appears on the horizon. The church steeple rising above the toothy silhouette of a hill town splayed against a greying sky. Soon we are crossing the elegantly curving, 5 arch, single-track Hyndford Bridge. 1773 carved into its sandstone. Crossing the Clyde at the site of an ancient Ford – the old Ferry Toll House facing up towards Lanark, now blind, shuttered, unused.

Hyndford Bridge

The children are noisy at the sight of the broken racetrack. We are HOME we are home we are HOME…

And I feel that surge of love that HOME releases. Excitement. Strange excitement to be triggered by such a homely familiar, a tugging reminder of the ties that bind – surely natural when given thought now.

Ana begins to sing about Jaspar and Stan, the ginger and white family moggies.

Jamie begins to wonder about his football. Have Evan and Lewis used it and ruined it or lost it amongst the chaos of brambles in the garden…

The car gathers momentum as it swerves down the hill and swoops the 325 degree bend into New Lanark. The village suddenly unfolds. Tinto hill, Hill of Fire, the dense forestry – all framing the perfect sandstone Georgian surprise that is home.

View from the end of my house – need to get rid of that  post!

You turn off the engine after driving long hours in a car and there is instant quiet. Bones fall silent. Relieved. Free from the gentle but omnipresent, humming vibration of engine and road. The kids don’t notice that of course. They are unbuckled and out. Jumping from the rear and tumbling and squalling onto the cobbles and falling through the front door. 

Robert and I look at one another. A look that says Robert is unpacking… I am going to the supermarket… What kind of mess will we find in there?

And then there is Evan. lumbering to the door. Grinning. Awwww Mummm thank God you’re back… I’m starving…

He is pressed into unpacking service. The first bags just being lifted from the boot when we hear a bellow from the house –

Muuuuuuuummmm….Daaaaaddddddd….Theres a pongy smell in here…..
Yeuchhhhhhh…its STINKING….. 

11 thoughts on “The Holiday – The Road Home

  1. Marvellous! Such a beautifully written, poetic description of your homecoming and then the teenage reality! ROFL!

    The name of New Lanark always brings to mind Robert Owen whom we claim as a local hero, as he was born in Mid-wales about 12 miles from where we live.

  2. I used to take that West Coast train up to Scotland every summer for holidays with the family…just reciting those names brings back the memory of it…the steam engine I think double headed for Beattoc…

    When in France it was thew towers of the chateau at Saumur that seemed to give new energy at the end of a long drive…nearly home…

    But there were no children to draw attention to things I'd rather not know about on arrival!

    What a super post!

  3. Your stories are like the stories used to be on the old steam radio of my youth where you just get to an exciting part when……..

    Love your stories!!

  4. Perpetua – It is a true privilege to live in this village. I've been here for 14 yrs now. We learn about Owen when at school – and given my admiration for some of his enlightened words it seems just right to be here now. What a lovely coincidence that you know of him – I am always a bit sad when people don't seem to know anything about this place, the education and housing or its early co-operative movement. Thank you for your comments on the post – I do so enjoy words/language!

  5. Fly – thank you! I had no idea (why should I!) that you had connections to Scotland – the West Coast is (mostly) a stunning route. You have made me think – about what and where we call “home”. I have always feared (a little) moving away from this country. Because it isn't just family that holds you – the place names have their own poetry which binds too. I feel “at home” here. The landscape is one that seems to reflect what is inside (if that makes sense) – but your comment points to “home” being much wider and bigger than that…

  6. GB – haha – yes I enjoy this cliff-hanger teasing of the reader. Though of course its mostly cos due to time restraints I need to stop somewhere!

    SP – the end is nigh!! All will be revealed…lol

  7. You captured coming home beautifully, and I love the adolescent down to earthness at the end. Really enjoyed that – thanks.

    I feel the same about 2 places – here where I live and where my mum lives, and, funnily enough now I think about it, Mumbles too where my mum was born and grew up.

  8. This was such a beautifully-written and lyrical piece. I can feel your love for your home and its surroundings (which, I must say, are breathtaking).

    Eagerly looking forward to hearing the Story Of The Pong…!

  9. Strong and true piece of writing la mujer libre. Loved it.

    Love the comic undercutting of the last lines too.

    Need light and shade. Have to mention Charles Dickens here as we have just celebrated 200 years since his birth and he was the master of light and shade. x

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