Going Back and Pressing Buttons

I spent most of Saturday morning helping to organise a friend’s childs birthday party and most of Saturday afternoon listening to 28 children giggle and shriek while they enjoyed the fruits of our labours. Most of Saturday evening slumped on a sofa with a large gin laughing over the days events.


Noo ate ice cream twice daily and visited favourite parks, he went to the best birthday party he’d been to in ages with the funniest magician. Played with friends from the moment he woke up until bed time without a moments falling out and there was even a kitten thrown in for good measure.

This weekend we went back to the North. I did wonder as we drove up the M1 Friday evening if we were putting our head into the lion’s mouth. Before I moved I worried, of course, how Noo might cope. People told me; children are resilient and adaptable. He has been, taking it all in his stride. Actually, I think moving has been good for his confidence. He moved, he made new friends, he fitted in to a new class and it was all OK. He hasn’t looked back and here was I driving him back to the North and giving him a lovely big slice of his old life, with smarties on the top.

It was a fantastic weekend, we stayed with good friends and I did lots of catching up. I feel as if I didn’t stop talking between arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday, I did sleep so there must have been gaps in my constant chatter, and I do love to talk.

As a child, teachers often complained about my day dreaming, I’d disappear into my own internal world. I still have dreams but essentially, I think , I am sometimes who is less likely to think things over more someone who likes to talk things over. Talking stretches my ideas and my mind.

I love my new city but I have fewer people to talk to. I’ve been forced by circumstances to think more.

Do I miss having people to talk to? When I lived in London I could have spent a months walking up and down Oxford Street and not found anyone vaguely familiar. In years of travelling on the tube I ‘bumped’ into someone I knew I think three times. It’s a big city but it can feel lonely. That’s London. I am a Londoner and I don’t mind my own company and I don’t want to talk to people I don’t know on the tube, it’s just nice to occasionally see someone I do.

I moved North for a sense of community and it had that, it was a place where sometimes it was hard to avoid people I knew. Familiar people seemed to be everywhere. Even if they aren’t familiar they still call you “love”. Total strangers make conversation on the bus.

In moving we have chosen to start again and build from scratch that sense of familiar in a place. Being part of a community where the faces are friendly and known. I expected that and for me, the bonus of being here is that we spend more time as a family of three, doing things together. We are happy and we do feel settled. I don’t miss having people to talk as much as I thought I might.

Getting to know people and a place takes time and sometimes it would be nice to press a button and fast forward to a point when all the things I’d like for our life here are all nicely lined up, but there is no fast forward mechanism on life. You just have to find your direction and aim for it, and eventually you get there.

This weekend the sun shone and having spent much of the last three months in the company of two other people, it was a little strange to find us all in different directions. Noo fell into games with friends as if he’d never been away, as did I. Because the beauty of really good friends is, you don’t have to see them everyday or every week. Good friends are the type that you just pick off where you left off. The gap of time doesn’t matter.

I think Noo has more of an affection for his old city that I do, in the end I’d fallen out of love with it and this weekend proved that hasn’t changed. A long weekend was good amount of time and I felt no pang of regret in driving back.

Our home is in the South now (South West actually). I’m happy to be back here and so is Noo. His home is where we are, his toys and his familiar things. A bit of his heart will probably always be in the North, but once again he jus took it all in his stride; happy to be in the moment and it is good to be in the moment because there isn’t a rewind or fast forward button. This weekend was about pressing pause and taking it all in for a moment or two.



  1. Molly

    You are so wise. I moved out to this village knowing no one and, gradually, built up a small community around me. Now, as we plan to move to a totally new area yet again, I remind myself that I’m sociable and chatty, like to meet new people, but that if I don’t then I still have my friends scattered around in the other various places I’ve lived. And you’re right, you can go months not seeing friends, but the true ones are that doesn’t matter.

  2. Older Mum (@Older_Mum)

    Lovely post. I am really glad for you, that you have no regrets, that you are now in your best place for your life together. Some times a trip like the one you made can really seal that you absolutely made the right decision – like the icing on the cake. Also fab that Noo is setting so well…. X.

  3. Midlife Singlemum

    I agree with Older Mum – going back is the real test and you have to do it because it’s the only way to know. Well done on passing with flying colours.

  4. HonestMum

    Sounds like a perfect weekend and I think it’s wonderful you guys are so adaptable, we’ve moved lots and found ourselves back where (I) started and are happier than ever…life is funny like that. I know for me, I can go abroad and hotels feels like home-all that matters is your little family/love and money for good fish and chips!

  5. tiddlyompompom

    As a born and bred bristolian I am very glad you are feeling at home in my home city. It’s a beautiful place, and the people are very friendly. Admittedly not in the same way as people are up north but still.
    And you’re right, home is where the heart is x

  6. Lindy

    Fab post Gemma. As an expat I agree that home is people not a location and after many many moons living away from “home” I enjoy the time alone and the headspace it gives me. Whenever I visit family I’m on edge at all the people I know and all the engaging I have to do with them. Hmmm that sounds bad doesn’t it?!?!

  7. Rachel

    Great post and as a side what is the Hendrick’s like? I am dying to try it! It’s great you feel happy in Brizzle. We have been up to London once since our big move although didn’t see friends as it was a hospital appt. I really hated being back there and couldn’t wait to leave again. Felt so comforting to be driving home!! God knows what I will think of it all being back up next month for BM. You are so right about proper friends. Time doesn’t matter. In some ways now I commu I ate more with those specials than I did before I moved!

    1. helloitsgemma

      That’s true it does make special friends more special.
      Henricks has a lovely cucumber-ish taste. Expensive but worth it.
      BM is a bit like being at a festival, you are in planet BM, life outside doesn’t count. see you there!

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