Home is somewhere you take with you wherever you go. I have several homes: Joe and the cats and our friends; my parents and my brother; Joe’s family; Nana and Grandma’s houses. And a beautiful place in Hathersage.
Sometimes, something you think will be there forever isn’t, any more. Years ago, in a different life, I spent a fair amount of time at the childhood home of good friends. It became home to everyone who visited, and I feel extremely privileged to have been invited and welcomed. So here is what I think of that place.
Harper Lees is home.
Whether you’re a new friend or an old friend, or a complete stranger, you are welcomed at the door and enveloped in love.
It’s a place of friendship and healing; where, no matter how long it’s been, people you love turn up from all over the place and it’s like no time has passed at all.
I often wander there in my dreams; my memories; and recall some of the happiest times of my life. Steaming tea and warm conversation on the farmhouse table; the photographs on the pinboard. The jokes and the confidences shared. The hugs, always there when you needed one. The reindeer rope swing, the cat on the high beams, the Aga and the warmth of the kitchen. The damp bonfires, kick-started by PC and a highly-strung can of petrol, and the WHOOMF that followed. Mulled wine, mud, and laughter everywhere. Hats and scarves, shorts and sandals. The stone circle and the ramblers.
And, later, the next generation. Children laughing.
It’s a house – a home – that has seen dozens of children grow up laughing, and has seen dozens of adults join in.
I have never known somewhere so welcoming and warm and safe. Somewhere that oozes memories; and the memories that aren’t yours, feel like yours anyway. Because everyone there belongs there, even if they only just arrived.
At Harper Lees, sorrow is changed to joy, and sadness to Peace.
Christopher and Gillie, Richard and Anna, thank you so very much for sharing your home and your lives and your love with me. And thank you to all my old friends – my family – for the good times and the love and the laughs and the singed eyebrows.
Sentimental words don’t really do this justice. Perhaps it’s enough to say that I love you all. And I know that you’ll take the essence of Harper Lees to your new home and build a new sanctuary.
Harper Lees is home, and it always will be.