I can’t remember when I first became fixated on Hebden Bridge as my final resting place, a town to call “home” when I finally find myself alone.
Does everyone have a place like this to dream about? A mythical life-destination where the housing is unpretentious, where the people are welcoming, where “alternative” is the norm?
For a long time I thought my calling was to “a croft on Skye”. So that’s where FL and I went to be married. His people were from there. But more and more, the old crofts are being turned into holiday homes rather than places where you might eke out a living from the land and the work of your hands.
Maybe it is a romantic illusion, but I still think I could start again from nothing in Hebden Bridge.
Live a creative life.
The Girl and I met so many kind and friendly people. Anyone who knows me in real life will be astonished to hear that I struck up conversations with complete strangers everywhere we went.
My notebook is overflowing with character sketches, the beginnings of a hundred stories.
All in the space of three days.
So rather than getting it out of my system, this trip has confirmed what I suspected: this is the place where I see myself “five years from now”, as the interview answer goes.
But not yet.
I am back at the farm now. I have responsibilities. I have my darling FL.
We navigated the funeral, the family dissonances and the journeys.
My joke that I should have tied a label to FL’s coat: “Please look after this bear, thank you” was not as absurd as it seemed. He was literally lost without me, which makes me very very sad. He told me that there was a point when he stood at the wrong end of a train platform calling for help, because he had run out of energy to get himself back to where he should have been.
But somehow we both made it home to the farm, safe.
I fear we may be heading into a dark tunnel, but we are travelling together. That’s what matters right now.