Monday, 25 April 2011

Sturminster Newton

When young, it’s always your parents who have to drive you to a friend’s house. When I lived in Poland five years ago, I remember my mum driving through blizzards just so I could play with my friend on the other side of Warsaw. When I got older, she would still pick me up from the shopping mall on a Saturday after going bowling, or a skate park near where we lived. I suppose this was a consequence of living in a foreign capital. Poland joined the European Union in 2004, so not only was I a lazy student who never learnt Polish, most young people already spoke English out there. I never bothered to understand maps, or read signs.

Today, the roles were reversed. I was enlisted by mum to drive her south to Sturminster Newton in Dorset. Once home to the famous author, Thomas Hardy, it now accommodates my godmother and for the next couple of days, my mum. Unlike Hardy, who only bothered me during my English Literature exams, I still have to see my godmother every now and then. But joking apart, I do enjoy it. We caught up and for some reason spoke about the AV vote, which by the way is a resounding yes from me.

During the journey several things came to mind. Firstly, and at risk of sounding road-mad here, I’d never driven out of Salisbury on that specific road before. The A354 is a road that travels through Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset and all the tiny villages in between. I’ll always regard Salisbury as my hometown, but it seems strange that I’ve never left it in that direction. Of course, when I had to be careful on directions when I drove back on my own, but small changes and revelations do add colour to what could be considered as a routine journey. How many times in life are we prepared to take different routes or options and try something different?

One of the small villages we passed was Shillingstone. Like Sturminster Newton, it’s in the Blackmore Vale area or Dorset, but I also have family there – or more fittingly had. Unbeknownst to me, it was actually the village I lived in for two weeks after being born. It seemed strange how a place I have no recollection of had a substantial impact on my life. Mum told me of how she took me throughout the village on a pram, although I’ve upgraded to a Renault Clio now.

But it reminded me of my sister and my nephew and put everything into perspective. There I was thirty minutes before talking about the voting referendum, whereas at home Steph was experiencing exactly what my own mum felt nineteen years ago. For all this talk about trying new routes in life, the main things we cherish will always stay the same – whether it’s simply seeing my godmother, or maternal love itself. 

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