Saturday 14 May 2011

It's What Elephants Do

I am Scottish, although I've been living somewhere else, as a foreigner, for the last 21 years. I visited Scotland a few weeks ago, and I felt something strange. I knew what it was then, and I've been thinking about it since I got back.

I am more of a foreigner in Scotland than I am over here.

This might sound cute, but it's not. I've made humorous asides through the years about feeling more at ease in my adopted country than I do at 'home' (for me, a loaded word if ever there was one). When I visit Scotland I'm no more than a tourist, ha, ha! But I've reached a point where I am starting to miss it. I won't call it homesickness; I'll leave that to teenagers on their first trip away from mum 'n' dad and to those people who find some kind of solace as they wallow in nostalgia. I am too much of a realist to bask in the warm aroma of what it used to be like, when we was fab. No, I'm not dwelling on the past. I'm trying to get a handle on what happens next.

I lost count of the number of times these things had my brain reeling: Council Tax; Chip and Pin; Cashback; Credit Rating; Self-Service Petrol Stations; Do You Want A Hand Packing That; The DWP; The One Stop Shop; Too many Druggies, Single Mothers and Young Poles In The Neighbouthood; Aye, They're Foreign And They Come Over Here, Claim Everything And Send It Back. The list could go on. When everything is collated it turns into a pile of stuff that would make for a very boring conversation indeed. And who's got the time to sit down with the likes of me to take me through it? Maybe I'm just too slow. Cashback was explained to me three times, and I still don't get it.

Maybe I'm just getting old.

All the more reason to go back.


  1. My wife talks in similar terms about the States but I don't think she's anywhere near ready to move back there. I do get the nostalgia thing though. Although I've lived all my life in Scotland I have moved about a bit and there are times I'd like to go back to where I was brought up. I did a virtual tour c/o Google Maps recently and that put that need to bed for the moment.

  2. I left Romford (yes, that one, in Essex) over twenty-five years ago and nowhere smells as much as home as good old stinky Romford market. It's the concrete, car fumes and old cabbage.
    Home seems so hard-wired for certain people, I think it must be a gene. Recessive in some, I know, but I'm not one of them.