This weekend marks the 19th anniversary of my relocation to the West Midlands: first arriving in Stourbridge on the first weekend of January 1990.
How things have changed..!!??
Since 1990 I’ve had three children, got married (and subsequently divorced), had various jobs (from working in a UCI Cinema through stockbroking for Charles Schwab to co-authoring a report for the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia), completed a degree at the University of Wolverhampton followed by the successful completion of my PhD at the University of Birmingham. Between these I’ve had many trials and tribulations that are not the sort of thing that need to be repeated here…!!!
But two things that haven’t changed: the first that I still identify myself as a Londoner (more precisely, as someone from Bermondsey); the second, that I haven’t lost my (strong) Cockney accent.
Why is this…?
The title for this post comes from what must be one of the cheesiest of Christmas hits, Mud’s “Lonely This Christmas”. Sung in a fake Elvis baritone voice, the song was Mud’s second UK number one reaching the top of the charts in December 2004. Even cheesier, the song is also responsible for the band’s most memorable British television performance where on Top of the Pops, the song was sung to a ventriloquist’s dummy. On paper then, the song doesn’t have much going for it.
Despite this, the words to the song have had a slight resonance with me this year. With its subject matter being about not being with the ones you love at Christmas, it has repeatedly reminded me that this year will be the first that I do not wake up on Christmas morning with all of my children with me. Fortunately, I will wake up with people I love and who love me back – and I’m not dismissing this in any way whatsoever – but it won’t be all of us together.
The situation for me though is lessened when I think about my eldest daughter, Emily. Whilst she too will wake up in a house where there are others around her and who love her (including myself), it is a possibility that the ‘house…’ she will wake up in ‘…is not her home’.