I was walking from the stationers today clutching my new ream of A4 paper and feeling pretty happy when all of a sudden I thought 'it doesn't matter that this place Cairo doesn't seem like 'home'. This is the place where you are writing a novel. And it's a good place to write that novel. And I'm happy here.'
But where is this place home? My parents had a great house in the Oxfordshire countryside which they bought when I was 18 and sold when I was 32. I didn't even spend my childhood there and I never lived at home except during the holidays, but that place always feels like home to me. It was an old house with a good feeling about it, a welcoming cosy feeling.
Kipling claimed 'to leave home is to be on the road forever.' My Aunt told me something similar- 'when you leave that place you think of as home you never get it back again.' But what about those people who never leave- do they know what they have?
My friend Paul Gordon Chandler told me he thinks of Cairo as home now he has decided to stay here for the foreseeable future. Is home a decision then?
Of course it's many things- people mainly I imagine- but for me it is what you do that is important. Home is where you do what you most want to do- and you make the best of it.