A Sense Of Place

A sense of place, of home, of roots, isn’t something that we’re ‘sold’ these days as being desirable. If we’re supposed to be anything, we’re supposed to be globe-trotting world citizens. Perhaps that works for some, but even travellers need a home to return to. You don’t hear much talk about a sense of place, at a local level, being important to people but I doubt that anonymity and rootlessness is a widespread human desire.

Perhaps the real sadness is that people seem to easily under-estimate the importance of a sense of place, of home, of roots, until it’s too late. Once a place’s identity is eroded, it’s almost impossible to reclaim it. If you listen to the concerns of charities and similar, as opposed to the puff of ad-men, you’ll hear that there are plenty of lonely people out there.

These were thoughts that came about after a simple circumnavigation of Reading with Jim, taking in places like Pangbourne, Theale, Three Mile Cross, Arborfield and Twyford. Perhaps not the prettiest of routes but there’s something satisfying about a ride that has a definite focus. It wouldn’t have been long ago that all those places would have been far more distinct from each other than they are now but gradually the in-fill between them erodes their differences. If you’d lived there for a long time I suspect it would be easy to pin-point what’s been lost but harder to say what’s been gained.