View of Bradford from my bedroom window, old badge found in a charity shop in Newcastle by a friend, and badge made by a friend, Bradford artist Jo Billingsley
Here are some words I scribbled in my scrapbook for this project a wee while ago:
What does it mean: ‘to belong’…?
I belonged in you, Bradford, for a while. My heart sang with the changing of the buildings’ coats to that blackened sand, upon the smell of murky fresh air enveloping me as I descended the train that had held me hostage in space devoid of all meaning; a big, expansive grey green question-mark. No home of mine, no place I knew.
But arriving to you, Bradford, it always felt like getting into bed after a long day, tired and placeless but oh, so content. I was younger, things were in place – family, boyfriend, friends, fresh memories and nights out at the 1 in 12 in the holidays; one of my many ‘homes’ in the city. I owned a share in all these places, my participation guaranteed my comfort there.
Do you know, now, I actually I feel I belong wherever I have dear friends. I feel at home in Leicester – because of my big ol’ grown up turrent-house, but also the knowledge of the number of people to share and explore the city with.
Yes, none local.
This does make a difference. I am effectively a long-term tourist, it shifts your spheres of participation, only spending time with other PhD students. The odd night at pottery, though it is only through the repeated and regular rhythm of returning to these that we establish networks, begin to sprout roots.