In 1982, when I was 11 months old my parents bought a large old house in South Newton, Wiltshire. My father was a nurse and he and my mother had
decided to turn the old house into a nursing home for the elderly. It started with one bed for an old man called Ted, he had a pet rabbit.
We, my parents, my older sister and I, moved into a small two bedroom flat at the top of the building. Over the years it filled with old people.
It was like having 20 extra grandparents. The house was full, to a child at least, of secret passage ways, hidden dens and potential forts.
It felt like one giant climbing frame.
There was a lot of old age, obviously, though I never felt out of place. And there was death, obvious too I suppose, but it was never something
I was aware of. I was more interested in climbing to the top of the conker tree that towered over the home than with what was under the white sheets.
For 3 years we lived there. In 1985 my father built a small bungalow next door for us to move into, but up until I moved away from there when
I was a teenager, the old building continued to be where I climbed and played, and imagined all the things I did as a child.
I remember that we called it ‘the home’ when we had moved out, as it was not our home anymore.
I suppose before that it would just have been ‘home’.