By Rosalie Saunders

 ‘Hi Poppet, I’m home’!

Keys in mouth, whilst lugging a heavy bag of shopping in each hand, with a sigh of relief, I use a nudge of  my bahouki to shove shut the front door of my ground floor flat.

Home! Refuge! Sanctuary! My Bolt Hole! Ma Ain Hoose!

Oh, the comfort o’ getting in oot the rain intae ma ain abode, wi’ a roof o’er ma heid, heating that works, water, hot and cauld , a loo which flushes and some food in the fridge and freezer! Maybe wabbit, widowed, even  a bit worse for the wear, but still weel off.

Heaving the messages onto the kitchen table, I quickly fill the kettle for a welcome cuppa, before heading for my bedroom. The rich orange and gold Indian tapestry was chosen by me. My daughter gave me the teal coloured bedcover. Cuddly toys, lion, lamb and pterodactyl await a visit frae the Grandchildren. Looking round I note with pleasure my many books. They are my friends. Sitting down on the bed I pull off my shoes, and ease my sair feet intae a pair of comfy Crocs.

Shopping sorted, kettle boiled, and now a choice, coffee granules, cafetieres, refreshing tea, or maybe a wee drop o’ brandy?’ Purely medicinal of course’!

They say ‘Home is where the heart is’, and so it is whither the heart is bounding, broken or a wee bit worn. Over the years my heart has pulsated in many places I have called home.

Home as a child, the door aye unsnecked, gas mantles, coal fires, pig’ hot water bottles; a swing on the apple tree and a sense of security despite a faither serving in the Navy in World War II.

Home, in foreign climes; was a hoose on stilts, Amahs, and an assortment of strange foods to eat and animals to pet.

Some buildings were labelled ‘Home’ like the ‘Nurses Home’ but were more transitory places in which tae reside for a wee while and then move on. Maybe the’ Old Folks’ Home’ of my future will be like that, but I suppose each can gie some sense o’ refuge.

Some homes were in the city, traffic and theatre, culture and caring in a new life style of marriage.

A happy home was in the country: children’s laughter, cats and kittens and the family dog…

Home was where the bairns grew wings and it seems so quickly flew, briefly returning with dirty laundry and numerous strange friends.

Then there were weddings and grandchildren, illness and a death.

I’m an auld wifie now, and although my brain is still quite guid at solvin’ a cryptic crossword in the Scotsman my deafness can irritate others,  and my vision is on the wane. Looking roond the living room of my sensible ground floor flat, my present home, the ornaments and pictures and plants in the small garden remind me o’ family and friends through the years. For the moment this is mine.

Only Poppet is missing. The owner of the furry white paw, which should have been raised in greeting from his basket in the back bedroom, has recently had to be put to sleep. Home is still a refuge, but withoot ma feline companion it’s no quite the blythfae place it was.

Maybe come winter, ‘if I’m spared’, anither rescue creature will mak his or her home wi’ me, but no just yet. And whatever, wherever, ma next abode will be, hopefully ma hert will cairry in it, the memory o’ this and a’ the ither places in ma life, that I ha’e been fortunate enuch tae ca’ home, or mair likes, Hame!!