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  • Back home again, settled in my basement computer den, listening to the utterly sublime Opus 20 string quartets of Franz Joseph Haydn - music as great as any written by anyone.

    These endlessly revealing works, infused with the emotionalism of the Sturm und Drang artistic movement, seem an ideal soundtrack to my mood.

    For I feel that strange bittersweetness that overcomes me when flickers of my past life collide with my current.
  • I always feel this way after returning from holiday to the land of my birth, childhood and early adulthood.

    This time, though, the emotions have been tempered yet further by time and distance.

    The England I visited is not my England.

    My England is gone.
  • Until now, I could always rely on at least the landscape to provide me with a hold onto the past.

    But with all my family now moved away from Guildford and its surroundings, a visit to them takes me instead to Bristol.

    A place I lived in for a year during my first marriage.

    A very beautiful city, at least in part.

    But not home.
  • For home remains the land I grew up in.

    The North Downs, the Chantries and Pewley Hill.

    The River Wey and the canals around it.

    Guildford High Street and the castle grounds I walked through every day on my way home from school.

    East Shalford Lane and "The Seahorse".
  • I suppose I could have made an effort to return there.

    Perhaps I might have recaptured some fleeting sense of connection.

    Or perhaps not.

    The England of my youth is gone.

    An exercise in nostalgia it would be, and do I want that anymore?
  • I don't know.

    Much of my early life in Missouri was riven by a deep homesickness.

    Almost overwhelming at times.

    But that has gone as I came to know and love this land.

    The city of Saint Louis, so underrated and so full of hidden treasures

    The beautiful Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers.
  • I was glad to come home.
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