Dear reader, have you ever been homesick? Have you ever felt a deep, pervading ache for the past? Have you been flung out to sea on your flimsy raft, unable to find your old, familiar land? Then join me.
Aislaby is my constant ache. A lifetime of longing for my place of belonging. Wrapped up in this tiny rural village, my happiest, most peaceful childhood memories. My loved ones. My beloved countryside. My peace.
Come and breathe this sweet air. The meadows and moors sing their damp, fragrant tunes. The heather and the gorse, the sod and the grasses. Walk with me down the lane, and watch the chimneys spill their smoke into the golden light and unspoilt skies. Hear the cattle and the horses, watch the deer at dawn, and the lone pheasant stalk across the garden. The mice, the rabbits, the owls, the teeming life.
There is no greater heaven on earth. The divine stillness of waking in the countryside to the pale yellow light, and the fresh, untainted dew sweet air.
Aislaby, you are an unbroken spell over my life, and I will spend a lifetime tumbling on these seas, longing to reach your shore again.
Somewhere, I am waking up in nanny's old bedroom. Summer morning sunlight wakes me. I open my eyes - is this real? The pale soft curtains billow in the breeze. This is my great grandparents house, and the house my father grew up in. My book is on the bedside table. My notebook and pen laid out, telling the story I almost didn't tell.
This summer morning is mine. Incandescent. It is coffee in the garden, my dressing gown trailing in the wet grass. Oh, it is home. It is Howard's End. My book. It is enchantment. It is the absolute and inexplicable blood bond of a house to a family, to a person. It is a predestined destination. Nostos.