Hambledon (home is…)


Contrary to what the title seems to suggest, home is not Hambledon. It is a good 40 miles further north, in the next county up. But Hambledon, as defined by the immortal geniuses (or genii) of Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, defines one of those Home feelings:

Hambledon (n.)
The sound of a single-engined aircraft flying by, heard while lying in a summer field in England, which somehow concentrates the silence and sense of space and timelessness and leaves one with the feeling of something or other.

“The Deeper Meaning of Liff” by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd

This is a book I thoroughly recommend, especially if you’re one for dipping into a book rather than extended periods of reading (or you just don’t have the time.) It’s also for you if you have an appreciation of how rich the English language is (or can be) but you like to poke a bit of fun at it sometimes. This is English humour at its best: understated, but never reaching its sell-by date.

But there’s also something about the above description which I encountered very suddenly the other day, lying on my back in the garden, reading (back at home in England, for an all-too-short weekend and another lovely wedding.) It might have been because I was lying on my back, on the not-too-scorched grass, in the sun, and it wasn’t the sound of a single-engine plane, but the house martins playing above me that gave me that sense of whatever it is (a.k.a. something or other.) I think that’s what home is (or what defines it,) an unidentifiable feeling that you don’t realise was there until it’s not any more, or until you encounter an oasis of it in the middle of a desert that you hadn’t noticed.

Home is also sitting down with (the same) book and a pint (shandy, I was driving) in your local and savouring the time and the feeling of belonging. It’s a slightly rose-tinted view of home, but these are the oases that help you appreciate it (especially when other home is in a country that doesn’t brew real ale.)

Home was also a good place to be this weekend, because my friend’s wedding coincided with my mum’s birthday, so I could hand-deliver her present (Lemon and sugar hand scrub, recipe taken from By Stephanie Lynn, the recipient assures me it works a treat after an afternoon in the garden!)

My mother’s thumbs are green enough to go some way to off-setting the carbon footprint of, perhaps not China or America, but let’s say India. This exquisite acorn squash was sent back with me in my suitcase, although it’s so beautiful I don’t want to cut it up and eat it!
But it is definitely destined either to be stuffed, or made into soup. It’s also too good to waste. Although I may sit and admire it for a week or so first.

So, off I go to Leith’s Vegetarian Bible to decide what its destiny is!


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