Three weeks ago we were burgled. The insurance company is probably not going to pay out because I ‘run a business from home’. They argue that because I receive business contacts in our house, our home is not really a “home” and thus our home content insurance does not apply.
The business insurance refuses to pay because stolen jewelry – mine and my daughter’s – has nothing to do with the business.
On Saturday we held the Peirene Winter Salon. As always in our house. Some I knew, others I met for the first time as they walked through the door. One new-comer, while she was shown into our bedroom where she could leave her bag and coat, exclaimed: ‘Wow, the Salon really does take place in your home.’ I laughed and asked what she had expected. ‘Well, I thought you might use an extension to your house,’ she explained.
Our guest star was the British poet Ruth Padel. She read from her latest work, The Mara Crossing. The book explores the notion of migration. All life stems from migration. Cells, animals and humans have always migrated, need to migrate to survive. But does this alter our idea of home. “Home is where you start from, but where is a swallow’s real home? And what does “native” mean if the English Oak is an immigrant from Spain?”
So, the word home is certainly problematic. However, one thing is clear: home is as much linked to movement and change, as to the commonly held notion of a never-changing haven.
Late on Saturday night, with only ten people left, we talked about the paintings on our wall. We analysed their male and female symbolism. It was a riveting and, at times, hilarious conversation. Six of these people I would have never met without the Peirene Salon. I am thrilled that my children should grow up in house where strangers bring creative thoughts and become friends. This is the home as I have always imagined.
Pity that the insurance company doesn’t agree. But I won’t waste my time trying to persuade them. I would rather save my energy for the next salon.