Tuesday, 4 November 2014


To me, two really significant words are "home" and "why". While we were out cruising on Erin Mae, we'd be out for a walk and decide it was time to go home – i.e. go back to the boat for tea. As it got nearer to the end of our autumn cruising, heading for home meant we were on the last few stretches before getting back to our mooring at Great Haywood – something not undesirable but to be delayed as long as the October sun was shining. Having half packed up Erin Mae for the winter and headed for our house in the New Forest, we've talked about coming home – we're home for the winter months. There was a time in our family life when we lived in 13 different places in 10 years, and it was really important to create a sense of home for ourselves and our boys, no matter where that actually might be. Perhaps home is a combination of familiar people, familiar practices, familiar routines. It's a powerful word, especially when combined into a phrase like "coming home". It's part of my make-up.

We've been enjoying Brian Cox's BBC series "Human Universe", and one of the things he wrestles with is what it means to be at home on planet Earth, understanding our place in the universe. He talked about the growing realisation over recent centuries of where we fit as being "the most glorious descent into insignificance", at the same time as affirming the uniqueness and preciousness of what it means to be human. He also asks all sorts of "why?" questions – the second in the series asked why we are here. In the end I found his answers both fascinating and disappointing. He opted for a variant of the "best of all possible universes" theory, concluding that the only universe in which we could exist was one in which the conditions were exactly right to permit it; that probably an infinite number of universes had popped into and out of existence; that ours was the one with the parameters to survive – leading eventually to the existence of the human race. In that sense, he concluded that the answer to "Why are we here?" is that it was inevitable.

But of course the question "why?" does not only mean "how did it come to be?" It also means "for what purpose?" And that question Brian made no attempt even to recognise, let alone address. Perhaps he will do so by the end of the series. If so, it will be interesting to see what he makes of it.


  1. love checking in on your updates, home is no where on this earth for me. I live is a country i have no cultural relationship with and is a constant battle to understand the difference of the two english speaking countries that are very different. Would not miss the journey for the world though, on one heck of a ride and grateful for everyday i have:)

    1. Hi Ady – good to hear from you, and hope you and yours are well.