A SENSE OF PLACE – HOBBS POINT HAS IT IN SPADES!
My introduction to “A Sense of Place”
Until the age of 11 I lived at home, but my father was away fighting a war for half of that time, and starting a business for the second half. I attended a boarding school until I was 18, and then joined the army myself. I later got married, changed armies and emigrated to Australia. My twenty years at Hobbs Point is the longest time that I have lived in any one place. Hence my unfamiliarity with the expression “A sense of Place”
Earlier this week I had just started glancing through Kevin McCloud’s “Grand Designs Handbook“, when I came across this;
“The reason I live in “Nowhere-on-the-hill” is:
I don’t have to spend 45 minutes driving through solid traffic to my children’s school …..
I can laze around in my garden without some busybody neighbour next door telling me to cut my hedge …..
I can see the stars at night …..
I can see a sunrise and a sunset…..
or catch site of a buzzard or barn owl in the lane ……
and get my hands dirty in the soil without worrying that I’ll accidentally spike myself on a discarded syringe……
I have spurned the city TO FEEL A SENSE OF PLACE, BELONG AND FEEL SAFE. It’s as simple as that.”
I immediately thought to myself “My God, he’s talking about us”!
What is A Sense of Place ?
“A sense of place” has a number of different meanings, but often relates to places we can identify with, and that feel special to us; for example, a family home, the place we were born.
Wikipedia explains that “Cultural geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and urban planners study why certain places hold special meaning to particular people or animals. Places said to have a strong “sense of place” have a strong identity and character that is deeply felt by local inhabitants and by many visitors.”
Living at Hobbs Point and A Sense of Place
Encyclopedia.com says that “we can gain a sense of place by being, or becoming, deeply involved with a place and by coming to know that one place and its inhabitants intimately.” I think that when they say “inhabitants”, they are talking about human beings.
We know most of the inhabitants at Hobbs Point intimately, but they are not human beings. We do talk to the trees and they probably don’t listen to us, but we still love and respect them. We talk to most of the birds, and some of them (particularly the Magpies and King Parrots) do listen to us. As do some of the wallabies, however although the possums and echidnas tolerate us, to be honest they still don’t talk to us much.
As for the criteria used by Kevin McCloud, we tick almost every point. If I’m driving into Narooma during the rush hour, half a dozen other cars is unusual; in fact it’s a little disturbing. As for night skies, sunrises and sun sets, buzzards (will eagles do?) and Barn Owls, try our website.
The explanation by Wikipedia also mentions the effect a place with a strong sense of place has on visitors. Have a look at some of the reviews of Hobbs Point Cottage.
I read somewhere that a sense of belonging is fundamental to the wellbeing of all human beings. I think that living at a place like Hobbs Point forces you to slow down, and by so doing, you instinctively take more note of your surroundings. Eventually you become a part of your surroundings, and when that happens, your wellbeing is assured.