This is a question often asked when meeting somebody for the first time in an effort to get to know more about them. What is it that the questioner wants to know? And what difference might it make? Does he or she want to know where you were born, where you live now or where your parents and their families are from too?
I have a couple of friends for whom the answer to all those questions would be the same place but it is a question I always find difficult to answer since where I was born and where I live now sandwich a life spent moving around - so what should I answer?
According to a recent report on Zoopla "The average person born in the UK will move house a total of 8 times during their life, but will not end up too far from where they started" - so one thing is for sure I am not your average person!!
According to my birth certificate I was born in Harmondsworth but it seems that when I was just a couple of weeks old my mother took me by train to "the country" which I can only imagine meant to my grandfather's house in the Forest of Dean.
However my earliest memory is of a place not far from Liverpool Hightown where my mother had a job as housekeeper to a couple of elderly (well they probably were only in their fifties!) spinsters. So by the age of 3 I had already moved twice.
Next stop was to stay with my mother's eldest brother and his family in Ipswich where we lived for probably 6 months before going to Reydon near Southwold in Suffolk where mother worked as a housekeeper/cook - this is the house where we lived Reydon Hall. Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous when you consider what my grandfather's house was like as many of you will know if you've read my childhood memory posts! But within a year my mother had to have surgery on her spine and was told she'd not be able to work again so as soon as she was out of hospital and able to travel we set off for Grandfather's again!
After living in the Forest of Dean for 4 or 5 years my mother got a job again (the doctors luckily were wrong!) and off we went to Crendle Court not far from Sherborne. As you can see it was another large house. The work was hard and my mother found it difficult I think so she found another job actually in Sherborne in a smaller house in the town.
We lived here for the longest time (probably about 14 years) until my mother's employer was forced to move into a retirement home due to ill health.
Bags were again packed and off we went to live near Salisbury in a little bungalow at the bottom of the drive to Downton House - this was the first time we had ever had self contained place of our own and I loved it. After a while my mother decided that she would prefer to get a "normal" 9 - 5 job and to rent somewhere to live and so it was that we moved into Salisbury itself. And later on to Surrey (which would be nearer to Mr M who lived in Surrey and to whom I had become engaged whilst at Downton) to another live-in job but where the cottage provided was a bus ride away from the property she worked at. It was from here that I was married and went to live with Mr M in Guildford. We lived for 10 years in our first house before moving to a slightly larger one where we lived for 20 years. Quite the settler by now eh?!
Eventually we retired and had the idea of moving to France where we rented a cottage for 6 months before buying our dream house! However as you already know it didn't turn out to be my dream at all and I was terribly homesick - for England rather than for any particular place - and after a few years trying to settle we made the move back to the UK and eventually ended up here inSomerset.
So I have moved house at least 14 times and that doesn't include various digs whilst at college and a couple of flats shared with friends in my early 20s. So you can see why I don't really know where I am from!
Speaking with my sister in law recently I mentioned that I probably spent much of my childhood in the Forest of Dean what with the first couple of years which I don't remember and the 4 or 5 years which I do remember in the '50s and that my mother's family all came from there too and she said, "That explains it" Explains what I wondered and her reply was that people from the Forest of Dean are well known for being a trifle weird!
I wonder if rather than wondering about where we are from we should be more concerned with where we are going. What do you think!!