These musings are prompted by a recent visit to the UK to say goodbye to Kevin and Michelle, who are off to Shanghai to run a significant chunk of the nascent Chinese motor industry.
The excellent Kevin shares my love for Warwickshire and Coventry City (although his baseball allegiance is so fundamentally flawed that I can't bring myself to type the name of his team). Michelle is ... well, Michelle is Michelle: the exemplar of the all-American prom queen with an infinite capacity for friendship and fun. We miss them, and all our friends and family, a great deal when we are in France.
But, of course, we also miss our friends in France a great deal when we are in the UK. In fact, despite the best efforts of Michelle and others in England, we probably have a more active social life in France than we do in the UK. There's a highlight this evening, when we will join hundreds of other villagers at the repas Republicain, hours of wining, dining and dancing before fireworks herald Bastillle Day at midnight.
But apart from its Republican provenance, will it be more fun than the hours of wining, dining and dancing that the Royal Wedding prompted in Leamington?
It's clear that I am not concerning myself with home as bricks and mortar. Nor with stuff. I love both our apartment in England and our village house in St Quentin. And we have stuff - too much of it, probably - in both venues.
I suspect that I am moving reluctantly towards a definition of home which is closer to the cliche of 'home is where the heart is'. And, in this sense, it doesn't matter where I am, so long as Jill is in the same place. When grandson Max was also here, with his mum and dad, or when the other kids visit, it gets about as good as it can be.
But even if one broadens this to include cultural issues, there is still a conundrum. I am English, but felt immediately at home when we first came to this part of the world. As regular readers of this blog will know, I regard French foibles (and there are many) with affection - even those which would provoke rants of despair were they English characteristics. I loathe and avoid most English and American pop music; but when I hear the French equivalent, I smile benignly and probably a little patronisingly. I have little time for British idealism, British empiricism or logical positivism; but I am still hooked on Sartre. And I'm sorry: despite the success of English wine week, I know what I want to drink.
I suppose what this is about is our good fortune in being able to divide our time, to dip in and out of both countries and both cultures. It is obviously invidious to attribute superiority to one or the other. Jill once compared our situation to that of a couple with twins. One doesn't even think about which is one's favourite; one loves them both.
Which reminds me of where I started, with Kevin amd Michelle and their new life in a completely different culture. Good luck, both of you. We'll be thinking of you and hope you will, de temps en temps, also have time for home thoughts from abroad.
Today's listening: the Dead, Madison Square Garden, September 1982. The announcement of the new Road Trips release yesterday called 1982 an under-rated year in the Dead canon, so I'm checking out a random show from that year. Mmmm. Great year for Bordeaux though.