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I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Somewhere safe? Step inside....

I was in one of Shropshire`s many amazing bookshops this weekend. The cosy kind ; where there are three or four floors to browse, each linked by a steep, twisting, staircase; each level hiding room after womb-like room; each room lined with floor to ceiling shelves; each shelf packed tightly with treat after treat. And you tiptoe across the polished wooden floor, don`t you, because it`s quiet in there, and calm, like granny`s parlour, and you find yourself saying `oops, sorry!` when you step on a creaky board.

Sometimes, it`s rare to hear another voice. But this time,I could hear one, in a room on the floor below. Strong and clear. I thought it was the radio at first, or two customers chatting. But it was one man, alone, reading aloud, savouring every sentence.

As I crept back downstairs, I paused ,and caught a glimpse of him, standing in the middle of the floor, the chosen book in his hand; his back to the door. I carried on, not wanting to invade his privacy.

The shopkeeper said he`s often there. Can lose himself for hours, reading aloud, alone.She leaves him to it.

And I thought how hard it would be to do that in some shops, without being judged; gawped at, sniggered at, maybe.

But here, in this place, he felt safe and secure to read and relish the words; two floors and a world away from Saturday shoppers.

It got me thinking about how important is to have a place that makes you feel safe and secure, and how lucky you are if you have that. It might mean a roof over your head. Your own home. Or a refuge from home, if home`s not a happy place.

I can think of three people right now whose home lives are changing. Their feelings of `security` are probably all out of kilter.One`s going through the pain of a broken relationship; and has left the family home.One has a home, and had work, but is restless.She`s left her job, has bought a plane ticket, and jets off next week to live abroad for a while to look for a new challenge. And one appeared to many, to `have it all`--a city pad worth millions and a high flying, high profile job. The work has dried up, the apartment`s been sold, and he`s renting property again, scouring job ads, turning the clock back thirty years.

For loads of people I guess feeling safe doesn`t involve a place at all.You can feel `safe` just being with people who make you feel wanted, and loved, and valued. And for the bloke in the bookshop--by finding people who just allow you to be yourself.

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