I imagine when Robinson Crusoe returned to his island he would have felt a mix of emotions. A sense of home, perhaps, mingled with a latent anguish. Pleasant memories of goats and less pleasant memories of cannibals. And a curious realisation that in all his time away nothing whatever had changed.
When I departed my childhood home, Croydon, I did it with a certain sense of permanence. I was taking the Peter Pan course, shooting into the stars for an undetermined destination that would not feature concrete towerblocks and the UK’s first IKEA. Returning was not an option. Indeed, I have barely been back in ten years.
But return I have. For a few weeks I’ll be flitting back and forth between my new life and my old, struck by similar peculiarities to those that would afflict Mr. Crusoe. His ocean currents would not have changed; nor have the bus routes in Croydon. His goats would still be there; so is my old school. His cannibals would continue to camp under his hilltop; white thigh length boots remain in vogue at East Croydon station.
At least Crusoe wouldn’t have to worry about being sliced by a tram.