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Roots of long life are in your home

I'M SURE we all envy stories of people who've lived in the same home nearly all their lives.

It's a prescription for a long life, with centenarian Jemima Gillies typical, having spent 99 years and three months at Kinloid Farm, Arisaig.

She never wanted to live anywhere else. How marvellous. I always want to live somewhere else. Indeed, I've moved house more than 20 times in adulthood, though I include some lodgings in that.

Nowhere is perfect. Some places are hell. And what is hell, ladies and gentlemen? Correct: other people.

But them aside, there must be something to tie you to a house and a place. At somewhere between five and six years, my current residence is my longest lived.

Landscape helps, particularly if you've a teeny wee bit of your own that you can mould. Having moulded, you feel more reluctant to move on. You've put down roots.

Mrs Gillies said: "I like it here, I like my garden, I have planted a lot of plants over the years that are still here now."

Still here now: therein lies the key. You want to stay with what you've planted. It comes up every year and gives rhythm to your life, a sense of long-term stability and predictability.

Even a flat can provide that, particularly if it has a view of the changing seasons and skies. You will have added personal touches to your property that you like.

You may even be able to thole your neighbours, assuming they don't have wooden floorboards overhead and don't play the doomf-doomf-doomf music till it shatters your soul.

In the last few years, I've scoured the country for ideal places to stay. I've even looked abroad: Montana, Texas, Canada, Norway. I get myself psyched up for a new life, but that's all it is: a little psychic boost.

In the end, instead of ordering a removals van and buying a new passport (for I haven't been abroad for many years), I just go to Sainsbury's as usual and treat myself to chocolate for solace.

I might move again yet. It's only really the thought of packing all my books and other junk that deters me. In the meantime, every day the roots sink a little deeper.

Like Mrs Gillies, I'm fond of BBC Alba — though I don't have a word of Gaelic — and would miss that in Montana.

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