When we made the decision to move, I was worried about all we had to do, but I also looked forward to it. I get bored with routine and I was hoping for a change. 10 days in, I can safely say that I got my wish. We have been so busy and as a result I’ve neglected this blog as well as my emails, phone calls and pretty much everything else that used to be an important part of my daily life.
Instead, we’re just working our way through the giant list of things that have to be achieved when you’re settling in a new place. But we’ve also had time for some sightseeing, some pub meals, and even a visit from my mum. It’s been exhilarating, tiring, fun, scary, exciting and stressful – sometimes all at the same time!
I realize I haven’t said much about where we’re living right now. It’s a holiday let and we have it for 7 weeks as we wait for our furniture to arrive.
It’s a quirky 4-bedroom house right on the riverside of a small northern market town. The street is beyond beautiful – honestly, it seems too quaint and pretty to be real. Rowing boats bob on the water, the houses are all ancient and higgledy-piggledy, every garden is beautifully tended … and to top it all off there’s a medieval castle at the top of the hill. The house itself is quirky – it’s a turret with 4 stories, and even though it’s a small place, it’s easy to get lost because of the nooks and crannies and weird layout.
It’s not the easiest place to live in – lots of going up and down stairs and odd-shaped rooms that can be a little hard to make work – but I love it. It has real charm, from the beams in the ceilings to the handmade kitchen cupboards and original flagstone floor. Not to mention the views of the river from the bedroom windows.
And here is the view from one of the windows
The town is a lot like the house – quirky and full of character. It’s not one of those quaint English towns that’s trying too hard to be charming. It’s a little shabby in places, and a little rough around the edges, but with a heart of gold and wonderful bone structure.
We both agree that we couldn’t have chosen a better place to start our new lives. Not only is it pretty, but it’s also very welcoming. Everyone we have met has been lovely – super-helpful, super-friendly, and without any artifice.
On Monday we went to buy a car, an experience I loathed in America mainly because I had no idea of how to behave. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was pretty painless. The salesman was from my home town of Leeds and had the accent to prove it. He was warm and friendly, and although I know he was selling, it didn’t feel like it. We walked out with a new car on order and a sense of having found a trusted resource for future car purchases, rather than the usual niggling sense that I have somehow been ripped off. We pick up the car on Monday hopefully – which means we can get rid of the rental car we’ve been driving and save some money.
Today we went to meet our new landlord at the house we’re renting for the next year. He wasn’t at all what we were expecting (younger for one thing) but again he was friendly, kind and likable. His family is in property development and they rent out a number of houses all over town. He is perfectly happy to fix a few minor broken things and repaint walls that need smartening up a bit and he told us to call him any time we need anything – even if we just want to know a good place to eat out, or where to buy something for the best price. We both liked him and that was a relief.
As with everyone we meet, he had a good chuckle at Phil’s expense. I have so missed the way British people tease each other and joke around constantly. Phil told him I was from Yorkshire but that he was from Lancashire, and that we had battled over where to live. “Well,” said the landlord “at least you made the right decision.” Heh.
We’re back at work this week, so we’ve also set up temporary offices in spare bedrooms. Here’s Theo christening my new desk
But we’re also finding time to see the sights. We took the train into York on Saturday to do some shopping.
York is a beautiful city but we really didn’t have time to see the sights because we had so much to pack in, plus – as you may be able to discern from the photo – it was a tad wet. Never mind, it’s only half an hour on the train, so we’ll be back.
On Sunday, I drove (YIKES! Why is everyone on the wrong side of the road!) to Jervaulx Abbey, the ruins of a 12th Century Cistercian monastery. What a beautiful place that was … so peaceful. Just the remains of the ancient building, green fields and trees and sheep and lambs as far as the eye could see.
All in all, I don’t think things could have been much better for us, which of course is tempting fate but I touched wood while I said it, so hopefully that’s OK. Lots of things have changed here – for example, the humble cornish pasty has been transformed into this
And yet despite so much change, there is still much about England that remains exactly the same. More about that another time.