It’s been around 2 weeks since I moved up permanently to the Peak District. Took my life and transported it 200 miles north to a new home, new job, and new surroundings. It’s safe to say it’s been a bit crazy – two days in Ikea, lots of self-built storage, learning new roads and train lines, only one or two panic attacks. But I’m finally starting to feel settled, and getting to know my new home. Here are a few key things I’ve learnt so far about living away from the big smoke of London.
- The trains are a very different place to be than the zombie tubes of London.
- They’re cheaper. A one month season ticket between Glossop and Manchester that takes around the same amount of time to travel into the city as my train to London did costs one third of the price.
- I get a seat every single journey. Going there, coming home. Without fail I get a seat. It helps that I get on at the start/end of the line each time, but still. No bustling for a chair, no standing like sardines – and there are only 4 coaches! It’s remarkably civilised!
- The trains are on time. Like, every day near enough. The longest I’ve had to wait beyond the ‘expected’ arrival time for a train is 4 minutes. And that got everyone wondering what was going on. Being on time is normal – shock horror!
- People talk. And not just a cursory awkward nod, or that nervous titter that happens when a train stops unexpectedly. People strike up conversations and chat just because they’re accepting of other human beings and not afraid of making eye contact. Wonderfully refreshing.
- No ticket barriers. Instead there are people in hi-vis jackets checking every person’s ticket. I don’t know when that’ll stop feeling quaint…
- Yes, the weather isn’t that great – but then again it’s been pretty awful across the whole of the UK this month. The difference is, up here people seem to be prepared. None of this faffing in woollen coats and broken umbrellas. Everyone’s geared up in parkas and waterproof shoes. You know, prepared for the weather. Like they’ve watched the forecast and believe it or something. I’ve not yet experienced a vast amount of snow, and of course there are exceptions to the preparedness above, but I’ve heard on wise authority that when it snows, life goes on. What a novelty!
- Okay so this one isn’t necessarily a positive but – Manchester is just another city. Yes, it’s a nice city and you can walk everywhere. But at the end of the day, it’s just another city. And cities are generally the same – a mix of demographics and a range of human types. It’s just a smaller version than London. Which makes it a little better for someone who doesn’t like cities… but it’s still a city.
- I can have a day trip in North Wales. What used to require a few weeks of planning, booking either a hotel or a cold campsite, now requires an 8am alarm and a casual drive to Snowdon. After a refreshing hike up that big ol’ hill, we can drive home and be back before 6pm, more than enough time for a bath, dinner, and a bedtime suitable for a Monday morning work day. Ah bliss! And what better day to discover this than on a gloriously sunshiny Valentine’s Day last week? I have a feeling that will never get old.
I’m under no illusions – I know that at the moment everything seems fresh and new, and I’m still yet to settle properly into normal mundane life. But so far, I can see how this move will be beneficial – personally and professionally. My passions of walking and climbing are on my doorstep (literally… I’m a 5km wander from the Kinder Downfall), and my commute every day is far less stressful. All in all, I’m enjoying the chance to discover this vast green place. I have a feeling we’ve made a very good decision.