I’m a city gal at heart. I’ve known this for years, but it was brought home to me when Tom and I went for a walk on Saturday. We get the best of both worlds where we live, because we’re only half an hour away from Manchester city centre, but also just a fifteen minute walk away from open countryside. But nevertheless, living in Bolton, surrounded by moors and green spaces, feels very different to my childhood in Birmingham.
The countryside we walked through on Saturday was beautiful. Everything looked so lush and vibrant in the weekend sunshine, and we were surrounded by hills… peaks and troughs of land. Birmingham is pretty flat, so it still feels strange (and I suppose kind of exotic?!) to me that I can see peaks on my walk home from the train station. It’s not that my parents never took me out of the industrial city, we frequently went on walks and spent many weekends exploring National Trust properties and gardens, but we would have to drive for a while to find proper countryside and impressive hills. The flat landscape of houses, flats and back gardens that I gazed at from my bedroom window felt comforting and safe, simply because that’s what I was familiar with.
There’s a large, lone house that sits amongst our local countryside here in Bolton. It’s perched at the top of a little hill, looking out across the bigger hills in the distance, church spires peaking out of clusters of trees and herds of sheep, with no neighbours in sight. It’s a nice house, and some people would think its setting is stunning… but I couldn’t live there. The thought of looking out the window at night and seeing nothing but pitch black creeps me out. I find the hustle and bustle of life comforting. I suppose this is a little bit like how a few days ago I wrote about how I do everything with a podcast or a vlog playing in the background. I just like the sound of everyday chitter chatter!
Tom and I were initially planning on continuing to live in the centre of Manchester (when we moved in together last year), and initially, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of living in Bolton. I just couldn’t see myself not living in a city... I used to joke that I wouldn’t consider moving to Bolton until we were retired. But I changed my mind quite abruptly for a number of reasons. We get so much more for our money here, and in many ways it’s nice to have that contrast between the city and home (especially when I was working in the city centre). I have a bit of a checklist… I have to be walkable from a train station and from a couple of local shops to get milk and bread and post parcels. Because we do have those things here, I decided that I would cope… and I have. I like it here and we have no plans to move anywhere else anytime soon, but I’ll forever have a deep-rooted soft spot for the bustle and hum of city life.