Last year my husband and I decided that it was time to leave London. We had been living there for nearly five years and we’d had a wonderful time. Because we always knew that we wouldn’t stay forever we tried to do all of the touristy things, but had the advantage of being able to go home at the end of the day. We saw all of the sights; Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye to name just a few. We partied at a Silent Disco at the top of the Shard and even managed to get tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games, including for the athletics. Seeing Usain Bolt run is definitely something that I will never forget.
However, London also has its downsides. We eventually managed to buy a place of our own, but could only afford a two bedroom flat which was occasionally on the Heathrow flight path. And I mean, it was really on the flight path…you could practically wave to the pilots as they flew overhead. There is also the overcrowding – I was lucky in that I didn’t have to brave the Tube at rush hour on a daily basis, but on the few days that I did, it was really no fun at all. Especially in the height of summer when it can get particularly sweaty!
So, time to decide where we were going to live. My family is originally from Yorkshire but I grew up in the Midlands, where the majority of my family still live. My husband was born in Harrogate and the majority of his family are still in and around the Harrogate and Ripon area. So, really there was no choice. The beauty of the Yorkshire Dales or the bleakness of the Black Country. I think the name really says it all.
And so, here we are. We have bought a house for less than the price we sold our flat for – and it even has a garden! This is not something we could have dreamed of in London.
And we both found jobs at great solicitors firms. My husband works in Leeds and I was fortunate enough to be taken on by Berwins. The whole firm has welcomed me with open arms and although I’ve only been here for 6 months I already feel like one of the family.
The clients have all been extremely welcoming as well. You know how everyone says how friendly the people in Yorkshire are – well, I have discovered that it is entirely true. Whilst I had many lovely clients where I was working before, people are noticeably friendlier since I began work at Berwins.
A lot of our friends thought that we were mad to leave London, especially from a career perspective. But, the quality of work is just as high at Berwins as it was in my previous job, whilst having all the advantages of being located in the beautiful town of Harrogate.
However, I didn’t have the best start to my new job – in my first week I managed to fall head first down the stairs in the office and end up in an ambulance to Harrogate Hospital. I can, however, confirm that the staff in the hospital are just as lovely as everyone else in Yorkshire!
I was also slightly disturbed by the weather – I think it rained continually for the first three months and then it snowed in the last week of April! I have spent most of the winter sitting in thermals, a coat, scarf and gloves. My colleagues tell me that I need to toughen up, and stop being a soft southerner – although not in so many words, they are far too polite for that…
Written by Julie Hutchinson of Berwins Solicitors.