‘Why Leeds?’

We are on the move. Again. We have lived in Bradford, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, London, Wakefield, Sheffield and now, for twelve years, in Bath. When people ask us where we live, their eyes light up when we tell them that Bath is our present home. Since deciding that we will move once more, people inevitably ask our destination, and when we tell them, their eyes narrow in unbelief. ‘Why Leeds?’ they say.

Why ‘why’? Is it the southerner’s prejudice about the frozen north? Is it because no rational person could think of exchanging a georgian and roman city beloved of tourists with a much larger population and a proud industrial and cultural history? Is it because in people’s minds, England is divided into the wealthy south and the, supposedly, impoverished north? Or is it surprise that at our advanced age (well, mine) its a strange idea to have to go through all the disturbance of removing home and all the stress  of buying and selling, and all the vested interests of people and professions involved in that process.

We  have some sympathy with the last point of view. We are some weeks since agreeing, subject to contract, to sell our house and buy a new home, and are going through the dreadful waiting period entirely at the mercy of soliciters and surveyors who have their own time scale. We are advised that nothing will be definite until at least the end of next month and as I write an enormous package of documents have arrived in the post for our ‘perusal and retention’.

It gives us time to sort out our possessions and decide what we will keep and what in our smaller home there will be room for, but it feels as if we are merely marking time. Having begun to tell people that we are moving on, soon they will be asking us why we are still here! Which is how I feel.

But, why Leeds? We have Yorkshire roots, born with them for my wife, borrowed for me. We have always felt at home in large cities, enjoying their environment and sense of purpose. Moving on is in our DNA, and if its harder this time than ever before, that’s how it is with everything when you are old.


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