21 November 2021. It is a date that lingers in my memory. It marked my final departure from the home I had lived in with my wife and children for the best part of 25 and a half years. The house in Lindley, a small village about two miles outside of the West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield had been home since my wedding. There was a lot of happy memories in the house but over the final five years the atmosphere had changed.
Some of that was my fault and yet it was not totally my fault. I had been in a motor vehicle accident in July of 2014, when the other party had reversed into my stationary vehicle.
Rather than accept responsibility like any decent person would, they decided not to do so until around 18 months later, settling a week before the court hearing. Those 18 months had seen me sink into depression. I could not get my head around the dishonesty of people. At my lowest points I wanted to die. I thought about it long and hard. My family saw my downturn in mental health and though they tried to support me the best they could, the truth is they never knew how.
The upshot was that I was no longer able to work. This in turn put pressure on the marriage and so it was not a complete shock when in September 2021 my now ex-wife informed me that she was moving out and that we needed to sell the property. At the age of 47 I needed to start looking for a new home.
Had my children been younger I might have stayed around the Huddersfield area. My eldest was away at university in Birmingham. The youngest was in her final year at high school. Neither of them really needed me to be around daily at that time in their life so rather than simply looking at rental properties in the Yorkshire region I began to look further afield. It was not about the location; it was about the property.
After a few weeks I stumbled across a listing for a flat in Aberdeen, some six hours away from Huddersfield. It was beautiful with a separate kitchen rather than the open plan in many properties I viewed. That was a deal sealer to me but with never living outside of Huddersfield I wondered if I could make such a big move? Within a couple of hours of seeing the listing I had arranged to pay the deposit and committed to the tenancy – all without actually setting foot in the place.
Friends and family were surprised at the decision. I wanted to try living somewhere new as I tried to process the end of my marriage. I had heard tales that the Scottish weather could be a bit wet but as a homebody, the weather was not an issue. At the end of the day, I could always move back down there if it wasn’t working out for me.
Truth be told, the move has more than worked out. Though I knew a little about the flat’s location thanks to Google Earth, setting foot inside for the first time was a great memory. Though two floors up with no lift, the location and views more than make up for the tiring climb I have to endure! My living room looks out over Seaton Park. A scenic, busy park with joggers and dog walkers making use of its open spaces daily.
The beach, a short two-minute drive from the flat, is where I am most happy to simply sit and watch the tide coming in and going out. The sound of the waves breaking brings peace to my mind. Truth be told, other than visiting the beach and the football club I have not ventured into the city itself much. I have been lucky that supermarkets are a short walk away and Amazon is a wonderful service!
The famous Scottish weather has proven to be much better than I expected. Indeed, many times my mum has messaged complaining about rain in Huddersfield when it has been fine and often warm in the Granite City.
I am now 18 months or thereabouts into my tenancy and I do not regret the move at all. The first few months were hard at times. Christmas especially as it marked the first time I had not been at home with my children. A local pub heard my story when I booked my Christmas Day lunch with them and they kindly gave it to me for free. Can you imagine that? A Scottish business giving this Englishman a free lunch! The Scottish people have all been very friendly.
On the handful of occasions I have been back to West Yorkshire to visit family the drive down from Aberdeen and back up again has always been an enjoyable one. The scenery in Yorkshire was good. Better in Scotland. There is nothing like driving as the sun rises and seeing mist topped Scottish hills or fog strewn valleys. Atmospheric and beautiful at the same time.
After being at such a low point in late 2021, I am in a much better place as I write this in May 2023. What was a scary decision has quickly become one of my best. I feel a sense of optimism on the whole now. Aberdeen has seduced me with its charm. At this stage in my life I cannot see myself living anywhere else.
Thank you Aberdeen. If you did not save my life then you certainly enhanced it from one of my lowest points. Moving here might not sound like an adventure to some. To me it has been one of the biggest of my life.
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