York is my city. I spent the first 23 years of my life moving around and so never really knew how to answer the question “where are you from?” I grew up in various towns in the North of England and so would generally mumble something incoherent about that. But that started to change when I started a relationship with my Mr back in 2005. He lived in a tiny flat within the walls of the ancient city and my love for this place grew alongside my love for him.
Within a couple of months I had moved here and started working in these offices. It is far from beautiful architecture, and there isn’t much that is attractive about insurance, but on this gorgeous August morning, with my heart filled with nostalgia, and the added bonus of the 14th century Barker Tower in the foreground, I can’t help but smile when I look at this view.
We lived in York until we found ourselves priced out as our family grew and we headed 14 miles south to Selby, far enough out to afford a bigger home, close enough to still think of ourselves as Yorkies. After 6 years out we moved back to town in 2013 and have enjoyed the benefits of living in this beautiful city again. But my children are not natural town dwellers. They love sticks, trees and empty, wide open spaces. They hate the noise of many many people and the crazy control freak I morph into when trying to corral them around the traffic that fills the roads not designed for this many vehicles. And so we are moving (paperwork permitting) to the countryside outside of York where they should have more freedom and so much more space. And this has triggered my renewed ardour for this city while it is still on my doorstep.
But, oh the perils of loving a tourist town! I do not enjoy having to share the cobbled streets and quirky buildings with others. Especially not when they move in packs, brandishing selfie sticks and following flag wielding tour guides.
And so I have taken to heading into town, unemcumbered by my small people, early in the morning at the weekend, before the hoards arrive. Sometimes with my camera, sometimes just for the joy of the wander but today to catch Pokemon!
Time got away from me when I spent 20 minutes battling in a gym, sat on the steps outside of York Minster. Slowly the occasional jogger and delivery driver passing by my spot was replaced by small groups laden with backpacks and guidebooks for whom this was more than just a sunny perch to play on their phones, it was a gothic cathedral worth traveling to see. This was my cue to move along to a quieter spot.
My crowd avoidance, Pokemon stalking, route took me by some picturesque scenes which as well as causing me to regret only having my phone and not my camera reminded me just why people flock to spend time in the place that I call home.