Thursday, 26 September 2013

Where we live now: Ely

I haven’t written overmuch about our time in Canada. Although it was lovely to be back with family, it was also really difficult as David had to return to Cambridge in mid-January. When he went back, all we knew was that:

- he would need to be in England for an indefinite period of time
- my job was probably being made redundant
- we had a decreasing amount of my maternity pay to live on each month

So with all that in mind, Walter and I stayed in Canada a little longer until we could see how everything was panning out, mostly because of the immense cost involved in getting Walter a visa. I didn’t want to spend that kind of money if David was only going to be gone for a couple of months.

Shortly after David returned to England, things panned out in such a way that Walter & I were able to come back. It was really hard to come back, because in order to return to England I needed to cut my maternity leave short and go back to work (part of the good news being that I at least had a job to return to). David was living in student accommodation, but as he’d booked it as a single person there just wasn’t enough space for the three of us, so we spent some anxious weeks trying to find a relatively short-term lease on an affordable apartment that was conveniently located for us to access what we need in Cambridge. The solution was to move to Ely (about a half-hour drive) and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made.

One of my favourite cottages in the center of town. I really wish we lived here!

Out for a walk with the kiddies -- you can see our building on the right. So not quite my tudor cottage, but girl's gotta dream!
We love Ely (pronounced "ee-ly" -- named after the eels that used to abound in its river). It is, according to Wikipedia, the 7th smallest city in the UK (with a population of less than 17,000). It houses one of the wonders of the medieval world – Ely Cathedral. It’s a gem of a city in a vast sea of East Anglian farmland, and the townspeople are a good mix of elderly folks and young families. People are really polite and friendly. Because it’s the only city within reasonable travel distance for anyone living in the fenland villages, it boasts a fair number of shops (both chain & niche) and has a great market so we rarely need to go elsewhere. Cambridge is only a short, and cheap, train journey away and there is a bus that goes directly from the city to my office.
 
A rather crooked shot of Ely Cathedral. We live on the other side of it.

It's old.

St Etheldreda. Patron saint of our church, and I suppose of the whole city :)
We have a small flat that overlooks the River Ouse on one side and Ely Cathedral on the other. Day ‘round we can tell time by the chiming of the Cathedral’s great clock. Walter burns off his energy by playing on the Cathedral green and is learning about animals by watching the horses & donkeys that live in the pasture next to the Cathedral. It only takes us five minutes or so to walk out of the city and into the surrounding farmland, so we’re able to go on lots of nature walks. Basically, it is almost everything we’ve wanted in a place to settle, so we are making the most of the opportunity to live here for a few months.

The view at Walter's park

And a shot of the English countryside at sunset. Love love love our nature walks!

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