We have been a trifle busy just lately. After eleven years of living in a flat in Salford we decided it was time, as they say, to move on. Salford has been good to us and in many ways we will miss living in a vibrant and dynamic city and being a part of Greater Manchester. Leaving our many friendly and helpful neighbours and our lovely tai chi class [a nicer bunch of people you would struggle to meet] was a hard but positive decision.
When we moved to Salford, a city packed with modern, shiny high-rise blocks of flats, we chose an unusual 1930s development of flats with three floors arranged around large courtyard gardens and open shared areas. Thanks to the design of the flats, we got to know more neighbours than we have anywhere else we have lived. The site is secure and we have never worried about the leaving our flat on our long holidays and the gated parking for our campervan has been appreciated. The large garden is a sheltered and sunny place to sit on a warm day with none of the worries of having to actually do any gardening yourself, it was a happy and liberating place to live.
A short walk from home was Salford Quays and a stroll around the water was a regular favourite way to spend some time. This is where we could encounter nature; the trees changing colour through the year, Canada geese and black-headed gulls and sometimes coots and pied wagtails and different weather transforming the river and canal from sparkling blue to slate grey. In addition there is always something new to see; someone might be filming around Media City, we could encounter groups queuing for a popular TV show or stumble upon one of the many special events such as the Makers Markets or Lightwaves.
We were surrounded by plenty of other favourite places; Weaste Cemetery, Peel Park and Buile Hill Park, Chapel Street and the River Irwell. There are so many things to like about Salford, check out my Surprising Salford page for the full list.
If Salford is so perfect why are you moving on? A search for quiet is the simple answer. Although there had been other nudges, it was after spending two months in Scotland earlier this year that we both returned to our urban flat and struggled to adjust to the bustle of the city. The 1930s flats were solidly built with thick external and internal walls and there is rarely any noise that gets through from neighbours to either side of us. What my acute hearing did pick up was from the flat upstairs. The guy was always respectful and well-behaved but I began to get tired of knowing when he was home, when he went to bed, when he decided to listen to music, when he had visitors and even when he visited the bathroom! In addition, in the 1970s it was decided to build the M602 through Salford and the roar of the traffic on this short adjacent motorway was a continuous presence.
That said, we would have stayed in Salford if someone had built / was building small affordable bungalows and not just tall blocks of flats or if we had won on the Premium Bonds and had been able to afford the half a million or so for a penthouse flat overlooking Salford Quays. With none of those options available, we checked our budget and began the search for a bungalow [we like living on one-floor] that wasn’t off the beaten track but offered some tranquillity, alongside some culture, and had natural areas within easy walking distance.
Having lived in Lancashire for many years, it is not surprising that we soon decided on the seaside resort of Morecambe where we follow in the footsteps of a long line of retiring Lancastrians. Morecambe has plenty of bungalows to accommodate retirees and along with Lancaster has a thriving art and cultural scene and has that magnificent view across the sands of Morecambe Bay to the Lake District.
Our move to Morecambe isn’t so much a downsize as a new era. We have gained a garden [again] and a kitchen that seems vast after living with one where I could stand in the centre and stretch out and reach everything! But, having got used to our huge bedroom in the flat our new bedroom can best be described as cosy and our 1960s bungalow needs a long list of improvements to bring it up–to-date … but now when there are footsteps overhead it is just a herring gull landing on the roof.