Diminishing Returns

About 15 years ago, we moved from Leeds (pop. 716, 000)……. to Harrogate ( pop.72,000).    How charming and manageable in size it seemed!Now we’ve moved to Ripon (pop. 16,000).  Its cathedral gives it city status, though it’s so much smaller than Harrogate.And of course, we also live in Laroque d’Olmes (pop. 2, 600)Where next?  A farmstead on a remote hillside?

Next stop: Ripon

After that outburst last week, we had a think.  And then we thought some more.  And some more.  And we realised that we really need a base here.  For us, and for our daughter.  Home-hunting was as depressing as it always is.  Until we had an idea.

Our new flat's near here

Would Ripon, a mere 10 miles from Harrogate, but too far for regular commuters to Leeds, Bradford and York provide a more affordable answer?  It did, in the very first flat we looked at to rent. It’s small, but the complex has been thoughtfully developed on the site of the old College of Ripon and York St. John. Its trees and parkland have been preserved.  By car, it’s out of town.  On foot, it’s a ginnel or two away from the town centre.

And we love Ripon.  It’s so near to Harrogate that we can easily maintain our relationships there, but it has a different centre of gravity, with the open spaces  of North Yorkshire so near to explore, and Fountains Abbey as a near neighbour.

Market Square

For over a 1000 years, it’s been a market town.  Its Thursday market is still busy and lively and there are plenty of independent shops in the  ancient streets clustered round the market square.  It has a Cathedral, and a lively cultural life.  I’ve just discovered it’s twinned with Foix, departmental capital of the Ariège.  I think we’re going to be happy here as we divide our time between France and England.

Ripon Cathedral seen from the River Ure