31/03/2008: A bird's eye view of Ely

PUBLISHED: 12:44 31 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

A FEW weeks ago my youngest son announced he was off to see the world, so I made the decision to stop fighting the traffic on the A14 and move to Ely. I had been living in St Neots, which is about 35 miles west of Ely. It is a journey of about 45 minutes,

A FEW weeks ago my youngest son announced he was off to see the world, so I made the decision to stop fighting the traffic on the A14 and move to Ely. I had been living in St Neots, which is about 35 miles west of Ely. It is a journey of about 45 minutes, except that the A14 has its own rules in rush hour and it usually took about an hour and 10 minutes most days.

I had become completely worn out and fed up wasting so much of my day travelling to and from work so it is absolute bliss to be able to walk to the office.

It saves time, it is healthier and the absolute bonus is that my car is off the road and not costing me a small mortgage in petrol every month.

Like a lot of people I have just absorbed the shocking rise in petrol prices in the last few years and not accepted just how much it was beginning to cripple me financially.

I am not new to Ely, in that I joined the Ely Standard six years ago, but living here is a totally different experience and over the next few months I want to share my observations as a newcomer with readers. To be honest when I first started working here I was lamenting the lack of shops. There just wasn't enough of the bigger shops that I wanted to shop in. Now when I hear people bemoaning the lack of chain stores, I wonder why they don't appreciate this beautiful city and all its quirkiness. You may not find everything you want, but the shopping experience is far less stressful and the staff are more helpful. I went down to Cutlacks on Fore Hill a couple of weeks ago to buy a kitchen tool rack and the ladies in the shop couldn't have been any more friendly and helpful, even offering to measure the rack for me to ensure it would fit in the space I had created in the kitchen. I just can't imagine getting the same help and advice from a big commercial DIY or department store.

Why move here and then demand all the amenities, however useful and convenient, that you left behind for a more sedate way of life. Go and have a walk round and discover all the little gems of shops that make Ely such a special place to live and work. Having said that, I do think a Marks and Spencer in Ely would pretty much make my life here complete.

Email: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk

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