Five years ago, London 2012 exploded into our living rooms in a tidal wave of golden hysteria.
Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tom Daley and Laura Trott led the charge as Team GB’s remarkable exploits captured the nation.
As for us, we were sat watching from our new Chorlton living room having made the switch from Lincolnshire’s Grantham to the suburbs of England’s most ambitious city.
And we’ve never looked back since…
Don’t get me wrong.
After uni, we stuck around and forged some of our best friends with people we’d not really known during our studies.
We graduated, got married, set up our lives together and began proper jobs for the first time.
However, a year spent in Grantham meant a daily hour commute to work each way, an hour away from friends and church and a crazy round the clock rota for my F2 wife spent on the fringes of the earth in Boston.
Not so much fun.
Manchester was the chance for a new start. Closer to home. A vibrant, cosmopolitan place to live where we could settle down, afford a house at a reasonable price, possibly start a family and enjoy wall-to-wall sunshine.
Perhaps the last one was a touch unrealistic.
Still, upon leaving Grantham we were full of optimism (even if I was riddled with pneumonia at the time) and it has certainly worked out well.
It has been amazing to be closer to home, all the more since Sophie and Harry came along and they are so blessed to have such involved grandparents.
Our church family have been really kind to us and we love being part of Grace Church. Some of our Nottingham friends have followed us – well, Rick has (and Ilze wants to!) – and five aside football has reentered my life in earnest. Jobs have been positive and now I’m hoping to fulfil a lifelong dream by working at the BBC, conveniently based in Manchester.
Five years have flown by and they truly have been the time of our lives.
Manchester is wonderful.
We can’t see ourselves living anywhere else.