As I took a break from pit duties, I decided to while away my 5 minutes of freedom that the boss allows us once a week to peruse a copy of The Telegraph. It had been a tough morning. The pony had broken down, and I’d been pulling the coal carts single-handed up and down the shaft for a good couple of hours. I settled down with Jess, my most faithful of whippets, and, with the assistance of a friend to help me with the longer words, I stumbled across a story with the headline ‘I’d rather be skint in London than rich in Hull’.
I don’t mind telling you, I was so utterly appalled, I let out a “BY ‘ECK” at such a kerfuffle that I dropped my sandwiches. Fortunately, as it was a warm day, I’d elected for shorts, and I’d inadvertently created a cosy catch-all between welly-rim and shin. Thankfully none of my Spam was wasted.
I readjusted my cap that had moved to a dangerously jaunty angle in all the commotion (don’t want to be giving the wrong impression now, do we) and got my friend to read me the last line again:
‘No offence to northerners, but I’d far rather be skint in London than rich in Hull’.
And there it was. Proof, if it be needed, in glorious, patronising prose, of the over-arching perception of Yorkshire.
The article itself wasn’t overtly ‘anti-Northern’. In fact, it went out of its way to attack a growing population of London-types who complain about what the nation’s capital has become. However, the implication was there. London is the centre of the universe, everything that’s great is here, and everything Northern is shite. In fact, it’s so shite in Yorkshire, I’m happy to pay through the nose and live in abject poverty, surrounded by miserable, angry City dwellers than live ‘Oop North’.
It’s not the first time I’ve come across this wildly inaccurate view of the world. Working for a company with offices around the country, it’s fair to say that colleagues from the South are often amazed that, upon meeting us ‘scary Northerners’, we all have our own teeth. You can virtually hear their jaws hit the floor when they find out that we can speak and walk upright at the same time. As for when they learn that some of us even drive cars, well, let’s just say you need to be near some empty seats when you break that bad boy to them. And unless you’ve known them for a while, don’t even try to drink a glass of wine in front of them. Trust me on this one.
So, for the benefit of our Southern friends, here are some pointers as to what it’s really like in Yorkshire.
We don’t wear flat-caps.
Ever. At least, not in the twee, ‘Hovis Bread’ way. Neither do we wear wellies. Unless of course it’s winter, or our job requires it. Show me a Southerner that enjoys being up to their knees in shite, and I’ll show you one that smiles on a train. We occasionally wear them if it’s ‘a la mode’, or if it complements a fetching tweed number that we’ve donned for a day out shooting. You know, like the Royal Family do. But as for your normal man or woman about town, we wear the same clothes you do.
The food here is awesome
Contrary to Southern lore, our cuisine extends far beyond the pie sandwich and pints of bitter (although, as it’s now cool to drink bitter, we can admit to having the best micro-breweries in the country. Fact). Whether you want to sample some of the finest seafood in the land at one of our many coastal retreats, or you fancy fine dining in luxurious surroundings, we’re just as posh as you. You can visit one of our Michelin-starred restaurants in a secluded village in our dogs bollocks of a countryside, or if you prefer a more urban setting, take your pick from the thousands of eateries in Leeds, Hull, Harrogate, Sheffield… you get the picture.
Oh, and our bars and pubs are ace. Groups of people are welcomed with open arms, and not treated with the same suspicion that an Al Qaeda cell would be met with.
The sun shines. Quite a lot.
The sky isn’t low. Nor do we have webbed feet. In fact, the Met Office reckons our average summer temperatures are around 21 degrees, and the sun is out for about 1500 hours each year. And yes, we have rain here too. That’s because we have the Pennines, awesome hills, and unspoiled moorland that you Southern types would kill for, that bring weather fronts to an abrupt halt.
And, when the sun’s out, we can see it. It’s not a fuzzy looking yellow smudge above multiple layers of City detritus, aeroplanes and massive banker’s retreats. It’s a magnificent flaming orb atop a clear blue mass of sky, punctured only by the fluffy white goodness of our awesome clouds.
We’re quite clever, you know.
Yorkshire folk don’t work down coal-mines any more. We haven’t done for some time. And, as the world changed, we also stopped working in factories. Mainly because they all shut down (thanks, bankers).
But, being awesome, we didn’t bitch about it. We just got clever, and did something else. The Leeds area has one of the highest volumes of digital employment anywhere in the country, and places like York and Hull are growing what looks to be a thriving digital sector. In fact, little old Hull has more people using the Internet than London.
We’ll give you that one. We are friendly. We smile for no other reason than we’re just nice, not because we may want to rob you, and we’d sooner step on our own children than give you duff directions. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself with an errant Yorkshire-type in your passenger seat after you enquired where the nearest cash-point is. It’s how we do things. Deal with it.
Ultimately, Yorkshire is awesome.
Urbane, modern cities, home to many of the globes leading brands. Undeniably the best countryside in the world, ever. Rich in history. Awesome food. Awesome people. No flat caps. No wellies. Not many whippets. Rather be skint in London than rich in Hull? Good luck with that.
Written By: Tony Cross