I read in the paper yesterday how a Northern couple were refused permission to foster two children who had belonged to a relation down South because 'the powers that be' said that the children would be moving to a 'different culture' and it was not good for them. Thankfully, in this case, reason prevailed and it was allowed to go ahead.
But is it a different culture in the North? I have never lived further South than the Midlands so it is hard for me to say. But in what way is it different?
Money - Is there more money down South? Well the houses cost more, there are more big cars on the road, there are jobs with much higher salaries, there are people with more 'spare' money (or so we are told), there are more up-market shops.
Yes, the houses cost more, but my goodness me we have some lovely houses up here and at least if you pay less for your house you have more disposable income; nobody wishes to be badly off through some enormous mortgage unless they have to be.
There are more big cars on the road - in fact the traffic is horrendous. A friend who went to London last weekend was horrified by the traffic and also horrified when, as she tried to cross the road, she was elbowed out of the way by someone who couldn't wait that extra second.
There are jobs with higher salaries - in fact there are more jobs per se, and unemployment is higher up here - but does that make for less love in a family?
People with 'spare money'? Believe me, I know some people up here who have a lot of money - they just don't choose to splash it about. Some of the richest farmers I know go around as though they haven't two half-pennies to rub together.
As for up-market shops, we have an excellent one in our nearby market town for anyone who wishes to use it. There are shops for ordinary goods and the up-market shop which keeps absolutely everything and is of high quality.
As for Culture. There are plenty of cinemas and theatres - they may be a little further away but that does not make them inaccesible. 'Culture' with a small c - i.e. the way we think, the way we behave, the way we live - up here now there is such a mix of people. In our village there are people from North, South. East and West of the country - they all join in together - they belong our local history group, they help at coffee mornings, they volunteer in the charity shops and they mix with the locals.
Anyone who doesn't know this should spend time up here learning about the real world.
I suspect this same attitude applies to many different countries (I know it does to some parts of the U S) but in these days of such social mobility - forget it. We are all one nation and differences are in the mind.
Do you agree or do you have a different view? I would love to hear.
# Some time ago I had as my header a lovely picture of trees along the bank of a canal. Jeannette (mysteries on my side bar) has done the most beautiful painting of it. Do pop over if you have time and have a look at it.