Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ooop North.

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.


jeanette from everton terrace said...

I LOVE the "differences are in the mind" comment. It's so great I want it on a tshirt! Well said.

steven said...

i grew up in the north and really only visited the south as an adult on holiday. however, there is a very big difference between the two areas - some good and some not so good. but that distinction is true of any country if you divide it as north and south. my own preference is for the north. steven

The Bug said...

In most of the US these days you can't even get away from chain restaurants & stores - doesn't matter if you're in California or North Carolnia, there's going to be a McDonald's. There are still regional differences (for example, I can't get one of my favorite foods here in Ohio - I have to get it at my Dad's home in NC), but really you're so right - it's a global world now, a true melting pot.

Doohie said...

I know a person from down south who couldn't wait to come up here to live and another who is far too superior to be seen in the north. So it will be interesting to see what comments you get.

Heather said...

In my youth I was an ignorant 'southener' who had never been north of Watford. In my early 20's my husband's job moved us to Manchester - horror!! We lived in Romiley for 9 years and I loved it. When we were moved south again I cried as we drove away. Colder winters but lovely people, beautiful countryside and cities full of excellent shops, galleries, museums, theatres and everything else London and the south can offer. Yes, there are regional variations, but that's what makes life more interesting.

angryparsnip said...

So agree with Jeanette... "differences are in the mind"

Do I think there are many differences, yes!
The city life does offer more in access to Museums, Cathedrals, Theaters and way too many Startbucks.
But just because you have these wonderful places to go, I am thinking of my trips to London, doesn't mean that you really use them.
To me loving and giving a stable home life balances out the lack of easy access Starbucks, Burger King and Cinemas.
I have always dreamed of a loft studio in a big city and the excitement that goes with it but I would chose your Northern life any day.
If you start life with a good base one can move anywhere later.

Pat, too love the photo that you are talking about (in fact it reminded me of a Sargent painting) it is on my list of things to do, asking permission to paint it one day.

cheers, parsnip

Jenn Jilks said...

Those of us who are adopted would disagree!

Unknown said...

Difference are true everywhere ... it's really all about the love one receives .. not where they are receiving it.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

We are often looked down upon here in the American South as being racist and more than a bit ignorant. You can certainly find those unfortunate traits here, but in my experience, they are everywhere. I myself try not to base my opinions of people geographically.

Gerry Snape said...

I agree with angryparsnip...the joy is in the difference. What we need is not sameness but sanity in the case of the child from the south. I lived in Kent for a while and yes it was certainly different from Belfast! but that was good and interesting.
I had a look at the painting of your woods...super...I'm a follower now!

Acornmoon said...

It seems to me that everywhere in Britain is looking the same, especially in the high street. Our son lives in London, he earns a good salary but living in London is so expensive. As for culture, we have it in equal measure in our northern cities. Friendliness - I have found people in the south to be just as friendly,
The gap between rich and poor is widening, it is wealth and not geography that divides us.

Eryl said...

Of course there are some small cultural differences between the north and south, and, for that matter, between the west and east, west and south, etc. etc. But they're not huge and they're not insurmountable. We brought our son to live in rural Scotland from Bedford when he was eleven. He cried when we told him we were moving, but by the end of his first day of school here he had a new group of friends and didn't have the slightest problem fitting in. He also loved the freedom being in a quiet backwater gave him: like his hero of the time, Just William, he was able to go out all day and play in the woods without me worrying.

I love regional differences, and agree with whoever said they should be embraced. I also agree with you, we are more similar than we are different.

Titus said...

I think Eryl's said all I want to! Yes, having moved from classic TOWIE Essex to rural South West Scotland, I'd say I certainly see differences, but let's embrace them. I am, for example, by far the shoutiest person at school sports day (for all the children, not just my own).
But surely family love is universal; that this could have been used as a reason to try and stop an adoption seems plain wrong-headed.

Von said...

Of course it's different otherwise it wouldn't be called North and South! The wise celebrate the differences and enjoy them..I say that as someone who has lived in both and has both Yorkshire and Somerset heritage. My heart leaps at the sight of the Moors or the Levels. As an adoptee I know that family is important and maintaining connection has to take precedence over location sometimes.

ChrisJ said...

Speaking as a Southerner who moved North at aged 9, I'm proud to call myself a Northerner from Yorkshire!

Rachel Phillips said...

Here in Norfolk we have differences from one village to the next, even variations on the Norfolk accent. These differences are great and long may they continue. I lived in the North East when I was in my 20s and apart from being called duck and nobody understanding me I didn't think the people were any more or any less friendly than here. The only place I noticed how extraordinarily friendly people were was in Glasgow.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the debate - I knew you would all respond. Interesting comments and it would seem from them that what matters is the person - some will find differences which are irritating and some will fit in. Itis not the fault of the so-called North/South divide - it is all in the mind.

Angie said...

I spent the first 58 year of my life 'down south' ...SE London/Surrey ..and then moved to Scotland ...yes things are different as you move northwards ...but the scale weighing up the pros and cons is definately pointing at the pros for moving away from London ...would I ever go back ..the answer is NO.