Before I get into the bulk of this North South chat I just need to say how much of a fantastic time I had in London. It was mine and Martyn’s first trip away together and it could not have been more perfect! We laughed more than I have ever known anyone laugh. And we spent some really good quality time together. And most of all I’d like to say a massive thank-you for everything he did while we were there! But the topic of this blog is just something that was an underlying theme throughout. Things I noticed, things Martyn noticed, so see what you lot think.
So I understand that all over the world there is divisions within countries but has there ever been such a large divide as the north south divide in England? I’ve just come back from a trip to London and until this trip I never really thought of myself as a ‘Northern girl’. But after this week it turns out I’m a Northern girl through and through.
It all started on our first night. We went to this lovely restaurant and after much consideration I went for… *drum roll please*… Chicken pie and mash. I don’t know why I chose that, I don’t even go that northern back home, there was lots of unusual things I could have chosen but after what felt like 30 hours of travelling I just wanted pie mash and gravy.
So the food came out and the waitress left the plates and went back to the kitchen. The food looked delicious the pie was golden brown, the vegetables piping hot and seasonal, the mash potato looked creamy and smelt so buttery but I didn’t eat anything straight away, I waited for the waitress to return with the gravy boat. But she didn’t come back. Instead there was a cheese sauce in a little porcelain cup. I looked at Martyn and he looked at me blankly. It was okay for him, his chicken was drowning in barbecue sauce. “Whats up?” I whispered “There’s no gravy?” “So? Just pour the cheese sauce on!”So I did, And it was absolutely fine, it tasted fantastic and I didn’t need gravy but before I started eating I still caught myself muttering “Bloody southerners eating everything dry”
And that wasn’t the only time I said something like that. We were on a shuttle bus to the train station, and chatting away and then when the bus reached the station everyone piled off. We were fairly close to the back so we watched everyone disappear into crowds. As I approached the driver I said “Thank you!” and Martyn followed “Thanks mate”. It was only then we both realised no one else has said thank you? This might seem silly but it really is the norm in my home town to just thank the driver, thank the taxi driver, thank the pilot if I saw him when I left the plane. I couldn’t imagine not saying it.
Also tube stations are weird. We got the Piccadilly line to Kings cross at around half five on Thursday. It was busy, and not like Yates’s on a Friday night busy; it was like trying to get on the last boat on the Titanic busy. There was an urgency but I tell you what there wasn’t… talking. I was packed on to that train like a sardine in a can my face squashed into the back of a woman’s head and Martyn and I were the only ones talking. It was so quiet that I think I heard someone on the next carriage fart. And they are ALWAYS rushing? I once waited 50 minutes for a bus before deciding it wasn’t coming and ordering a taxi, I watched a woman nearly have a breakdown because she walked into Martyn while running for a tube that comes every two minutes? TWO MINUTES! I think I’m still waiting for a taxi I ordered for a night out two years ago!
I think Martyn, along with all northern men, will agree the biggest difference is the price of alcohol amongst other things. So Martyn spoilt me on this trip and I didn’t want for nothing but even I wasn’t cruel enough to order wine at every restaurant. £6.75 a glass for the wine I drank?? I’d die of dehydration!! A pint of Stella in Wetherspoons in Scunthorpe is (from memory) I think about £2.80ish, a pint of Stella in London is £5.90. How can they warrant a 100% price increase in 180 miles difference? It’s like there is a group of pick pocketers at the Watford Gap preying on poor old northerners! And the house prices? WOW! They give away free papers on the tube (probably another excuse not to talk to anyone) with house prices that scared the living daylights out of me. Granted I pay remarkably less for my rent because of my location compared to cities like Leeds and York etc but I genuinely saw a 1 bed flat in a “desirable” area and this cost £1149 per WEEK! Not month, week!! Are you kidding me? I’d need that free paper as a duvet if I lived in London!
I’m also coming to understand why southerners think all northerners are grumpy tight gits! (oops may be my fault partly) but the differences between the two really is remarkable. I can’t believe we are from the same planet sometimes let alone the same country. I would like to take Northern charm and add it to a Southerners pay packet and I think we will have created the perfect English-person.