“I’m going to buy buns for tea,” said Peter. “I thought you were all so poor,” said the Station Master. “So we are,” said Peter, confidentially, “but we always have three pennyworth of halfpennies for tea whenever Mother sells a story or a poem or anything.”
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Last weekend we took our first road trip of the year – to visit my family in Kingston-upon-Hull (our 13-year-old-niece informed us that only a ‘southerner’ would call Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull – locals call it ‘ull.)
It was wonderful to see our nieces who have all grown up and changed considerably since we saw them last at Christmas. Even the littlest one has progressed from terror to just tenacious. And I’m pleased to report that my little northern family has flourished over the COVID lockdown. For all sorts of reasons it’s been good for them as a family and of course it’s been a long hot summer for the girls, and conducive to good veggie-growing on their allotment.
“I would rather be a man toiling, suffering—nay, failing and successless—here, than lead a dull prosperous life in the old worn grooves of what you call more aristocratic society down in the South, with their slow days of careless ease.”
says Mr Thornton in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Have you read or watched Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (BBC version 2004)? Imagine the camera panning across the English countryside. Birds are tweeting, yellow roses adorn the hedgerows in full bloom, the sun shines, there are parties and pretty frocks? That’s the South. Now put a grey-blue filter over the lens and picture a hazy, sooty cityscape with chimneys and rooftops for miles, inclement weather, a crying child, a wide-eyed youngster in a flat cap and the constant din of industrial machinery. Voila – I give you, The North. Continue reading From Cod Wars to pa’ies: our trip to Hull and back again