I was prompted the other day to think about my origins - or more specifically, where I consider that I have my roots.
Last weekend I spent a very pleasant couple of days in Chesterfield, the town where I grew up (I was actually born in Birmingham where my dad was at college learning how to be a teacher but we didn't stay there very long). I realised that a lot of the knowledge I had acquired while living there was gradually evaporating - street names, how to get to certain districts or outlying villages, former pub names, historical facts etc etc.
I then realised that I've now been living in London for longer than I lived in Chesterfield - 18 years in the south east of the city in particular, and another four years in and around college.
Londoners usually have me marked out very firmly as a northerner because of my accent, which endures. I will always have a short a (laff rather than larf, bath rather than barth) and a blunt u (which is very useful for most expletives). But I'll admit I'm starting to think of myself as a Londoner now - I know my way around here at least as well as I do around Chesterfield, which is a fraction of the size.
Perhaps I should think of myself as a healthy hybrid - a Londoner who believes there's life outside the city, and knows it's not grim up north at all!
Bedford River Festival
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