Friday, October 16, 2009

East is East

Heading down to Bath today with Sandy and AJ to visit No. 1 son at university.

Its James' first term, so it will be instructive to see if he's found the library yet...  

Travelling down provokes some thought and discussion on the nature of regional identity.  This week, Radio 4 launched their new weather map.  Henceforward, weather information will be delivered on a regional basis.  Wales and Scotland are straightforward, of course, but some of the regional boundaries are a bit trickier - so for us, the North East apparently begins at the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire border. 

Its a fraught subject, of course.  I remember when I was little thinking the North began at Gloucester - Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle were just a jumble of names. 

Bristol is usually classed as being in the south west.  No-one would argue, however that south Gloucestershire, however, has very little in common with Cornwall, say.  It was these type of complexities that helped bedevil the whole Regional Assembly debate.

These place settings can have an iconic hold over us.  I vividly recall being very homesick when I first came up here (to go to university) and looking very wistfully at the road signs marked "To the South".  Now I can't wait to get back to Darlo, albeit the signs on the M42 round Birmingham marked "To the North East" always make me smile.  Stotties in Solihul anyone?

And then there's accents.  For me, the North begins at Yorkshire (just as the North East begins at the Tees).  The Nottingham accent, however, always sound distinctly 'Northern' to me.

Which brings me neatly back to James and university.  It's a quirk of fate, that at the same age I made the journey 300 miles north from just outside Bath to Durham - and James has made a mirror-image passage in the opposite direction. 

It has taken me the best part of 20 years to stop pronouncing 'Bath' with a long 'A'.  James,  however, naturally pronounces it with a short 'A', and scoffed at me when I said he would soon be saying Bath as if it were spellt  'Baarth'.  We shall soon see....
Cllr Nick Wallis
Cabinet Member Sustainable Environment and Climate Change

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ex-labour said...

yes Nick well done talk about the weather, regions and accents while Rome burns!

So like many of your NuLabour cronies try to divert the attention from the real trouble within the Labour party sleeze, corruption, expenses Williams overspends and Mandelson.

Anything but what is making all us suffer and bringing down the Labour party.

We have an unelected PM who is shite, we here in Darlington have a leader who is shite and now we have loads of MP's who simply rob us blind then when caught just have to say sorry. Sad to say Brown has paved the way for a Tory landslide and by your (nulabours) complicity you too have destroyed the last bastion of hope for all us North East Labour faithful.

Enjoy your trip

Anonymous said...

Morning Councillor. You might be interested in this

Data released today showed that public sector net borrowing rose to £14.8 billion in September, the highest ever level of borrowing on record for the month, increasing from £8.7 billion a year ago. Gordon’s big and bloated government is overspending by £493 million a day or £20 million an hour, 24 hours a day, every day.

Care to comment? Don't suppose your lot will be allowed anywhere near the finances of this country ever again.

Perhaps Ada should start to brief the opposition parties on the state of Darlington's finances in preparation for the new administration taking over in 2011 which wont be Labour.

Enjoy your hols.