There has been a lot of “top secret” things happening over the last few months, which have meant zero time to jet off anywhere. And as I haven’t been abroad since my trip to India back in April, there’s not been much to share with you by the way of travels. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been travelling though – oh no.
To tell the truth, nearly every weekend since April I’ve actually been driving up and down the country.
So because today is Yorkshire Day (and because I just can’t keep it a secret anymore), I’m super excited to announce that at the end of the month I will be moving full-time to Yorkshire.
I’ll be packing my bags, boxes and cats over the coming weeks and driving us 250 miles up the motorway to start a new life in the North, living with my Yorkshireman boyfriend in the little village of Burton Pidsea. It’s obviously not a decision I’ve made lightly and there have been times when I’ve questioned my sanity, though the more I visit and explore the area, the more I feel it’s the right thing to do.
I’ve lived in the South my whole life – in fact, save for a few years living in London, I’ve always lived in Reading. There’s nothing wrong with Reading; it’s actually quite a nice town (and has great transport links). But there are plenty of reasons I want to make the move to the North, including…
1. The people.
Having visited over 20 countries in the last 29 years, I’ve met many different kinds of people. From the smiley, happy locals in The Gambia that mum and I made friends with back in 2014, to the chatty, friendly Norwegians I met in a bar when exploring Oslo on my first solo adventure last year. And then there are the Brazilian girls I bonded with in Cartagena, as well as the Colombian families who welcomed me into their homes with open arms last summer.
The folk of Yorkshire are something else entirely, though.
Sure, Yorkshiremen (which is the collective noun for both men and women from Yorkshire) are welcoming and friendly, but they’re also neighbourly and, well, genuinely nice. And there’s a real sense of community up here.
In Reading I don’t even know my next-door neighbours’ names, despite having lived in the same flat for five years. Up here though you not only know their names, but you know their children’s names, their dog’s name, what they ate for dinner last night and where their backdoor key is kept in case of an emergency.
And though I don’t always get the jokes first time around (sometimes I do wish the Yorkshire accent came with subtitles), I find the dry Northern sense of humour very refreshing. People are a lot more laid-back than the city types down south, and I’m really looking forward to a slower, more chilled pace of life.
2. The places.
Yorkshire is a beautiful county, so it’s no surprise to hear the locals describe it as “God’s Own Country”. Admittedly I haven’t seen that much of it yet, and as it is the UK’s largest county, it’s gonna take a while to explore it all, but the places I’ve been thus far have really taken my breath away.
Last weekend the boyfriend and I took the dog for a walk around Hessle Foreshore, a leafy green park alongside the banks of the River Humber. Chasing around after a 13-week-old black lab puppy is thirsty work, so we stopped for a quiet drink at The Country Park Inn afterwards, where we enjoyed this spectacular view:
Unlike where I live down south, in Yorkshire you don’t have to drive hours to find somewhere quiet and peaceful. Even the little village of Burton Pidsea is beautiful, especially around harvest time:
And then there are the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors. These vast stretches of unspoilt countryside are breathtakingly, achingly beautiful. When you’re in the Moors your nearest neighbour is at least a 5-minute walk away, down a bumpy dirt track (which is probably carved out by the chunky tyres of a 4×4 or tractor), and when you open your bedroom curtains you can just see green for miles. Bliss.
3. The pubs.
There are plenty of pubs and bars to chose from in Reading. But actually, I think that’s part of the problem. There’s not just one pub you can call your local. And if there is one that’s closer than the others, the staff either changeover too frequently or are too busy to remember your face and therefore your poison.
Not the pubs up here though. The friendly barmaids and barmen will have your drink on the bar before you’ve even asked for it.
The city centres of Leeds, Sheffield and York are a lot more metropolitan and more akin to the watering holes I’m used to, offering colourful cocktails made from a variety of spirits. But actually, I quite like the fact that the only dark rum available in The Stags Head Inn in Lelley is Captain Morgan’s. Plus the decor in there is cute and countrified, and it’s a dog-friendly pub.
4. The prices.
Another reason the pubs in Yorkshire are better than those down south, is the prices. Living just outside London, I’ve become accustomed to southern prices. A pint could cost as much as £4, if not more in the Big Smoke. Whereas a pint of Carling is £3.20 in the local in Burton Pidsea. Yep.
It’s not just alcohol that’s cheaper though; public transport, petrol and houses are all cheaper up north, making the decision to move financially attractive.
5. The pattie butties (and other Yorkie delicacies).
‘What on earth is a pattie buttie?’ I hear you asking. I asked the exact same when the boyfriend said he’d take me for one to “welcome me to Yorkshire”. Well this, ladies and gentlemen, is a pattie buttie:
It’s basically a big fishcake in a roll (or a “breadcake” as Yorkshire folk say… let’s not start that debate now). But unlike a fishcake from a chippy down South, the pattie is battered rather than breadcrumbed. It’s also double the thickness of a fishcake, so I assume has at least double the amount of calories. But hey, who’s counting? All I know is that they’re delicious, if filling.
Then there’s Chip Spice. You know Nando’s piri piri chips? Well Chip Spice is basically like the dust that Nando’s puts on its chips, but not as spicy and a tad more salty. And while you have to request (and pay extra for) piri piri salt on your fries in Nando’s, Chip Spice comes as standard when you buy a portion of chips from anywhere in Hull. It’s also only available in supermarkets in Hull.
Obviously one of the finest (and best known) things to come from the county is the Yorkshire pudding. As an accompaniment to a perfect (preferably Yorkshire beef) roast dinner or as the staple ingredient of toad in the hole, you can’t beat a good Yorkshire pudding drowning in gravy.
True Yorkshiremen know that a Yorkshire pudding isn’t just for a roast dinner though. Serve it filled with onion gravy as a starter, or with butter and sugar as a dessert. Or, as I’m going to try tonight at the Handmade Burger Co, as a bun for a burger. Yep, you read correctly. Tonight I will be celebrating Yorkshire Day (and my upcoming move to the county) eating a “Yorkie Burger”.
6. The pollution (or rather, lack thereof).
Being a townie, I’m used to busy, noisy streets. I’m used to lots of people, everywhere. I’m used to being stuck in traffic jams and having to use my horn a lot. I’m used to congestion and pollution and litter.
One of the things I love about being in Yorkshire is the peace and quiet. I can actually hear birds chirping at 4am, which is a welcome contrast to the roar of sirens from the local hospital or a noisy brawl between a drunken couple walking home after a messy Friday night.
7. The phrases.
I’ve already mentioned the accent, which is something I do struggle with up here. Some of the people I’ve met have had thicker accents than others (especially the people up in Farndale). I’ll admit though, I am that person who asks someone to repeat something twice, still doesn’t understand what they’re saying so gives up and just nods while smiling.
I’m learning though, thanks to the help of my Yorkshire teacher/boyfriend. Here are a few of the phrases I’ve picked up over the last few months (some more useful than others…):
- It be reet – It’ll be alright, everything will be ok.
- Steady away – It’ll be a nice, easy day for me today.
- Packing my nose bag – Making my pack lunch.
- Like a shilling dinner – cheap.
- Bairn – A child.
- Breadcake – A bread roll, bap, bun.
- Pikelet – A crumpet.
- Breakfast, dinner, tea, supper – Breakfast, lunch, dinner (no supper for Southerners).
8. And finally, the puppy.
Then, as if I needed any more convincing to move up, this happened:
So, there you have it. Eight reasons why I’m swapping my life down south for a life in the North. Once I’m all up and settled (and got my feet under the table in my new job), I’ll look at travelling a bit more. After all, I’ve still got to hit my 30 countries before 30 challenge.