If you’re a child of the Westcountry, as I am, a funny thing happens to your sense of geography. And when I speak of the Westcountry, I primarily mean Devon and Cornwall, though Somerset, and possibly Dorset, may also be included.
To wit: The North begins at Bristol, with its peculiar, faux-farmer accent. I normally draw a straight line from Bristol to the South Coast, and anything east of that line is the North. Even if it clearly isn’t. It’s not in the Westcountry, therefore it’s North.
Now, intellectually, I know this is arrant nonsense. The North really begins at Birmingham, as soon as you leave the M5, but Bristol to Birmingham is still pretty northern.
Moving to a place that’s nearly Manchester? Well, now, that’s the wastelands of the North, where it’s cold and grim and life is hard. And yet, this is what I and my husband have found ourselves doing. All because of a PhD in Stoke-on-Trent (and you should hear what even the Northerners said about that place! Though a brief trip into the centre makes me think it can’t be all that bad).
Anyway, it’s a part of the country I don’t know well, having grown up in Devon, gone to uni in London and then moved to Dorset while the Husband did his MSc. And now one of my 1001 lives will be exploring the North. Or are we just in the Midlands?