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The Thoughts of a Northerner in London


A Northern Girl in London

I’ve lived in the Big smoke now for two years, after moving from a ten year stint in Manchester City Centre. There are things that I miss, and things that I really don’t miss, but there are definitely some pro’s to living in the North of England. I was sat in my Mum’s living room in our cosy house near Wigan, when a few London truths dawned on me. And in the general theme of my life right for the past four years, I figured I’d share!


In London, the cold water tap runs cool. In the North, the water runs like Mount Everest’s run off. I’m not joking, I have to wait for the water to get back up to room temperature or buy countless packs of Sensodyne. This is also not a complaint. The water tastes amazing this cold and this fresh. I would take it over luke warm London water any day.


It’s wonderful to be able to see the colour of the shiny metal taps, shower and surfaces in the North. Why? Because they’re free of limescale. If you’d like all of your water based appliances to look like they’re covered in 30 year old water drips, try out the London water for size. Limescale has to become your new best friend. As does Lime Scale remover.


London is huge. Massive. After living in Manchester for ten years, and being able to walk from one end of the city centre to the other, in around 35 minutes, moving to London was an eye opener. I remember going for a few meetings in London in the early days, when I had no idea of it’s scale. I had arranged back to back meetings, taking no account of the length of time it would take me to get from Meeting A to Meeting B to Meeting C. It was honestly a day from hell, with too much sweat, frustration and missed meetings. That day I realised I had taken Manchester’s size for granted. You need to leave at least an hour in between movements in the big city.


England isn’t actually that rainy of a country. That’s Manchester. Even Wigan doesn’t rain all *that* much. Living in Manchester for ten years had me believing the rest of the country was always rained off too. Until I moved to London and realised that there actually is a Summer in England. Fancy that!


Smiling at and or saying hello to strangers you pass by, is absolutely okay, if you’re in the North. Northerners are generally a touch more grounded and friendly. Leaving a cafe in the North last week had us receiving goodbye’s from every member of staff, the owner, a guy at the bar, two ladies sat drinking coffees and their baby. The fact that we realised how unusual this was had us querying how long we had lived in the South.


The generic 10% optional english tipping system isn’t 10% in London. Its 12%. And in fact, don’t worry about it as it’ll already be on your bill.


I don’t think those that were born in the South have realised how excellent gravy actually is. Especially when you pour it on everything. Treating yourself to a ‘chippy’ tea is not the same when you can’t have thick gravy to pour over your chips. I was born in Wigan, the home of the pie. So gravy is something I grew up with, like I said, poured on everything.


As a Northerner in London, one of the conversations that you will probably have once per day starts with, ‘So, where about’s are you from then?!’ If you don’t sound Southern, you’re practically a legal alien from some unknown land further North and it’s apparently a fun guessing game to work out your hometown via your accent. In honesty, I quite enjoy this game.


In the North, you have breakfast, dinner and tea, rather than in the South where it is breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tea, in the North, is the term for not only afternoon tea or a cup of tea, but dinnertime, when you sit down for your main meal at 6pm. Referring to tea in the South makes you look like a crazy tea drinking lady. But mixing up the two, and referring to lunchtime to a Southerner as dinner, makes things ever so complicated. Too many times I have asked to have dinner with someone and they’ve thought I was asking them for a 6pm meeting!

With all that said, I adore London and a lot of the people in it. It just amazes me, that with just a two hour train ride between us, two of the best cities in England can be so varied. They both have their quirks and wonderful aspects that I love to bits and I feel so lucky that I have had the chance to experience living in both places in such a short time.

I’d love to know if you have moved from one big city to another, and what you found to be the biggest and funniest differences!

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