Being a Northerner Down South

As you will know, if you follow me on Twitter, I am originally from the North West of England – Haydock, to be precise.  Haydock as in the race course – that seems to be how I describe Haydock to anyone down South.  I am a Northerner living down South.

I moved down South in the early 90’s and lived the good life as a single girl in London.  Oh, the memories of Ladbroke Grove on a Saturday, Camden on a Sunday, drinks by the Thames most evenings after work, house parties, flat-shares, games nights and lots and lots of drinking.  Living in London on the Millennium was pretty amazing.  I am still not sure how I managed to fit in any work with the social life I had, but somehow I did.  I loved London and still do.

I took a short break from London to live overseas as a holiday rep (the less said about that the better, my mother reads this blog) and then in 2002, I met my husband – a proper Enfield boy – and we moved to Kent in 2003 after we married.

In effect, I have lived down south for longer than I lived up North but the North is in my blood and I still think of myself as a Northerner.

The Accent:

When I first moved to London and started to work in the travel industry, I consciously changed the way I pronounced one word.  Booking.  I pronounced it “boo-king” not “book-ing” much to the amusement of my work colleagues.  Whenever I waltzed up to someone and said “can I chat about this boo-king”, I was always met with “calm down, calm down” and lots of waving of arms and head bobbing.  Harry Enfield has a lot to answer for!!!

Now, although my accent has changed, I am no longer regarded as having a Northern accent when I am up North but I am also not regarded as having a Southern accent when I am down south.  The Northerners think I speak like a Southerner and the Southerners think I speak like a Northerner.

Even my youngest likes to get involved in taking the mick out of the way I pronounce certain words and letters.  He also likes to tell people he can speak two languages – English and Northern.  Although in my defence, he thought ‘thirteen’ started with an F and he rarely pronounces the T in qualiTy.  He gets that from his Dad.

The Language:

Pants and trousers.  When I grew up, the boys wore pants and underpants.  Down here we have trousers and pants.  On occasion back up North, the pants/trousers were also referred to as Kecks/Kex – usually when describing Farah trousers in the 80’s.  Farah Kecks/Kex – a must have item for any wardrobe.

Lunch, Dinner, Tea or Supper?

This is a favourite discussion in our home.

When I was growing up, we had breakfast, dinner and tea.  My children now have breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Visiting my parents, who still live up North, is entertaining when my mum asks what people want for dinner and my eldest, very literal, son just cannot get his head around why his Grandma calls it dinner when it’s lunch.  Tea is something he drinks, as far as he is concerned you don’t have a meal called Tea.

Thankfully breakfast is the same throughout.  We have introduced him recently to Brunch and that has been entertaining.  Why have brunch and not breakfast and lunch?  Why have one meal instead of two?  He also believes this means the word lunch has to be correct as we call it Brunch and not Brinner!


I recently read a very amusing article in The Guardian from David Barnett.  What is a pie barm?  I read this with tears rolling down my face because I can still remember the first time my husband saw me put a pie on a barm (aka Bap, Roll, Bun) – he really thought I was joking.  If you have never tried it, you really have to.  It’s a carb feast, so perhaps just an occasional treat and usually best to have Gaviscon available for an hour or so later – but definitely worth a go.  The heartburn is a small price to pay for such a glorious combination.  I grew up on Pimbletts pies – when Gran came on a Thursday they were always on the menu for dinner tea, along with a barm and of course, one of their infamous vanilla slices.

One thing I sadly missed down South was Chip Shops offering Chips and Gravy!

Down South, this is just not done.  Mushy peas – yes. Curry sauce – yes.  Gravy – WHAT????  When I asked for this in any chip shops down south, the reaction always made me think of Peter Kay’s Dad when offered Garlic Bread.  “Garlic?  And Bread? Did I hear you right?”  I used to get this look of pure confusion.  “Chips?  With Gravy?”  You would think I had asked for some rare foreign delicacy.

Chips and Gravy

Instagram – Chips & Gravy

So imagine my pure delight when we purchased the caravan last year and found out that our lovely Clubhouse offers Chips and Gravy on the menu