Today Evan and I ventured into enemy territory. Lancashire. The chronically foreign amongst you may not be aware of the enmity between the two Northern England counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. On the face of it they have a lot in common; dramatic hilly landscapes, shared borders, large industrial cities born of the industrial revolution, and of course a healthy distain for the fancy ways of those Southern Jessies from London.
But never-the-less, the animosity runs deep.
I’m no historian, but as far as I’m aware it dates back to the War of the Roses (1453-1487 if you’re keeping count). As far as I can work out the whole thing centered around conflicting claims to the throne from the Duke of Lancaster and the Duke of York; but to be honest I’ve been trying to make sense of it on the Mighty Wikipedia and it all reads like an episode of Desperate Housewives to me.
But even then that’s probably not true. After all, as any fule kno, the Dutchy of Lancashire actually spreads throughout Cheshire, Gloucestershire, and North Wales; and the Duke of York probably had no greater links to the area than the inbred parasite that currently holds the position does. In my extensive research on the issue (i.e. looking at the first result that came up on a google search) I found the suggestion that the rivalry between the two counties was actually a creation of the ruling classes during the industrial revolution in an effort to slow down the development of working class movements throughout the North of England. The bastards.
I have an entire series of poorly researched and inaccurate posts in my head surrounding the development of social movements in my area. After all, I livejust acouple of miles away from where the Luddite movement reached it’s crescendo. But that will have to wait until another day as, quite frankly, i can’t be arsed to drudge it up from my brain at the moment.
But it is interesting how much that invisible boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire has an influence on me.
I was born and raised in Yorkshire, and am as proudof that fact as my self depreciating nature allows me to be. However genetically I’m very much a southerner. My dad is from Hampshire and my Mum is an Australian (which, lets face it is about as southern as you can get). I have lived nearly all my life on the border between the two counties. Formatively in Holmfirth and more recently in Slathwaite (or Slawit as Rol would have you believe).
In days gone by the route into Lancashire was difficult and treacherous. The boundary between the two counties is a low rising mountain range of the Pennines (the same mountain range incidentally that my brother intends to walk the 268 mile length of, the bloody idiot). These days however the car, modern roads, and the creation of the M62 have all but eliminated any barrier that once may have existed. While once physical, the barrier between Yorkshire and Lancashire is now purely psychological.
Actually the creation of the M62 is also a badly researched post in itself too. Perhaps I should be making a list or something.
I live roughly equidistantly between the major cities of Leeds and Manchester. The former in Yorkshire and the latter in Lancashire. Arguably you could say that Manchester is the more culturally rich of the two cities. It has bigger venues, more theaters, and generally more going on. It even has it’s own edition of Time Out. However it’s a rare day indeed that we make the journey over the Pennines to visit it. Of course since we became parents we don’t get to Leeds much either, but the point still stands.
It even goes further than this. Due to various things going on at work I’ve been keeping half an eye on various NHS vacancy bulletins for the last six months or so. It only occurred to me last week that I should bee looking at jobs in Oldham and Rochdale just as much as I am in Wakefield and Bradford.
I just have a mental block when it comes to straying onto the other side of the hill. Like in my mind the roads just come to a full stop or something. The whole thing is just odd, and it fascinates me.
But all that is beside the point. What I was saying before i so rudely interrupted myself was that Evan and I took a trip into Lancashire this afternoon on a highly top secret mission. It involved Chinese men, caravans, and a polystyrene box with wires coming out of it. And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.
Wasn’t that a bloody long post for basically no information? Well, as Whit would say, that’s just the way I roll man, just the way I roll.