Anyone with a Preston born mother, a 'converted to southernism' Geordie partner, three northern brother in laws, four hundred additional relatives, (who count for seventy five percent of the welfare club at any given Christmas, New Year or birthday celebration), and a daughter who resides in Aberb****ydeen... is more than entitled to discuss the merits of the North.
Do not mistake 'Northern beings' welcoming smiles for friendliness. This phenomenon is entirely due to the first pram outing. Sub zero temperatures cause the poor infants to clench their still gummy jaws in stretched frozen agony and thus they remain for the rest of their natural lives.
Northern beings will talk to anyone
Of course they will. They have fallen out with all four hundred relatives and it makes a change from mumbling into their beer. For the younger ones craving intellectual stimulation, talking to a southerner is probably the closest they will get to learning a foreign language and only slightly easier. 'My auntie's a southerner' instantly conjures up a picture of royalty. The fact that you don't arrive complete with a tiara will be an unforgivable disappointment to the clan.
Northern food is not. Pease pudding, a concoction of chickpeas lots of fat and, if you're lucky, a bit of bacon, is the northern equivalent of a dubious and somewhat noxious late night kebab from greasy Sams. Guaranteed to cause serious late night vomiting and several cellulite dimples to the thighs.
Northern fish and chips leave a layer of grease clinging to the upper palette so thick you could roast the Sunday joint in it. Worse still, northern women are still expected to cook the obligatory Sunday roast while the men go down t'club and roll in at three PM, so alcohol drenched they couldn't tell whether they were eating roasted charcoal or whelks. Several farts and belches later, they duly announce 'Eh that was grand' and fall asleep while the poor - nay stupid - women clear up their plates, their cardies and any other parts of their anatomy or the furniture that the food happens to have landed on.
'Eh but he works hard, 'E as to 'ave a dinner'.
Works hard my arse. The man of the house is either landed gentry, in which case his money has been inherited and his sole ambition is to make sure no one else gets a slice of it. Or the lazy s*d has been on the dole for the past twenty years and moonlights for 'Our Jim' to earn enough hooky money to stand his round in t'club.
'Oh but the scenery is beautiful'
Possibly if you can find it. Pockets of Hardy country surrounded by terminally grey, impossible to find your way out of, motorway junctions and sprawling cesspits they call cities. Entering Manchester, via Eccles, heading for the newly revamped Salford Quays is an experience. Pub, launderette, pawnshop, pub, launderette, pawnshop etc.
When eventually you do find the perfect English village, be it on the dales the moors or wherever, you are instantly surrounded by a delegation from the most verbally irritating race on the planet. 'Oh gee honey it's so quaint'. Nerves shattered you dive back to t'club for another round and more of the ghastly pease pudding.
Scotland is truly beautiful, the countryside that is. The cities are grey citadels paying homage to a bygone age, surrounded by equally grey tower blocks (somehow granite doesn't translate well to low income). On the down side the Scots have no sense of humour whatsoever (Billy Connolly has to have southern blood), and they are probably the most professional miseries and misers on the planet.
Granted, they are hospitable. Men will be invited down t'club to stand several rounds for all the relatives. Being a southerner and therefore possibly employed, he can naturally afford it. Women will be invited to help with the Sunday roast, the washing up and any other suitable domestic chores. Do not even consider going down t'club with the men. You will instantly be labelled 'floozy'. Of course you may join in on festive occasions, someone has to help fill the glasses at the family party.
The family party
Northerners believe that filling a house meant for no more than four persons with all their living relatives means a good time will be had by all. What a ninety year old, zimmer framed, great aunt Sadie has in common with a three year old, whose sole mission in life is to knock the offending zimmer frame to the ground causing Sadie to topple over and break her hip replacement... again, is a mystery. The highlight of the evening is Uncle George doing his Snozzle Durante impression, thumping away at an out of tune piano, accompanying himself with an equally out of tune voice and proudly sporting a plastic beaker on his nose... hysterical.
Despite this one can have some positively splendid Christmases in northern climes, and they do know how to do New Year. It is however a well known fact that the single most impressive, beautiful and 'guaranteed to raise ones spirits' feature of the North, is the M1 South.