Earlier this evening when I’d switched off the computer and gone for a walk, my path intersected with a man with a wide-brimmed hat and a wild straggly beard, carrying a huge White Rose of Yorkshire flag over his shoulder. We passed each other by with a cheery “Happy Yorkshire Day!” and carried on our separate ways.
It got me thinking, as I carried on my walk, about my connections with Yorkshire. For a long time I’ve considered myself a displaced scouser, really belonging in Liverpool. But the fact is I’ve lived in Yorkshire since 1991 – which is a lot longer than the hometown I left when I was 18. Yorkshire is where I got a degree, built a career, bought my first house and got married. I learned to drive on Huddersfield’s precipitously steep hills, acquiring the kind of clutch control which Liverpool’s plains could never have given me. I gave birth in Yorkshire’s hospitals and have brought up children here. I’ve done the Three Peaks, like a Bradford curry, have shaken hands with Harry Gration and know enough local trivia to remember why that Sheffield Wednesday fanzine is called War of the Monster Trucks. Let’s face it, I’m practically a tyke.
My walk this evening – one of those ‘just get out of the house and get a breath of fresh air walks’ – took me round a few local streets in this fairly average suburban bit of North Leeds. But the man with the flag, and the Yorkshire thoughts he prompted, made me realise just how many memories I’ve got here now. Where to spot foxes as it gets dark. The best trees for conkers. Streets I’ve walked down every day for years, starting off with babies wrapped up in their buggies, then walking them to school a few years later and one day letting them go off with their mates.
Yes, I think it’s safe to say that Yorkshire is home now. And I’m very glad it is. So here’s some photos of life in God’s own county – and a slightly belated Happy Yorkshire Day!