I have a complex relationship with my home county. Generations of my family are Yorkshire. There’s a smidge of Lincolnshire and a dash of Derbyshire but fundamentally, it’s Yorkshire. And that is where I most identify; Sheffield is my home city, I swear like a Northerner, I say bath not barth and we’ve often discussed my Yorkshire Puddings. To me, despite my forever home being Kernow, Yorkshire is in my blood.
I’ve thought a lot about identity and home of late. I’m interested in other people’s relationship to their home counties, their home countries. I watched Grayson Perry last night, fascinated by the way some of the women he spoke to described Essex, how it inspires them, and influences who they are. I got aspiration, determination. I got a desire to prove people wrong wooshing up my nostrils like Jilly Goolding’s Hollyhocks.
It put me back to thinking about how I identify with Yorkshire.
I’m proud to be from Yorkshire. In a way I’m very much not proud to be English. An Australian friend (whose family were “First Fleeters”) picked me up on that recently. Whilst I could easily answer why I’m not a proud Brit, I couldn’t explain why I am a proud Yorkshire It just wasn’t so easy to say. It’s more a feeling, an instinct, a gut reflex (or is that heartburn?). Then last night, whilst idling on the couch, a poem came to mind. I don’t write poetry, I’m not particularly good at it, but this was loud and clear. So I wrote it down. And then I thought about it. At first glance it’s stereotypical, but then I thought about that, and realised that whilst on face value it might seem so, there is more to it than that. Which I think, sums up how I feel about my home county. So this is it, I make no apologies for it not being great. It is what it is:
Yorkshire, through and through,
it is what it is, I am what I am.
I don’t need that, you don’t either.
Fancy pants aint got no place, it’s graft and grit and home
Don’t get me wrong, I’m rarely ever, (apart from if I am).
Not that I care what you think about that,
cos it is what it is and I am what I am, I don’t need that and you don’t either.
Cos it’s home, it’s hills, it’s land, it’s love,
it’s graft, it’s grit, it’s pain, it’s hope.
It’s oppression, it’s passion,
it’s burn and be burned,
it’s straight forward, but it isn’t, it’s not black and white.
It is what it is, I am what I am,
and that’s what I think about that.