Mersey woman about town


The real north-south divide

I seem to be spending quite a lot of time on trains at the moment. I don’t find the journeys themselves that much of a bind to tell you the truth, as long as I don’t have someone with BO sweating away next to me or if there’s no annoying toddler in the seat behind kicking me up my backside, un-reprimanded.

I can make good of the hours as the countryside and towns whistle past, by either reading or writing.  As I’ve said on this blog before, earwigging is a major thing for me as a writer and wherever I go in t’north I pick up lots of tasty snippets of conversation in all sorts of places.

On the trip down to the London Book Fair on Tuesday morning this week, I had to change at Crewe of all places. I was there for a grand total of twelve short minutes, made delicious because of two lovely women I ‘overheard’.

The two ladies met up by the loos – as you do – one exclaiming to the other (who had a full ‘face’ on) ‘You look glam!’ to which her friend nodded and replied thus, ‘Yes, I rinsed out these trousers this morning and dried them on the radiator’.
I found this hilariously funny and moved on quickly lest they spy me sniggering and whipping out my notebook to write the exchange down.

I had to stuff my knuckles in my mouth when I sat in my back garden a couple of week ago listening to my (admittedly unsophisticated) neighbour talking to his mates.

‘Spiders can’t jump, you know.’
‘What d’you mean, they can’t jump?’
‘I’m telling you, they can’t because they’ve got no knees.’
‘How do they get around, then?’
(THINKS) ‘Well they’ve got loads of legs so it makes them go faster.’
‘Mind you our Lee used to have a tarantula. I used to get it stoned by putting a spliff in its tank.’
‘Did you?’
‘Yeah. It f**king well jumped then all right. Off its t*ts it was (LAUGHS – A LOT WHILE FRIEND LISTENS, INCREDULOUS) .  I frigging love animals, me. I prefer them to people.’

You couldn’t make it up and although I do not condone cruelty to spiders in any way I found this highly comical too.

I’m not suggesting that us northerners are a joke cracking lot with little else to occupy our time, but when I’m in London I just don’t get the same quality material I’m used to back home.
At the London Book Fair for example, I mainly heard ‘I’ll have 3,00 of those’, ‘Portugese rights’ (a very popular one this year) or, my own personal favourite, ‘stupendous!’
Oh, and much air kissing.

I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed that the south isn’t holding up its end in the unintentional comedy stakes…or am I wrong and simply noseying into the wrong conversations?

Broken, a collection of my short stories, is available on Amazon for Kindle now here

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6 comments on “The real north-south divide

  1. Kath
    April 18, 2012

    Maybe the LBF isn’t the best place to glean humorous conversational snippets because it’s full of people who know exactly what writers do with them and don’t want to be in someone’s next book/blog post/tweet?

  2. cathbore
    April 18, 2012

    You may well have something there…

  3. Bill Chance
    April 18, 2012

    Fun entry – I have never heard the work “earwigging” before – at least when used like this. I don’t hear much interesting conversation on the trains – most folks are nodding off – but I love earwigging in coffee shops. One that I go to is popular in the evenings with couples meeting from Internet dating sites. It’s pretty fun listening to these folks trying to impress each other.

    • cathbore
      April 19, 2012

      I think earwigging is a northern phrase! Yes I can imagine almost couple coming out with all sort of baloney would be a rich seam for any writer to mine…

  4. martcibe
    April 18, 2012

    I think that’s spot on Cath. There’s a playfulness, idiosyncracy and sense of the naughty in Northern everyday language which you don’t get down south as much. It’s hard to imagine Alan Bennett’s (for instance !) writing being quite so rich if he’d grown up in Reading.

  5. cathbore
    April 19, 2012

    Nice point re: Alan Bennett; he’s certainly a one off! Thanks for your comment

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This entry was posted on April 18, 2012 by in books, bookshops, e-publishing, ebooks, Liverpool, Manchester, writing and tagged , .

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