Thursday, 4 August 2011

Of No-fixed Regionality

It's all very well having dual nationality or owning a second house in an exotic location, but when you're getting National Express twice virtually every weekend, there comes a time you've got to stop booking tickets. I survived my last routine National Express journey some weeks ago and have since returned to my adopted home city of Leeds.

Having trawled up and down the country for 23 months, I decided some time ago there had to be an end date to this insanity. I first “part” moved to London to commute to Harlow for my journalism course and then stayed on when I realised so many employers wanted to see an address from the capital written on application forms and CVs.

Although I've spent nearly two years living in London, I've never really felt like a “Londoner”. Constantly rushing away at weekends, I've spent a grand total of three in London in that entire time. Delivering home tuition sessions at clients' houses, writing restaurant and bar reviews, attending film screenings and flitting across the capital at the command of a supply agency have all meant I've seen my fair share of London and some of its suburbs but I've never really had the time to get to know one part well.

It's only when I'm asked to name my favourite pub, club or restaurant, I begin to struggle and find myself instantaneously thinking of Leeds' addresses. Having spent my whole university course in the city, a further year of teacher training, five years teaching and a few years in various other roles, I can't help but think of Leeds as home – after all I've spent virtually all my adult life here.

Having applied for every suitable job imaginable, I've given the big smoke a pretty decent shot and got all I can from it. It's time to say goodbye to bed and room sharing, infuriating locks, scolding showers, deafening traffic and stuffy tubes... And of course my daily routines, London-based friends and all the reviewing opportunities London threw at me.

I'm still unemployed and working freelance and it looks like I'm going to have to continue living out of bags and boxes for an unforeseeable future but I'm no longer one half of a long-distance relationship and perhaps The Major might even warm to me more. Sad to go but relieved to be grounded again, if the London Underground billboards are true:

then perhaps I'm a quarter Londoner, a quarter Kentish and half Yorkshire? Except I don't drink coffee or own any designer bags...

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