Dinner at noon
I took this picture in Ulverston because it sums up something that I'm interested in but can't quite describe. A sort of localness. What I love about Britain is that places can be so close together but so different, and that there's an interesting mix of commonness and localness (these aren't the right words but I can't think of a good alternative). In this case it's mealtimes. We all eat meals, right? But in the north (and north is a movable feast) the words are familiar but they mean different things. And it sounds trivial but it's really, really important because these differences sum up who you are.
I won't embarrass myself by trying to explain the difference between dinner and tea (feel free to interject) but in Cumbria, lunch (or is it dinner?) starts very early. When we went to the Laurel & Hardy Museum the owner was nipping out for fish and chips at 11am. As Scots are always lambasted for having the worst diet in Europe this was comforting. I felt commonness in fried food and localness in timing. And I wondered what the impact of this is on the rest of the day. Is it a sort of breakfast like a king/dine like a pauper sort of thing, or is it chips again for tea (or dinner depending on your location)?
Lately, there have been more things about distinctiveness + geography like Coast and Comedy Map of Great Britain or the Culture Show's alternative plaques. It runs through Nothing To See Here. And as the web is very good for supporting specialisation it's a seam of interestingness worth mining. In this vein I've just finished reading Pies and Prejudice: in search of the north by Stuart Maconie - a sort of overview of localness in the north of England. It tries to define where "the north" is for a start (ironically south from here) and delves into the various parts investigating their rivalries and differences. It's a fascinating, entertaining read, and I wish there was an equivalent for the rest of the country. This Guardian review seems to prove Maconie's point (he's a Lancastrian) that Yorkshiremen are pretty humourless.