Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Hated Move Is Now Love Affair Thanks to Beauty; Opinion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Hated Move Is Now Love Affair Thanks to Beauty; Opinion

Article excerpt

Byline: Geoffrey Weipert

THE comments of Lord Howell regarding fracking caused me to reminisce about my own thoughts on the North East... and as "a southerner" how they have changed over the years.

I will say before I go any further, that today I love the region and its people. However, this wasn't always the case.

It's 35 years since I was forced to relocate to the area by the London-based company I worked for. Until then, I had never lived outside of the South East for any extended period of time.

I am afraid to say that I was initially very reticent about such a move. My wife was positively apoplectic at the thought of having to mix with "grim Northerners" in a bleak industrial backwater.

This may sound like a terribly snobbish attitude to adopt, but you have to understand that this was the 1970s and our knowledge of the North East didn't extend beyond accidental viewings of popular TV Shows of the time such as The Likely Lads and When the Boat Comes In.

Myself and other colleagues who had been invited to move protested vehemently to such an extent that we even offered to take reduced salaries if we could avoid a move so far north.

This was to no avail and our CEO was adamant; so in September 1978, we made the journey up the A1 to Newcastle.

At that time, we were a family of three.

Integration into the North Eastern way of life was by no means easy.

There was the language barrier for starters, obviously.

It is fair to say We had bought a house in the suburb of Jesmond and, unlike today, where the population is almost exclusively non-northern, most of the residents were very definitely "Geordie". the weather was a shock to the system and the food was awful It was very difficult to converse with tradesmen and shopkeepers, as roughly only one word in five would actually be recognisably English. …

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