Friday, 1 May 2009

"I an't got ner patties"

Something very odd happened recently, and it caught me by surprise. I actually, albeit briefly, felt homesick for Hull. Quite unexpectedly.

I'm not quite sure what brought it on. The Hull-Hull KR derby was on telly over the easter weekend, and maybe I missed being around that buzz it always creates. It might have been visiting the local chippy in Pateley and having fish yet again, because they don't sell patties outside of a 5 mile radius of Hull. (God, I miss Patties. I'd drive 150 miles each way for a pattie fix.) Possibly, it was seeing the Humber Bridge on Sky Sports News, whilst they were previewing Hull City's imminent defeat by Middlesbrough. It might have been a combination of all those things. All I know is, for the first time in nearly two years since I properly left the city, and my job there, I actually wanted to go 'home'.

I use the word 'Home' reservedly. Hull is my birthplace (ok let's be pedantic, North Ferriby - it says Elloughton on my passport and I'm sticking to it). It's where I was brought up. Went to school, and university. Had my first pint. It's where I first fell in love -and got dumped. It's where I met my wife. Started work. Think of any major event in your life, and I did it in Hull. It shaped my entire early-to-recent life.

Yet I never felt totally at home there. Never settled. In the thirteen-plus years I've been with Mrs. Beetwaste, we've lived in seven houses, and there's been something wrong with every one of them that's made us decide to move on. Finally, we've moved to Nidderdale (no, not Sutton Park, the real Nidderdale in North Yorkshire) and it's great. It's lambing time. Every other field is full of sheep and lambs, and we can see them out of our window. We made a home in our favourite part of the world where we've been coming on holiday for years, and it's just fantastic. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Until the other day. As I say, it caught me quite by surprise. I was sat at work, waiting for yet another call about home insurance, and got to thinking about Hull. Walking along the Victoria pier, and gazing across (in the words of Larkin) 'where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet' . Wandering down Whitefriargate (when it had shops). Sitting in Queens Gardens on a Saturday afternoon, eating a Fletchers sausage roll. Indeed, revisiting Queens Gardens on a Saturday night, for other reasons I won't discuss here!

And I guess that's when I snapped out of it. Fletcher's has gone now, and the Hull I remember is promptly disappearing as well. I had some pretty bad experiences in Hull, but I suppose you only remember the good things, and that's not a bad thing at all. I've moved on, and I'm glad I did, because even at 36 I still have some ambition left - which after 34 years was never coming to fruition in Hull. Leeds is a dump, a hole, a dirty, God-forsaken place, but work-wise there are far more opportunities than Hull ever offered. (I wouldn't actually live in Leeds, though. Not a chance.)

I think that the familiarity, the nostalgia, was what made me homesick. If I wanted to buy something, I'd know exactly where to go in Hull. Tyres? Londesborough street. Car parts? Waterloo. Haircut in Harrogate? errrrrrrr pass. It's going to take a very long time to become familiar with this area, and I've come to realise it'll take years, not months. That's what I miss. Not the city. And, that's what hit home recently.

Hull, I salute you, but I've got to go - for now. Just, please, export patties. Pateley Bridge needs them.

1 comment:

  1. Leeds is a shithole and Hull is misunderstood. That's all anyone needs to know.