Thursday, 26 November 2009

A Northern Ode to Southern Tarts


After living with diabetes now for just about 18 months it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t have it, or at least have it to worry about. You’re constantly reminded about it, so there’s no real escape. I’ve been lucky though, with generally good levels, just a necessary and unwelcome chore several times a day when I have to make decisions about it. This is expressed extremely well in an article by Catherine Price, which I wish everyone without diabetes could read so they could gain some insight.

So, feeling a little nostalgic today, and that prompted a revisitation of the culture shock on moving from the North to the South of England. I’ve lived in the south of England now for around thirteen years. One thing that drew me here originally was an encounter with a young lady on an Open University summer school – nothing romantic, but she was absolutely delightful company and we corresponded for quite some time afterwards. It opened my eyes to how drab and boring my existence had lately become, in a rut with my job and with a virtually non-existent social life. So, I decided to try for a new job. With no ties I could apply anywhere in the country, and with no preconceptions was happy to go wherever life took me.

I was fortunate enough to find a new job quickly through an old friend of mine and, although the job soon became a bit of a drudge, having made that initial wrench made it easier to move on again. And so, here I find myself now, a broken femur and a chronic life-threatening disease later, reminiscing about how that young lady would jokingly mock my Northern ways and cheekily describe herself as a ‘Young Southern Tart…



I’ve often heard it stated about the Southern Parts
That the whole place is peopled by Young Southern Tarts,
And the one that’s most sought after by Rough Old Northern Men,
Is the one who is a Stunner, by the name of Mary Fenn!

For Southern social circles, fashion gurus in the Town,
Her special wit and wisdom are the source of her renown,
For she never races whippets, nor wears an old cloth cap,
Nor smokes a pipe on Sundays with a goose upon her lap!

But gracious is her nature when faced with those low-born,
Those sad old Northern peasants, that other Tarts would scorn.
This saying is their mantra, which warms them to the core:
‘Her arrival gives us pleasure, and she leaves us wanting more!’

A Northern Man exposes, in the passage of a week,
Such low-born traits and foibles that would make a Tart go weak!
His social interactions with the Southern and refined
Betray his common peasantry and feebleness of mind…

A pickled egg in Sheffield is thought of as a treat,
And the smartest men in Rotherham wear clogs upon their feet,
And the richest men in Barnsley with their fine two-bedroomed houses
Find no difficulty walking with a ferret in their trousers!

When faced with such barbarity, Miss Fenn displays her gifts,
And overcomes with sweet aptitude these trans-cultural shifts.
Her modesty is legend, and her smile will bring good cheer,
And the promise of those lovely lips turn Northern men to beer!

So Northern Man rejoices that the world contains such Tarts,
His pride restored and swelling (along with other parts),
Sing hip hooray for Mary! And hip hooray again!
For the Tart who is a stunner with an equally lovely brain!

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