The first question I am always asked is ‘How long have you lived up North?”
As someone who has spent more of my life in the North of England than time elsewhere I am always disappointed to be classed as an ‘oftcumden’ (as they say in Lancashire).
By accident of birth I am an Essex girl. And there I leave the stereotype. I don’t possess white stilettoes and am rarely to be seen dancing around my handbag. I do like jewellery shops and ‘bling’ however but that might just be genetic.
I refuse to believe that destiny is always determined by origin or accent. Mine incidentally is now much softer and full of borrowed war of the roses intonation, living as I have in both Yorkshire and Lancashire for the past forty plus years.
I love ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and so, as a Christmas gift this year my husband brought me some dance lessons. Not any old dance lessons oh no, Mr D has decided that 2015 is the year that we learn how to dance the Argentine Tango.
If you are a fan of strictly then you’ll know all too well that it’s that dance with all the leg flicks and complicated twirling.
I suspect that you can picture the scene. In my head Ian and I twirl around in perfect synchronicity to a gorgeous melody from Buenos Aires. In reality a few toes are routinely trampled and we try very hard not to giggle as we mess up yet another routine. Carnage! Some of the other dancers take it so seriously- you just have to laugh! I don’t think I will ever score a ten from Len.
As a twin I have never really been alone. I was born with a partner in crime and shared mum and dad right from the start.
My sister and I are fraternal twins- non-identical, we barely look related these days, I also claim to be taller and wiser. Funnily enough our teachers really struggled to tell us apart, a challenge made even harder because mum chose to dress us in identical clothing. Our junior teacher had great idea however and made us wear different coloured ribbons.
My sister was good at maths and hated writing, I loved writing and struggled with maths. You can probably already guess what we conspired to do. Yes, we swapped our coloured ribbons regularly and conveniently throughout the day, to capitalise on individual talents. We delighted in confusing ‘Miss’ but had to become adept at answering to each other’s name. (Sorry mum.)
Looking back through my highly refined teacher lens I have one question:
How on earth did we get away with it?
Was she myopic or did she simply never look up from her desk?
Mrs Hicks was my favourite primary school teacher. To a seven-year-old she seemed to be the oldest, wisest and funniest lady in school. She was also very, very scary. My goodness you would never want to make her cross! She could make you cry with a single click of her false teeth, drawing a deep breath she would say your name slowly and deliberately:
‘Lesley Ann,’ she would shout, ‘stand beneath the school clock for the whole of playtime!’
Oh the shame of it! Every teacher would tut at you as they entered the acrid, smoke-filled staffroom. You were ‘well done’ as they say. But not in a shiny gold star way. In my case doubly ‘done’ because my twin sister would delight in making sure mum found out too!