Help I am a Southerner Stuck up North......
When I arrived to live in Derby many years ago, my first impression was it was just as sleepy as my hometown of Bedford.
Please don't get my wrong it was lovely to change from the sleepy town of Bedford which has a river running through its heart. Sometimes Bedford was a heads down place as people battled to get to London on the train as part of their daily commute. I welcomed without wishing to sound stereotypical I welcomed the "hellos" and the "Aye up me ducks" having lived and been brought up down south this was not an aspect of daily life that I was used to.
I have always enjoyed the slower pace of life and where I live is just right in a suburb if Derby a sleepy village at the heart but has a sprawling suburb metropolis. I am the "middle bear" where everything is just right I am in the suburbia yet a hop , skip and jump from the countryside. Don't you find that in today's climate that no one seems to have time any more to just sit and have a coffee, do a crossword or watch the world go by or generally relax.
Derby itself is only a quick bus ride or car journey away, Derby though has been going through massive changes it has in nooks and crannies the feeling of a small town and this is what puts me at ease after all this years moving from a sleepy little market town and this is what I love about it.
And when and if I need a retail fix then I'll head into the Westfield where I can purchase everything from a spoon to completely refurbishing my interior. If I want to just browse I can do so without being jostled, shoved pushed and pulled.
There are numerous cafes, restaurants and wine bars where you can relax with a drink, meet up with friends for lunch and have a natter with, for that special occasion reserve a table at one of the hundreds of restaurants for an excellent meal with the special person in your life.
Entertainment wise there are cinemas, theatre shows, farmers markets, art gallery and museum, you name it that Derby has got it, its always reinventing itself. There is a 'Big Screen ' in the market place which is absolutely fabulous. It pulls the community together especially when the Olympics and Paralympics were on.
I thought that before I moved here I wouldn't find the Derby people friendly how wrong I was, on the whole they are a really friendly bunch of people. You can find yourself having a coffee and then be chatting to a total stranger as if you have known each other years. When I have tried this in larger cities , I find that nobody has the time or they look at me as if I am from the planet Mars with a ulterior motive in striking up the conversation.
Like many a native born Derby deweller I take issue with the endless roadworks , the prospect of building yet more houses without using the ones that lie empty or developing the brownfield sites.
If I was offered the choice to move back to Bedford would I could .... No when I have all I need here as they say "Home is where the heart is" or is that heart is where the home is either way when I have all this countryside on my door step.
I am very happy to be a southerner in a northern city ..