Ok, so I’m biased. I was born and bred in Sheffield in the County of South Yorkshire – officially ‘up North’ – though obviously not as far up the country as, say, Newcastle or Scotland. I’ve heard all the stereotypes of flat caps, pigeon racing and had many (many…) negative comments on my broad Yorkshire accent.
But I want to let you into a secret…this city is a fabulous place to live. Seriously. I woke up this morning to bright sunshine and so, after dropping daughter number 2 at school, decided to go for a morning walk before getting down to some serious writing time. Despite living a couple of miles from the centre of a large city, it took me about three minutes to immerse myself in greenery that we are so lucky to be surrounded by here in Sheffield. I didn’t see or hear a car (or many people either) for the next hour. My ears instead rang with birdsong and gushing river water, and I watched inquisitive squirrels chasing one another up trees and a heron languishing on the duck pond.
But it’s not just the greenery that’s so great: Sheffield as a city has loads going on. From great music festivals such as Tramlines during the summer; such events as Peace in the Park and Sheffield Pride celebrating the diversity of the city; art events like Art in the Gardens and my personal favourite, the annual Off the Shelf festival for book readers and writers.
Loads of people complain that they would like to ‘escape’ to live a quiet life in the country, away from pollution, traffic and the issues that big cities inevitably bring. But for me, there’s nothing like living in a city like Sheffield. There’s always something happening, there’s loads of inspiration for writing, whether it’s in the midst of the busyness or enjoying the peace of the lovely greenery. I guess it’s quite unique, being the greenest city in the UK, so I’d like to hear more people speaking positively about living here! As for my broad accent, I’m too stubborn to even try to speak proper at my age.
Meanwhile, I’m off to find my notebook after all that bracing fresh air and inspiration…
Keep reading and writing,