Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating the Red Rose

I was born in Lancaster, the county town of Lancashire.

Lancashire, The Red Rose county, stretches from the River Mersey in the South to the banks of Windermere in the North. It has five cities, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, and Salford. I live just outside now in Grasmere, Cumbria.

Lancashire has a proud history as well as a close rivalry with its neighbors across the Pennine’s Yorkshire. At the moment the county is dominant in England’s most popular sport, soccer, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley all in the Premier League. And isn’t Wigan virtually in Lancashire too!! Many people think that England begins and ends with London. I’m not a big fan of London, or the South of England, and certainly have not found much very interesting outside of the mighty Red Rose. Lancastrians are warm, open, cheerful, very friendly and very funny. The complete opposite of our Yorkshire neighbors! Three of the top English chefs hail from Lancashire, Paul Heathcote, Marcus Wareing, Nigel Howarth. And you can’t get past Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Mrs. Kirkham’s Lancaster Cheese, Bury Black Pudding, and Herdwick Lamb.

Lancashire Life, that great monthly magazine, is celebrating Lancashire Day next month and listed some surprising inventions from Lancashire. How about the kilt, the torpedo, the co-operative movement, the jelly baby, tide times, the Tiller girls, the police force, Meccano, white road markings, and Suffragettes. Beat that Yorkshire!

Of course it does rain a lot in Lancashire. In fact, over my birthday it pretty much rained non stop for four days. Annual rainfall where I live in Grasmere equals that of the Amazon. But who’s complaining. That’s why we’ve got lush grass, healthy livestock, beautiful hills and, as Lancashire Life said, it’s probably the reason we invented so much. We have to do something when it’s raining.

So thanks very much to Paul Mackenzie for reminding us not only about our inventiveness, but also about nine other things that make Lancashire great. Including, of course, Lancashire County Cricket Club, and the Mighty Manchester City.