When I first moved down to London, She Who Was Born To Worry (or my mum, as I generally know her) took the wind out of my fresh faced and eager sails by calling me a shandy-drinking southerner. The implication being that the north of England was rough, the south was posh, and I’d have to start watering my beer down with lemonade because I’d lose all my gritty ruggedness. Clearly the fact that I was always about as rugged as a baby’s bottom had slipped her mind. Not to mention the fact that my home county Cheshire sells more champagne per head of population per year than any other part of the UK. It’s hardly South Central LA, put it like that.
Of course, a move to New York has done nothing to dampen my status as a shandy drinking southerner. That’s despite the fact that a barman in New York is no more likely to know what a shandy is than Nigel at the Union Vaults in Chester would be able to make a decent Long Island Iced Tea.
But now I’m starting to fear that I am fulfilling the prophecy. Maybe I’m becoming a big softie after all.
I’m currently in the UK on business, and having previously checked the weather in London and found it to be in the high 60sF/20C, I merrily packed no jacket. After all the heat and humidity of New York, it’d be nice to get to the relative normality of British weather. But after walking down Kensington High Street yesterday afternoon, I suddenly realised that despite the sun shining, I was rubbing my arms to keep myself warm. All around me people are in summer gear, and yet I find myself wondering whether it would be a fashion faux-pas to wear a balaclava in June.
If that wasn’t bad enough, when I get inside the office or a shop, I’ve started to feel like I’m overheating, and regularly hear myself internally bemoaning the lack of air-conditioning in this country.
I fear that I may have turned into one of those Brazilian footballers who start wearing tights and gloves after their big money move to the Premiership, when they realise that a trip to Blackburn on a wet Tuesday night in January is marginally less appealing than a night at the Maracana.
It’s either that or I’m going through the change. You’ll read about me in the Lancet in years to come, I tell you.
Now, where can I get a shandy?