Nothing proves the north/south divide better than two things all Brits are obsessed with: the weather and tea…
One of the loveliest things about travelling around the UK is that you don’t have to be far from home to find people who talk differently to you. Local dialects and accents are such a delightful quirk of the British Isles.
I grew up in the Home Counties, but felt very strongly I wanted to go to university in the north. I wanted my first experience of real independence to be far from home. I had grandparents who lived in the North West, as well as a boyfriend. But nothing prepared me for the cultural difference that awaited me when I landed in halls.
British to a tea
All my friends at uni, bar one, were northern. Along with doing strange things to my accent, it opened my eyes to the southern bubble I’d been living in. In the north, people called lunch ‘dinner’ – something I struggled with for three long years, and dinner ‘tea’.
And yes, tea. I probably drank an oceanic volume of tea during those three years, but for my Yorkshire pals tea wasn’t just a drink, it was in par with a religious experience. And everyone called it ‘a brew’, making my ‘cup of tea’ sound very prissy.
Such is the passion in the tea (drink, not meal) debate that Regatta to get to the bottom of it. Apparently 17 per cent of respondents say ‘a brew’ for a cup of tea, mostly in the north, but overall ‘cuppa’ is the most-used phrase – 65 per cent use this term.
And don’t tell my Yorkshire crew, but coffee is actually the UK’s hot drink of choice over tea.
It’s cold, whatever the weather
Another thing that immediately became apparent on landing up in Merseyside was that it was cold. It was September, so I duly wrapped up in my thickest coat and moaned to my friends that it was freezing.
But they were horrified. I spent three years being told ‘this isn’t cold, why are you wearing a coat?’. It actually became a bit of an issue in our houseshare, as my hardier northern housemates refused to put the heating on.
They had suggestions of how I could keep warm: put on an extra layer, or run up and down the stairs. I already averaged about five jumpers, and running up and down the stairs all day didn’t seem so practical.
In Regatta’s survey – which they’ve called #AFrostyDebate – they found Brits’ preferred ways to keep warm are layering up, sitting by a radiator (doesn’t help if your housemates have outlawed the central heating) and using a hot water bottle.
Brits’ favourite ways to keep warm indoors
- Layer up (61.5 per cent)
- Sit by a radiator (50 per cent)
- Using a hot water bottle (35 per cent)
- Sitting by an open fire (15 per cent)
- Using a heated blanket (13 per cent)
- Using hand warmers (4 per cent)
Incredibly I didn’t think of some of these solutions, I instead opted to go and sit in the library or pub all day.
What are your favourite colloquial phrases for the weather where you live? And do you love the cold weather or loathe it? Join the debate using #AFrostyDebate