I’m from a long way north of where I now live. Yorkshire was my birthplace, and I’m proud of the characteristics that come with a Northern English background. The grit, the no-nonsense, the get your hands dirty and get stuck in approach. The lack of patience for whinging and blaming the rest of the world for your problems. I LIKE that. We make not be the most sympathetic folk in the world, but we have EMPATHY for days. Sympathy pats you on the shoulder and says ‘there there, never mind, at least blah blah blah’. Empathy, on the other hand, says ‘yes, this is proper shit isn’t it? It sucks. We’re in this together, let’s see what we can do’. I’ll take empathy over sympathy any day. And I’ll take someone who gives me the approach of my grandfather’s oft-repeated line - ‘stop belly-aching and just get on with it’- over someone who’ll let me wallow in my own misery for too long. Sometimes we all need to give ourselves a kick in the pants, and that’s when I get tough with myself, remind myself how bloody lucky I am, and remember that a little bit of Northern goes a long way.