Whenever I sit down to count my blessings - something I occasionally feel the need to do in order to show a bit of gratitude for the good things in life - high on the list of those blessings are my Yorkshire birthright and the heritage passed down to me by virtue of being born in the biggest and best county this nation’s got.
Life’s a bit of a lottery at the best of times - and the cold reality is that I was only about thirty miles east of arriving into a whole different situation: red rose instead of white, black pudding instead of that glorious Yorkshire pud that gives real meaning to roast beef.
It’s a chilling thought, and whenever I’m feeling a bit less than chuffed at how life is treating me, I’ll think on that for a while and reflect: things could have been a heck of a sight worse.
That’s not to say I don’t have friends unfortunate enough to owe their allegiance to the Red Rose - and a nice bunch of lads and lasses they are too, by some fluke of genetics no doubt.
Maybe they all had Yorkshire forebears, that must be it. But, even given the odd nice guy here and there, there’s just something amiss with Lancashire.
It has odd place names that seem to cater to the local accent’s tortured vowel sounds - Urmston, Cheadle Hulme, and the like. And some of the less civilised natives make our own occasional cavemen seem like Oxford dons by comparison.
Let’s face it, the best thing about this strange place on the wrong side of the hill is the M62 heading east. And if you do venture far enough in to get past the dodgier bits, emerging into some sea air in the far west - you get to what passes for their coast. And you find it’s the wrong way up. Seriously. Take a walk on Blackpool beach (if you must) and, for anyone who spent their childhood summers sensibly, at Brid, Filey or Scarborough, there’s this confusing feeling of heading south when you know you’re facing north, or vice versa. It’s not nice, it’s not normal. It’s just wrong. Fortunately, thanks to those blessed Pennines,“them ovver theer”get most of the rain that otherwise might have landed on us, and what wild weather we do get has had the edge taken off in its passage over those rugged mountains west of Huddersfield.
So Lancashire is really a sort of wind-break or brolly, keeping Yorkshire fairly dry and snug, while that less fortunate county lives with all of the elements we can do without. As arrangements go, it’s not bad.
That’s life but, by and large, we’re a solidly parochial lot who know that Yorkshire is best. We have so much to be proud of in the Broad Acres, with our craggy and varied coastline, our bleak yet thrilling and panoramic moors, our beautiful national parks and our quaint market towns.
It can be heaven, even for people with roots elsewhere - once they’ve been here, breathed the Yorkshire air and been bewitched by the unique atmosphere and appeal of the place.
That’s why it’s such a popular tourist destination - and that’s why we lucky Tykes are right to cherish our blessed Yorkshireness.
Rob Atkinson is a lifelong LUFC fan. He writes a column for the Yorkshire Evening Post every fortnight.