We’ve had a week off – marvellous to get out of the big smoke and get away from the hubbub and demands. But unlike lots of mates who have been doing the sound thing this week, we’ve not gone to New Word Alive, even though that would have been a very sound thing to have done. And so when friends asked where we were going for our holiday, we correctly answered, “Sheffield”. Their responses tended to be fairly unanimous – “Oh… er… that’s nice.” And i want to say, “Yes, it is”.

You see, we lived here for 4 happy years – both children proudly bear the place of birth on their passports as Sheffield – and and we loved it – even though we had been totally ignorant southerners who had no idea about existence north of the Watford Gap (until you get to Edinburgh – they have culture, up there, you know, because they actually have a festival). Well, we’ve been having a lovely time. And i thought i would correct the mockers and doubters by giving lots of reasons why it is such a groovy place.

  1. It is beautiful.
  2. No, it is very beautiful. In case you don’t believe me, you need to check this out.

OK – this is not exactly how people imagine Sheffield. That’s because it isn’t. It is the Hope Valley in Derbyshire – but that is just 20-25 mins out of the west side of the city. (They’re trying to beautify the city centre because it is a bit of a concrete nightmare – but that’s life I suppose). Quite pleased with this picture actually – a nice panorama from about 8 different ones, taken from the exit of the Treak Cliff cavern (where they mine Blue John). Apart from the blasted cement works (in the right of the picture) this would be the closest you can get to a classic northern English rural idyll. Now you can’t get anything like as good as this within 25 minutes of London, can you?

  1. They’re much more friendly here. (I’ve not been able to figure out how to get this to carry on from the previous number bullet!) Even though we left 7 years ago, we went into the Co-Op yesterday and the lady behind the till recognized us but couldn’t quite place us, and so just blithely entered a conversation that had probably been left off 7 years ago. She didn’t have to do this. We didn’t oblige her to. But she did. Q.E.D. – they’re morefriendly here.
  2. We’ve got lots of friends here – and they’re very friendly too.
  3. There’s actually lots to do with children around here – and what’s even better is that while London schools are on holiday this week, everyone’s gone back to school up here. So we are undisturbed – apart from the school trips that dog us at every turn.
  4. I overheard a schoolgirl on one such school trip yesterday – and she actually shouted to a friend, “Ey, up”, presumably to get the friend to slow down. It felt great to be home.
  5. Sheffield University has the highest stay-on rate of any British university – i.e. that means that more people who graduate from Sheffield stay on in the same city than for any other university in Britain. Or something. You know what I mean. That says something, surely?

So there you go – this is a GREAT place for a holiday.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Brian N

    Great, about time Sheffield had some praise. As someone who used to live in the South East and spends a lot of time visiting relatives in London I have got used to people feeling sorry for us because we live in Sheffield, so it is great to have a London dweller sing its praises.
    You forgot to say that it has the most trees per capita for any city in Europe, is the only city in England to have a National Park within the city borders, is much cheaper than London and the South East and has great churches. We even have electricity, running water and not everyone has has a whippet and keeps pigeons.
    In response to your previous blog – it is definitely not a waste of time, I find the entries stimulating and encouraging. Keep up the blogging.

  2. Phil

    you’re right…sheffield is great. i work here, lucky me…as a church youth worker….

  3. David Keen

    As a Sheffield exile in Somerset, spot on. I used to love walking out from the Western suburbs into the Derbyshire hills, without having to go past a single house. Eeee its grand.

  4. Ross

    I’m happy to take your word on the wonders and beauty of Sheffield – however being from the Full Monty generation I am a bit sceptical.
    I wanted to pick up your point about the university though – I’m not sure staying on rates is necessarily a mark of success for either the university or the town. For example, at the risk of getting into trouble, would you recommend a young Bible believing Christian go to Sheffield to study theology?
    Maybe you were just stretching for a point too far, and shuold have stuck with the points Brian N makes!

  5. markmeynell

    Ross – i think you are the one stretching the point too far – what on earth has the Sheffield theology degree got to do with staying on in Sheffield?! All i was saying is that once people come to the university, they realise what a great place the city is and decide stay. Ok?!

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