You can never leave

I just called the Halifax to get a quote for buildings and contents insurance and ended up, somehow, being co-opted into the People's Republic of Yorkshire. My surname is fairly common in the land of my birth and the guy on the other end clearly had his antenna up. He started talking about the weather they were having in Leeds, and about the way Leeds tends to get good weather (it does sit in a strange little basin, meteorological fans) and I replied that yes, I knew, I'd been born and brought up in Leeds.

"Ah!" says insurance man. "I thought that was a Yorkshire name!"

He told me that he knew a Carl Surname when he was growing up in Pudsey, whose dad owned an engineering firm, and about a woman from London with a Yorkshire surname who'd been highly affronted when her attempt to get an insurance quote had taken this Northern tangent. 'I might,' she had apparently sniffily replied, 'have had relatives from that part of the country several generations ago, but certainly not within living memory.' The call ended with him saying something along the lines of "long may we be connected to Yorkshire!"

It's quite hard to answer questions about the construction of your house and the value of your possessions when you're biting into cushions.

I went with the insurance. It was excellent value for money. I just won't be admitting to my origins again. Unless he's flagged a big white rose onto my records.

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