Now I've been here six months, here are some reflections on why I like Sheffield so much.
1. People genuinely are more friendly up north. I have noticed this even more since the five years I spent working in London. It has been quite difficult to shed the sharp elbows habit. This trait leads to...
2. People in cars stop to let you cross side roads, even when it is totally unnecessary, as if they continued to the junction you could easily cross behind them. This used to confuse and annoy me, but I have now come to see it as just another example of northern loveliness. The only problem is, when I go back down south I will get run over.
3. It is not necessary to scrub the shower screen with vinegar.
4. It really is a lot of villages. I live in Broomhill, which is a 'nice' (and, indeed, nice) part of town. It has local shops that can supply my almost every need, including a hippy hairdressers ('lots of our clients live on boats...'), but should I feel the need to visit Wilkinsons (another reason to love the north), I can walk down the hill in half an hour and come back on the number 51 bus. Which leads to...
5. Buses I can (just about) understand, and actually use.
6. The Sheffield Tap
7. A council that actually does stuff (even if that doesn't include putting the right links on their website), rather than try to spend as little as possible.
Other noticeable things about Sheffield and the north are that people smoke a lot more, and shamelessly, and finally, the most surprising thing is, in a city of arcane traffic schemes, tramlines and bloody great hills, how many people cycle.