A sense of identity, or if I’m not a Brummie, what am I?

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Today, Birmingham City Council hosted a meeting to discuss what it means to be a Brummie. It had a hashtag on Twitter  #mybrum so interested parties could follow the discussion and even watch the meeting online.

My first thought was, can this be true, the council are meeting to discuss what it means to be a Brummie? Yes it was true, even Carl Chinn, Brummie historian, was there.

My next thought was, am I a Brummie? I don’t think I am.

  • I was born in London. Yet I don’t qualify as a cockney nor consider myself a Londoner.
  • I left London when I was about 6 years old to live in Smethwick, Staffordshire. Then it became Smethwick, Worcestershire. It is now in Sandwell.
  • I lived in Bristol for 4 years.
  • I then lived and worked in London, Surrey and East Sussex for a few years.
  • I now live in Birmingham and have done for nearly 25 years now.

So I have spent the majority of my life living in Birmingham. But I wasn’t born here and none of my family were. My maternal family are from Smethwick, my paternal family are  from Norway, my father was born in South Africa.

So now this beginning to sound like ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Which is why I guess they wanted to know what it was that made people feel that they are a Brummie.

I then saw this report from the BBC: Birmingham: can people name England’s Second City?

Shocking that they don’t know very much about Birmingham, yet not surprising. Birmingham and the people live here, have in my opinion always undersold the city.

105-365 Bull at the Bull Ring, Birmingham

105-365 Bull at the Bull Ring, Birmingham (Photo credit: PaulSh)

Birmingham is home to The Mini, The Jewellery Quarter, Cadbury’s, HP Sauce,  and places that were inspiration for JRR Tolkein such as the Two Towers in the book, Lord of the Rings. It has three Michelin Star restaurants and an infamous Balti Triangle. And of course, The Bull Ring.

I am sure most of them will know the accent. Yet the accent changes from one street to another and often gets confused with the many Black Country dialects. A few weeks ago I was in Dudley and I asked a women for directions. I was only a few miles from my home. I hadn’t left the West Midlands County let alone the country. Friendly as she was, and she really was, because people round here are, she treated me as one would in another country. ‘Yowm not from round ere am ya?’ (Apologies for the poorly written dialect, I am not intending to poke fun, as they do a better job of it themselves.)

Brummies are quite rightly proud of their city. And I think it’s a city that gets better and better. I quite like living in Birmingham for now. Yet I am pretty sure I will not spend the rest of my life here. There are so many other places I want to see, so many other things to do, so many interesting people to meet. I have very itchy feet and no attachment to bricks and mortar and possessions. And no real attachment to Birmingham. Which is probably the real reason I am not a Brummie.

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This entry was posted in Community, Home Thoughts, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , by Travelling Coral. Bookmark the permalink.

About Travelling Coral

I started blogging in 2011 to record some of the highlights of the round the world trip I made with my husband Phil. On the 5 month trip we visited California, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Malaysia and Thailand. We met some fantastic people, saw amazing things and ate some lovely food. Yet while enjoying these new experiences I became acutely aware of the inequality in both first and third world countries. The gap between the rich and the poor on the streets of LA and KL was the same. On my return home, I realised that this inequality existed in the UK. I had to leave the country to see it for what it was. Food banks were opening in every town and city. I read the now famous blog, A Girl Called Jack and got more interested in how food poverty impacts the lives of so many people in my home country. And I got angry. And wanted to do something about it. Now, I work for Smethwick CAN, a charity bringing people together to tackle poverty, increase aspiration, provide opportunity and support the most vulnerable. One of the projects is a foodbank. Food poverty is shocking in any country, yet over a third of edible food still ends up in landfill. No one should go hungry, yet children are going to school without breakfast. Parents are skipping meals to feed their children. Foodbanks are a sticking plaster not a cure for food poverty. So, in addition to working for a charity that is supporting people in crisis, I volunteer for The Real Junk Food Project. They intercept food that would normally be thrown away, and cook it and serve it in a Pay as You Feel Cafe. I am still adjusting to life back at home in Birmingham, England, I have terminal Farsickness. To keep it at bay, I drag my husband and sometimes the son on shorter trips both in the UK and overseas. I now post random stuff that interests me. This includes travel, food and well being. The writing keeps me sane. Long term travelling is my goal.

2 thoughts on “A sense of identity, or if I’m not a Brummie, what am I?

  1. Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that Thanks for lunch! feacbcedkecg

    Like

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