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You're not from around here are you?

You're not from around here are you? or Yer not from aroun' 'ere are you? Regional prejudice in the UK - Sad but a real fact of life in today's society.

You don't have to be black, a Muslim or both to suffer prejudice. Unfortunately, it's as prevelant today as it was 200 years ago. Infact, in some cases it's far worse, because it is so incredibly petty.

To call a black person a "nigger" is most offensive and totally unacceptable if you are not black yourself. To call an Asian person a "Packi", is also totally insensitive and often highly inaccurate - Pakistan is not the only country that has an Asian population!

However, have you ever thought about prejudice against someone because of the way they speak? Let's take that a little further, not because they speak with a strong continental accent, but because of the way they pronounce their words. Strange? Well it's true, that is exactly what happened to my wife in my Home Town - it makes me angry to this day!

I was born in Nottinghamshire and after moving away from the area, returned in 1994. Having lived with my parents for two years, I met a friend from college days, I proposed and we agreed to live in Newark, Nottinghamshire - This was a big mistake!!

We started to rennovate our Victorian Town House, my wife's second house having sold her maisonette in Surrey. She left a well paid job in Surbiton and moved up North to be with me in Newark. Sadly, she was treated very cruelly by all the local Newarkers. Why was this? Because she didn't speak Newark! A form of slang so apalling, that a Newark Pub has published a Newark dictionary of the awful phrases, so that unlucky visitors can understand the people of Newark.

Despite this my wife would say hello to people because she is a nice person, but people would look at her and not even have the good manners to return the greeting. Can you believe it? My Home Town where generations of my family had built, repaired or added to houses for decades. Even I was not well received at my place of work, because I was from Balderton - the adjoining village - as one person described Balderton as "Jews Island" because he claimed all of the local money lived in the village. Incidentally, we had neighbours to one side of us who were nice, but they weren't originally from Newark!

Therefore, we were left with no choice but to move. My wife was unhappy with her surroundings and I was unhappy with the way she had been treated. Although, there were other factors which contributed to the move, these were the main ones.

We looked around for a bigger place and one which was set in the country. By chance we stumbled upon the Old Post Office, Scredington. The property was near derelict in parts, with no running water connected and in need of complete rennovation. The place had been empty about eighteen months. However, there was something magical about the place and I had always yearned for a cottage in the country with beamed ceilings. Nevertheless, it was the lady of the house who liked it the most and so we started proceedings.

Despite, the Estate Agent's claims we would not be able to get a mortgage, we got one and were pleased with the apparent verbal support we received from the local residents. Jenny and Pete our new neighbours at Bluebell House even gave us some chocolates when we moved in, as they thought we might need the sugar!! Elaine and Terry opposite visited us on several occasions and told us if we needed help to call in. Jack our other neighbour on the other side wished us well and told us it was our house we could do what we liked!

Things seemed great, a new house - a new start. Unfortunately, despite our valiant attempts to fit in, attending the local coffee morning/jumble sale and even Bingo in the old Village Hall, the same prejudices started to appear.

We received numerous complaints from locals about the parking of our cars, as we live near a sharp bend. Fair enough, you might say - but we couldn't get all the cars on the drive. The Honeysuckles and weeds prevented the parking of any vehicles on the drive, as it was all overgrown.

After we cleared the drive we had to have a number of skips to clear all the rubbish in the house, as it was bought as seen for a very good price. The complaints increased for us not parking on the drive, pretty difficult to get all your cars on the drive with a builders skip filling one end though! This second wave of complaints led to a visit from the Scredington Parish councillor, once more we politely explained that it wasn't deliberate, but we did have rather a lot of work to do and the skip was needed.

It then started to emerge that virtually everyone and their aunts had looked around the property. Some had looked into buying it, but for some unknown reason had not been successful or had decided against it. Could this be an explanation? Was it because we were outsiders? We had learned that our "friendly" neighbours had also suffered similar issues. Infact, Elaine's hedge is a constant topic of converstion even to this day!

The car parking was still a problem. Infact, once I had a clear drive I still parked one vehicle outside the house so that we didin't have to shuffle all the vehicles, but if I am to be honest it was also a little protest parking as I could not see why I could not park my car outside my house.

Finally, Jack from next door came round, as his partner's car had nearly been hit by another car, which had pulled out from around my vehicle. Although, he was irrate at first he soon calmed and told me why there was a real problem parking outside the house. Yes, we live near a bend, but we live in the sticks with very little traffic. The problem wasn't the parking at all it was due to the fact that people often don't slow for the bend and there was the risk of a head on if people had to change lanes to overtake our vehicle. Added to this, if there is ever an accident on the main roads nearby, the lorries, etc. are diverted through our village and have to negotiate the sharp bend.

Once this had been explained I moved my vehicle. However, the damage had been done and my wife was in tears, I have not forgotten that infact she even said " I'm beginning to wish we hadn't moved." Thank you Scredington folk! You made us feel utterly miserable, despite publishing a welcome to us in the local village newsletter, we were made to feel distinctly unwelcome.

Happily, our story does have a happy ending. We are now nearly four years into the rennovation,love the house and its location. Pete and Jenny, Elaine and Terry, and others, have continued to be good friends and neighbours. I now work in Lincolnshire and my wife has a part time job in Sleaford. On the 7th November 2003 our first child, Alexander Robert was born and he attends a nursery and pre-school in the surounding villages.

As far as I know, we have now been accepted. There have been no more complaints and the Parish councillors have not paid us any more visits. My wife attends functions in the NEW Scredington Village Hall and Alex attended Mother and Toddler prior to Nursery. Sadly, I cannot attend I can't help it, but I cannot forgive the villagers for upsetting my wife and making us so unwelcome in our first months here, maybe it's the Ginger in me. Scredington is a lovely village and has a wonderful location. Many of the local villages are also beautiful and I would not deter anyone from visiting Lincolnshire.

In short, the Yer not from aroun' 'ere are you? problem is a universal one. People are constantly prejudiced against because they come from a different town or country and try to start a new life in a different location. Just because this goes on, it doesn't mean it's right and the next time you start to gossip about the "new people" who have just moved in, think again. Think about this page, lend them a helping hand, Welcome them - Don't alienate them.