I grew up as a bit of a countryside boy – not so much Hunter wellies and afternoons at the polo; more walks around the beautiful Wentworth estate, cattle grids and beer gardens with a view. But still, I always had myself down as a bit of a bumpkin rather than a city dweller.
Recently however, my eyes have been somewhat opened to city life and the cultural offerings of Sheffield in particular – and I think I can put that, at least partly, down to blogging! I was surprised by the opportunities on offer in the city for bloggers and the scene that comes with it. Twitter too has opened up a large, previously undiscovered world of foodie and family opportunities that would have remained that way had I not started blogging.
Yes, I realise I’m a little late to the party where all this is concerned and that the younger amongst you would probably think this is a bit like your grandad using his mobile phone for the first time…but leave me alone, I’m happy in my little, new found bubble.
As if to prove my point, I’m writing this blog on my phone, in the cinema, whilst the kids are enjoying the latest Dory movie. Enjoy adult related films (no, not those kind) while you can people, they will be extinct by the time the second child comes along!
But I digress. I’ve always had a little bit of a love/hate relationship with Sheffield. I’ve always loved the fact that the countryside is on the doorstep, the theatre is accessible and the City Hall is home to some great comedy all year round. However, I disliked the apparent archaic attitude of a city that seemed set in its ways, the lack of independent eateries and the fact it wasn’t as cosmopolitan as Leeds.
The lack of independent eateries is still a bit of a bugbear, especially in the city centre, but my recent experiences have shown me there is definitely a different side to the steel city. Bloggers events are far more prevalent than I ever realised, the winter gardens (especially with their current herd of elephants) are peaceful, relaxing and inventive in equal measure and a great connection to the surrounding theatres, peace gardens and shopping arcades. The Millennium galleries adjacent to the winter gardens are full of unexpected treasures and enlightenment, housed there in association with the V&A museum no less. Kelham Island too is making great progress away from the recent, now somewhat ailing, industrial past. A large number of gastro pubs and real ale houses accompanied by a fascinating museum, a monthly street food market (previous blog here) and this exciting new project due for completion very soon – Krynkl Space.
I’m not sold on living 24/7 in a city environment – my countryside roots won’t yet allow it! I like my little cul-de-sac estate with pheasants in the garden, tree-lined streets and its distinct lack of noise and crime. However, whereas a couple of years ago I would head to Leeds for a slice of city life, I would no longer think twice about visiting Sheffield for the same experience. I hope the recent developments within the steel city continue and thrive…if only so I continue to develop and enjoy my new found bubble!