My Life as a NIPPLE 1: An Introduction

“So you’re a Nipple then?”

I’d barely been sat at the desk in my first job in Edinburgh when this question was asked. I wondered what insinuation I was missing out on. Was there something about my appearance that indicated a certain sexual kink ? Quickly I checked my attire to ensure that my chest had not inexplicably become exposed.

Obviously none of this took place quickly enough. Or the blank look of confusion gave it away. After all my inquisitor was a social worker and new colleague, she was bound to pick up on such facial and bodily nodes. She went on and explained, “Northern Ireland Professional Person Living Elsewhere.”

The penny dropped and relief washed over me. I did wonder how after 8 years in London, that upon that day 8 years ago just starting out in Scotland, that this was the first time I’d heard the acronym. But then I realised that it was incredibly true. You can take the boy out of Norn Iron, but you can’t take Norn Iron out of the boy.

So I started to reflect. I used to leave London with a Ulster accent to land at Belfast with a London accent. I’d once trudged the whole way across London to Kilburn to get to an Irish bakery to get my soda bread and potato farls for a St. Patrick’s day breakfast treat, only for my local Tesco to start stocking both items weeks later. When I worked taking customer service calls I used to love hearing that a postcode started BT as then I knew I could talk “normal like” and not in some sort of clipped universally understandable tongue. So there clearly was a part of me that was forever where I grew up.

Some of you back home have already picked up occasional items from my political blog they even appear in the odd Blogburst here. But this column will reflect more on the cultural differences us yer man and yer woman or Norn Iron will face while living or working elsewhere. Of course being heavily involved in politics I can guarantee that it will pop up from time to time, either in passing comment or as the subject for that week. However, this is a little bit of light relief for me and hopefully rather fun/informative/readable [delete any that are not applicable] for the readers of Slugger. So thanks to Mike for hosting this I hope you enjoy the ride. Trust me over 16 years of living on the British mainland there is plenty to come.

I was considering some background biographical details for this intro. But realised it will probably be more intriguing and a greater surprise to the reader as I meander through my experiences to probably break down some stereotypes as I go. For the record this wasn’t written during the first half of the Ireland v England game even if I will be submitting it during half time and it may have been a better use of time.

A long time a Lib Dem activist, blogger and candidate in Scotland and before returning and continuing to be so in Northern Ireland since August 2010.