For those of you who do not know the east midlands of England is made up of five counties, Northants, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire – well that is the case as far as central government is concerned. Its most recent claim to fame is that it is the home of the three times Formula One World Champion constructors Mercedes Benz. Just as to why Daimler Benz, the most German of German car companies, choose to situate themselves in rural Northamptonshire is unclear other than their proximity to Silverstone. But there they are.
In truth, however, I have never really seen south Northants to be part of the east midlands instead for me the east midlands is defined by two rivers – the Soar and the Trent and centred on the the three cities of Leicester, Derby and, the undisputed capital of the east midlands, Nottingham. An argument can be made for the River Welland being the southern edge of my east midlands but that would be as far south as I would want go.
So what is the purpose of this meandering through my own categorisation of what constitutes an arbitrary area? Well I was thinking about this whilst slowly being consumed by the laws of thermodynamics as I stood on the banks of the River Soar at sunrise this morning whilst trying to capture some images across the Soar Valley. It is a strange place where the whistles of the Wigeon merge with the roar of the traffic on the nearby M1 which probably summarises the east midlands better than anything else. Even in the wilds of Derbyshire you are never that far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life – the 4G coverage on the top of Stanage Edge is really quite good!
I once flew back from Glasgow at night and the country below was mostly dark until you reached Greater Manchester where the darkness disappeared. In its place was a ribbon of artificial light – even over the Derbyshire Hills, until we landed at East Midlands Airport. What that has to really do with the images I am not at all clear but it was a train of thought that entered my head this morning in freezing cold. Perhaps the cold had addled my brain just a little – it doesn’t take much these days.