Speaking as one northerner to another, could I please have some help here? Where exactly is the north?

It’s not very often I ponder such inconsequential questions. But, having landed myself with time on idle hands, I feel it’s worth asking. Where does it start?

See, I identify as a northerner. Always have and always will, because that’s what and who I am. It’s more than geography, more than my birthplace or current address. It’s – you know – more.

That in itself is probably controversial. Identity, when claimed as DNA, is a hot potato now. You might identify as a he, she, in-betweener or it – depending on the day of the week – and you’ll be likely to take some stick for it.

You could identify as a table leg for all I care. But if you’re a northern table leg, you and I share something we’re not terribly sure about.

Where the hell are we?

“And cold in the north, with overnight temperatures falling to -2 degrees in parts of West Yorkshire,” the TV weatherman said, less than helpfully. Yorkshire isn’t the north, for goodness sake. At least not exclusively. I come from Yorkshire. November in West Yorkshire is approaching tropical, compared with north Cumbria’s customary nithering.

Then, on national radio, there was heated argy-bargy about whether the needs of the north are routinely overlooked and forgotten, Boris Johnson having taken way too long to respond to the dreadful woes suffered by people in Doncaster, Sheffield and surrounding areas as a result of devastating flooding.

It hadn’t been an emergency, he’d said. “Just the north” in other words.

Aye well, we’d know all about that scenario would we not? We being farther north, too frequently flooded, left to fend for ourselves and all.

It’s not a contest. Promise, I make no case for competing for martyred hardship. That would do no good at all, beyond giving excuses for a good old whinge. And, while we’re masterful in the art of twining up here, it doesn’t seem to have served us too well so far.

BoJo got a fierce tongue-lashing from those flooded out folk who were unimpressed with him waiting until he could be sure to keep his feet dry before paying them a visit.

Rightly so. No toff should mess with angry northerners. They tend to hold grudges – but usually for no longer than 25 years, because we’re charitable that way. Until toffs start to assume in ignorance that we’re part of Scotland... it still happens. Grudges are carried a while longer then.

A collective voice for the north might help – and not only at election time. One with some oomph; some clout that says, in truth, to London and to parliamentary candidates with hopeful eyes on the capital’s riches: “We’re bigger than you, so watch your step.”

But we’d need to know where the north starts for that to be a runner. And I’ve a feeling we northerners aren’t rightly sure. That’s perhaps why we are a bit backward in coming forward sometimes; why we put up with losing out on such a lot.

Maybe it’s that we’ve grown used to rolling up sleeves and getting on with matters in hand, knowing we’re on our own, high and dry - or low and wet – trusting in our own neighbourliness, resourcefulness and willingness to pitch in when called on.

Identity again. Call a spade a shovel, lunch is dinner, dinner is tea, make do and mend.

Shopping the other day, I presented my debit card – never say I don’t do modern technology.

“Sorry, no link,” I was told. “The line’s down.”

“OK, You take cheques?”

“Afraid not. My nearest bank is Dumfries. There’s a cash machine two doors down.”

It wasn’t working. A chap tapped me on the shoulder.

“Out of service. We had a letter from the building society.”

“Good grief, it’s hard work spending money here today. Why do we put up with this stuff?”

He smiled sweetly and said: “You women will always find a way to spend money.”

I did. Not necessarily because I’m a woman but because I’m a resourceful northerner, who might next week identify as a table leg. I’m keeping all options open.