Durum in Latin means 'hard'

I've experienced life in a few interesting towns, from Aberdeen, where ostentatious oilmen do battle with granitic grannies, to Liverpool, where scally dockers jostle with Tate-bound artists.  I've never felt as tense as I do in Durham, however, or as ambivalent about a place.

It is light-of-the-world and it is salt-of-the-earth.  It is poor and northern, and rich and southern.  It is shabby and it is spectacular.  It is home-grown and far-flung.  It is Hooligan Harry and it is Hooray Henry.

As a middle-class Midlander, I am none of these things, which is probably why it makes me feel the way I do.  I feel like a complete interloper, and I am unnerved.