I am a Yorkshire exile living in the City of London and I often get to dreaming of my former existence among the rivers and dales, and hankering after walks up Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough, cream teas in Helmsley and Whitby fish and chips which are the best in England - that is to say, in the whole world.

There are compensations here though. I used to hate London when I had to travel to it on the grungy trains from York, full of idiots on mobiles and noisy, smelly eaters. Now I live here, the place seems magical. I can walk to the National Gallery in 20 minutes, there are a dozen theatres and concert halls on my doorstep and twice as many restaurants, both posh and cheap and cheerful. And the weather is definitely warmer. When our Tom came to visit last November and the trees in the parks were still heavy with leaves, he said: "Heck, dad - London's like Spain compared with Newcastle."

Other things are quite reassuring. I mean, in London we get the same posses of oiks in trainers and baseball caps, lunging along the City streets chomping with their mouths open to receive some fistful of junk food. And the binge drinkers oblige down here just as they do in York - by throwing up mellifluously over our dustbin at three o'clock in the morning.

The hell of musak is everywhere, just like back home in Yorkshire. And everybody's on his sodding mobile. But you get to noticing the differences....

There are more rude, unfriendly and downright hostile folk around. In Darlington or Middlesborough, if you ask someone in the street where such and such a place might be, they're so generous they'll walk you to it - most of them.

If you ask directions in London, many just shrug and say: "Don't ask me, mate." When I walk through the quiet City streets to church each Sunday morning, I suppose I pass about 30 or 40 people and I say good morning to them all. Half of them return a cheerful greeting, but the other half say nothing and look at you as if you're something that's crawled out of the woodwork. And I still haven't got used to the long "a" and keep wondering who put the arse in grass.

One thing they can do down here that no-one seems quite to have managed yet in the North is drive a motor car properly. Coming from York, I was led to believe that, when you're at a road junction and the traffic light changes from red to green, you pull your flat cap a bit further down your forehead, have another drag on your pipe, turn to your wife in the passenger seat and say: "Ay up, love - does that mean we can go?"

They dress up to go to work in London - the young women particularly. It's disappointing though. I mean, you're walking behind a couple of real crackers - life in the old dog yet, eh? - down Cheapside and thinking they must be actresses or in the movies (or as some of us would have it "fillums") when they start to talk and it's screaming estuary English - all Essex and hysteria. "Common as muck," as we might have said in Leeds.

But St Paul's against a winter sky - there's London for you!

* Peter Mullen is Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill, in the City of London, and Chaplain to the Stock Exchange.