I’m originally from the north. From Hull to be exact. I then spent 3 years further north in Newcastle. And then moved south. I have lived in the south ever since. I’ve now spent more years in the south than I ever did in the north. As a consequence, my accent is a bit of all-sorts rolled together. Definitely northern - I have short vowels. Some words are still very Hull - grey, snow. These tend to be words that don’t get used so often. Or that I didn’t have to change to allow myself to be understood - toast, Coke - being the obvious ones that I got blank looks for when I lived in Newcastle. And then some words sound alike. Like the following situation that happened this morning:
My granola is in the oven baking. I’ve asked Alexa for a 10-minute timer and headed off upstairs to get ready for the day ahead. Slowly. I’ve got a sore back at the moment and so am being a bit slow. Richard bounded up the stairs to tell me that the timer had gone off and what should he do. I ask him “Could you give the granola a stir?” He looks at me strangely. And then says “Oh, a STIR!”. Apparently, in whatever accent I currently wear, the words stir and stare sound the same.
And in my imagination there is a world in which Richard came down the stairs (and, for the record, I suspect stair, stir and stare all sound exactly the same), opened the oven, gave a Paddington Bear stare at the granola, reset the timer and headed off to the Skiff for the day.