Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yorkshire Day

Today, August 1st is Yorkshire Day.

"Is it ?" we all cry, even those of us lucky enough to be born within the broad county's borders, for Yorkshire Day is a media invention unknown to anyone outside of the offices of BBC North.

Tonight on Look North we will have one small news item shoved somewhere at the back of the programme which will go something like...

"...and finally, today was Yorkshire Day and here in City Square Leeds, this one man, who is really an actor employed by the BBC just for this spot, wore a flat cap, walked his whippet around for a bit and then sat down to a meal consisting entirely of Yorkshire pudding before saying eee bah gum that wor grand, and now back to the studio..."

And thats about the sum total of the celebration of this fine county and whilst no-one who is Yorkshire born would ever utter the words "ee bah gum", that is the phrase that is most commonly uttered by us according to the BBC - ask any of those soft southern nancies what their first thought is when the word "Yorkshire" is mentioned and they will immediately say "ee bah gum" followed closely by "whippet" and then "flat cap".

I'd like at this point to enter into the record that I have never, in my life, stood within hearing of any Yorkshireman and heard the phrase "ee bah gum", nor have I ever aquainted myself with anyone who owned a whippet or a flat cap.

Well ok, I know someone with a flat cap.

Yes its me, I have a flat cap, but it doesn't fit me and it was bought during the 1988 fashion craze for flat caps when the whole country went flat cap crazy for two weeks until everyone realised that it just wasn't fashionable even if the soft southern nancies who write the fashion articles in newspapers said it was.

I think I threw the flat cap away actually.

So there we have it - your preconceptions of Yorkshire folk are just not true, we do not say "ee bah gum" at the end of every sentence, we do not all keep whippets and most of us do not have flat caps save for brief fashion errors.

We also do not keep coal in our baths, we do not scrub the front doorstep every morning, we do not work in a mill and we do not have to doff 'cap at mill owner, we don't all live in a small teraced house which has a pub at one corner and a shop at the other, we are no more tight with our money than your average scot, and we do not care for ferret keeping or pigeon racing.

We do however use the English language in a unique manner, for instance...

Love... You are very likely to be called "love" if you speak to a Yorkshire person, even if that Yorkshire person is a man and you are also a man, for instance "how is tha love ?" is an enquiry into ones health and male visitors new to Yorkshire must not be mislead into thinking that we are all homosexuals up here, we are not, not that there is anything wrong with homosexuality, its just that there are non in Yorkshire for our dads beat it out of us when we are little boys, all except Carl Wilde's dad who encouraged him in his flower arranging when he wor nobbut a lad and the result is there for all to see - by the way I think he's lovely and if I were homosexual then I'd like Carl Wilde to be my wife and do flowers for me all day long.

Any road...

Any road ... is a Yorkshire expresion meaning "too much personal detail".

Us ... means what it means all over the English speaking world but in Yorkshire it is most commonly used when referring to third party inanimate objects, as in "lets get us coats" or "is that us bus", the word "our" is very rarely used in Yorkshire.

Sen or Sel ... are unique Yorkshire part-words usually prefixed by "thi" or "thee" as in the phrase "get thi-sen owwer 'ere" or "Ow is thee-sel ?" ("come over here" and "How are you"), sen or sel therefore referring to the second party person.

Si-thee ... familiarised by Fred Trueman at the end of his popular low budget 1970's "Indoor League" pub games tv programme, "ah'll si-thee" the most common use of which is "goodbye" although "I'll si-thee down chip 'ole" (I will meet you at the fish and chip shop) is also acceptable.

Laik ... "is tha laik-ing cricket our Arthur" a question asked of Arthur, not to see if he "likes" cricket, a common misconception, oh no, "laik" is the noun for "to play" and in the question the Yorkshireman is asking Arthur if he is playing cricket, a rather pointless question as Arthur was wearing whites and standing in front of a wicket wearing pads and carrying a bat at the time, but still...

While ... always used in preference to "until", "I'll wait here while us bus comes"

The ... a word completely lost from the language, its use is forbidden by bye-law within the Yorkshire boundaries, for instance "ah'm going pub" this is the most common use of the Yorkshire dialect by those soft southern nancies when they are taking the piss, they should try it though, it works and saves on energy and in these green and enlightened times then we need to save energy - drop useless words, start with "the", drop it from your language for one day onYorkshire day and see how much your soft southern nancy friends admire you.

Dunt ... again, an energy saving device for instructing in the negative, "dunt do that our Arthur", "dunt pick yer nose yer dutty bugger"

And from the above examples you can see that the name Arthur is in common use in Yorkshire, most males are christened Arthur in Yorkshire, I myself am an Arthur and so is my wife but she is a Geordie and so does not count. All females born within the great county are called Doreen.

Other Yorkshire customs include ...

When marrying the happy Yorkshire couple are compelled to ride from the church to the ham tea reception in the public rooms above the co-op in a Triumph motorbike and sidecar.

It is compulsory for all males to spend a minimum of one day per month fishing at the local canal

When interviewed on national TV the provided brown raincoat and flat cap must be worn and a demenour of gormlessness displayed, failure to do so will result in written warning and then eviction from the county, probably to down south somewhere.

Fuss will not be made of anything, this is best exampled by the chapter in James Herriots "All Creatures Great and Small" when the vit'nary James Herriot struggles through eight foot snow drifts and fierce blizzards all day on foot after having abandoned his car to reach a farm way up on the moors, greeting the farmer with "its a shocking day isn't it Mr Shadrack" the correct reponse from the farmer is to look skywards as if he's noticing the blizzard for the first time and reply "Aye, its a bit plain".

So there you have it - how to be a faux Yorkshire man in just a few paragraphs - a faux Yorkshireman because of course if you weren't fortunate enough to be born here then you will never be one, but you can aspire to be one and you can visit our county* from time to time to admire us before returning to your soft southern nancy new towns (please leave the county boundaries before 9pm) to dream of being Yorkshire on Yorkshire Day.

*Offer does not apply to Lancastrians.


John_D said...


Anonymous said...
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Gary said...

Duck ???
Duck ???

Duck is Derbyshire old flower, call someone duck in Yorkshire and you get a knuckle sandwich.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's a Derbyshire expression, from A up, which means absolutely top (A and above, and my duckie, a term of endearance, probably nothing to do with our feathered friends but from the Latin Dulce meaning sweet or dear. So it is a familiar form of enquiry, mean 'I hope you are in the very best of health, my dear Friend?'

But Why? said...

Suffering twinges of nostaligia... 'Course, my bit of Yorkshire is/was nothing like that, but that doesn't stop me from buying flat caps for dad at Christmas. I dare say they actually suit him - I think it's some magical transformation that happens to men once they've lost suffient hair...

But x

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