Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Nah then, ows tha doin?

Yorkshire born,
Yorkshire bred;
Strong in th' arm,
Thick in t' 'ead.

A old saying, generally quoted by people from outside Yorkshire, indicating perhaps a certain physical prowess among Yorkshire gentlemen yet at the same time lacking attributes in so far as their mental capacity for reasonable thought is concerned.

Comics of a certain age would get away with this along with the stereotypical description of the average Yorkshireman wearing a cloth cap and having whippets. There are and have been for a long time professional Yorkshiremen and some of those you might consider for example as Michael Parkinson, cricketer Geoffrey Boycott, cricket umpire Dickie Bird and the late Freddy Trueman. What have they in common? A very distinct drawling accent and the ability to say what they think and in some cases say it before they think what they are saying making them often controversial figures for their no nonsense, forthright but tactless approach particularly about other people.

In some parts of Yorkshire, thanks to film, television, books and history, brass bands, wrinkled stockings, bread and dripping, fish and chips and of course, the world famous Yorkshire Pudding are what people think it's like in this part of the world with isolated places like Hull being at the end of a 120 mile cul-de-sac (M62). Fishermen and fishermen's wives were famous or infamous icons now of a bygone age; whippets are largely confined to more rural or isolated areas of the north and only a diminishing generation now wear flat caps. The reality is that Yorkshire, with its fair share of deprivation like any other area has quietly slipped into into the modern world and no-one has really noticed. My personal view is that it should stay that way too.

Here's how John Brennan thinks a Yorkshireman with his broad accent might describe making a cup of tea:

Nah then, tha wants t'empty t'owd watter aht o' kettle and fill 'er up wi' fresh watter afoor tha puts it on t' ob. Get taypot reet nicely warmed and dry insahd, and then get thi tay in. Nah, as soon as t'kettle comes reet on t' boil an' not a second afoor or aftah, get watter pooared in t' pot.

Dooan't furget! Allus tek t' pot to t' kettle and not t' kettle to t'pot. Lerrit mash a fair wahl an' then girrit a stir afoor tha pooars it aht. Nah, thez summas puts milk in fust an' summas put tay in fust . To oor way o' thinkin', t'impooartant thing is to mek certain tha's med plenty fooar seconf 'elpin's!

This is my loose interpretation, forgive me for any mistakes:

Hello. You want to empty the old water out of the kettle and fill it up with fresh water before you put it on the gas ring. Get your teapot nicely warmed and dry inside and then put the tea in. Now, as the kettle comes to the boil, and not a second before or after, pour the water into the pot.

Don't forget, Always take the pot to the kettle and not the kettle to the pot. Let it mash a fair while then stir it before you pour it out. Now, there are those that put milk in first and some people put the tea in first. In our opinion, the important thing is to make certain that you've made enough before you have a second helping.

It's not only Yorkshiremen that put their foot in it when they speak, but another valiant band of our fine countrymen could do to sticking to what they do best - playing football. Here are some classic moments from broadcast or published interviews or commentary on the great game:

Paul Gascoigne famously said, "I never make predictions and I never will."

John Greig allegedly said, "The manager still has a fresh pair of legs up his sleeve."

Tom Ferrie came out with the classic, " Steve McCahill has limped off with a badly cut forehead."

Good old David Coleman from the BBC said, "If that had gone in, it would have been a goal."

John Lyall mixed his metaphors with, "On the Richter Scale, this defeat was a force eight gale."

Chat soon



  1. Another splendid blog RLS. It reminds me of another famous Yorkshire proverb -

    Hear all, see all, say now't.
    Eat all, drink all, pay now't.
    And if ever tha' does ow't for now't
    Always do it for thissen!


  2. Thanks for the perfect contribution MAG, how could I forget that one?