Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 8 Yorkshire–In Which There are Dear Friends, and I can’t Understand Anything

So far on this trip I haven’t been completely confounded by the local accent. Until today, when we travelled to a more populated area of Yorkshire to visit with our dear family friends, Chris and Maggie.

Way back when I was four, and lived in Sheffield, Chris and Maggie were married and I was their flower girl. I still remember bits of it, but the important part is that we have all remained friends for the intervening 38 years.

It’s always great to see them, and they look as well as ever.

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I did get in trouble from Chris for not accurately capturing the Yorkshire accent in my blog, so I promised to try harder. Fortunately I had many opportunities today to observe the more urban Yorkshire accent, and indeed, more of the urban Yorkshire life as we set out to meet Chris and Maggie at Saltaire, a 19th Century Woolen Mill and World Heritage Site. It was built by Sir Titus Salt, who also built an entire village for the workers, including housing, a school, shops and a huge church. It’s very impressive. Today parts of the mill are sitting empty and derelict, but much of it has been converted into restaurants, shops and a major art gallery for David Hockney, who, it is said, is England’s greatest living artist.

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While we were there, what seemed like several hundred school kids came through the village. It was hard at first to figure out if they were middle or high school students. It was a diverse group, and many if not most, were ethnically Indian. We marvelled at their uniform which, for the girls, consisted of either very tight black pants, or an extremely short black skirt with black tights, and a blue polo shirt, and then whatever shoes you wanted to wear that day, it seemed. Some of the girls were Muslim and wore their hair covered with huge voluminous scarves that wound loosely round and round their heads, but some of them didn’t, allowing us to observe the hairstyle of the day, which appears to be outrageously backcombed, and done up, with long spikey  bits hanging down. For the Muslim girls, it must have been quite the job to first do your hair like that, and then cover it up with a massive scarf without disturbing the do underneath.

Add to this the fact that several of the students were smoking, one was pregnant, and another was pushing a baby in a pram, and you can understand why we were intrigued.

Both a river and a canal run through the village. I managed ok with the bloke selling ice lollies in the ice cream canal boat (how’s that for vernacular).

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and was fine with the nice lady in the vintage and antiques store

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But things fell apart when we stopped in at the bakery/deli…

Jan: Yall raght?

Me: Hello

Jan: Rehnin?

Me (smiling stupidly and nodding)

Jan: Willy B. Heating in a rout?

Me: pardon me?

Jan:  Juno wot yaw wontin?

Me (smiling stupidly): uhhh

Jacob: do you want to eat in or out, mum? Do you know what you want?

Me: oh! yes please. Mum what do you want?

Jan (slowly and loudly as if I were deaf): Wot will you be ‘avin?

Me: A sausage roll, please

Jan: hat or coal?

Me: yes please

Jacob: hot or cold mum

Me: oh cold please

Jan: Wun pound twenty please

Jane: (relieved because I understood that) here you go

Jan: thanks, Luv and mand the reihn

Me: No thanks I’m good

My Mum: I think she said mind the rain.

Me: Oh! yes thanks very much I will.

But Jan was gone.

I felt a bit silly after that exchange and won’t be so smug from now on.

We set off for home, with a quick stop in Skipton for some shopping, at which point it really started ‘reihnin’ so we drove home instead and spent a cosy evening in the cottage, while the rain came down and the temperatures plummeted. It really felt more like March or November, which is actually fine for one night, although the fact that it was still light enough to read outside at after 10pm made it hard to believe. Bit weird.

More extreme Yorkshiring tomorrow when we visit Wensleydale (Yes sir? Right I’ll have some of that. Sorry sir?) and a coople of cahsles on the way.

Thanks for reading





  1. Is there a famous Yorkshire tea I thought

  2. There is! Yorkshire Tea and I'm having a brew right now :)