Back in the gloomy days of winter, the family had two choices for summer holidays.
We could have chosen Italy, with a bit of culture, some sun, lounging by a pool, the possibility of actually swimming in the sea and, of course, Italy’s glorious cuisine, and not forgetting the wine.
Or we could opt for the geek paradises of the National Railway Museum at York, The Royal Armouries at Leeds, going Goth-spotting in Whitby and steam train madness on the North Yorkshire Railways. Admittedly, the weather can be variable, but the food and drink would be good and there was the notion of a relaxing, quiet, get-away-from-it-all country cottage.
It was a straightforward referendum. Italy? Yorkshire?
As returning officer it was my duty to declare victory for the Yorkshire Moors. We are in a cottage so remote it rewrites the term. Think Wuthering Heights but with broadband.
It’s certainly far from the old madding crowd, but quiet? Good grief, who knew the countryside was so noisy? The field opposite is home to about 20-odd sheep. I had no idea that sheep could be so odd, or so sinister. They stare, and I mean stare, from behind their long floppy Hugh Grant fringes. It must be close to sheep shaving season or whatever its called . . . I’ll check with The Archers. That’s where I get my in-depth farming info.
These sheep give passers-by serious eyeball action, like they’re sizing us up for something. They remind me of that photo of the Bullingdon Club, all swooshing coiffure and shifty expressions. We all know how that worked out for the passing peasantry.
When they’re not glaring at the Two-Legs, they bleat constantly like braying city boys on the trading floor, whilst randomly and unexpectedly leaping into the air. They may have secreted trampolines about the field. I tell you, they’re up to something. I think they’re trying to figure out how the gate lock works, then they’ll be off to work for some grasping investment bank to shift Greek debt around.
Behind us there are chickens with a mission to make humanity pay for every KFC bargain bucket ever consumed, by clucking louder than a Newcastle hen-do. They’re a very trendy rusty-gold colour, and spend a lot of time ignoring the big bloke who wanders about shaking that tail feather, thrusting his chest out and giving it big licks in the crowing stakes like a post-midnight Great Junction Street bammer freshly chucked from the Dockers howling for his girlfriend, or at least the woman he’s just been talking to at the bar.
And jings, the traffic. Why, yesterday, three cars, a tractor and tiny girl on a huge horse passed the window.
Peace and quiet, eh?
He can’t escape his roots, by gum
Of course, the husband is from Yorkshire, but not this bit. Apparently confusing one nook of the shire with another cranny of the county is a bit like mixing up Cumbernauld with Inverness, and we all know the trouble that can cause.
He’s lived amongst us for 30 years now, but the minute we passed a sign that read Welcome To Yorkshire he used the term “by gum”.
The man reverted to his roots faster than a tartan-clad tourist from New Jersey who boasts a Scottish cousin on his great grandmothers side. Possibly.
Let’s carry out Border raid to free Yorkshire
Should we attain independence, we must take the good folk of Yorkshire with us. For one thing, they asked. Well, the chap I bumped into on the beach asked, but he seemed to have a lot of common sense about him, not to mention a dead fish poking out of his top pocket through his beard.
There is the small matter of a legendary York by-law which states it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow if you meet one within the city walls, but he seemed to think this could be easily re-directed in negotiations towards certain politicians.
Yorkshire people have a lot in common with us, you know. The diet, going on what I’ve seen heavily advertised hereabouts, would seem to consist of deep-fried foods, notably fish and chips. They seem devoted to tea, biscuits and beers with unpronounceable names.
They boast more flavours of ice cream than appears necessary, but no mention of Irn-Bru.
I see fertile grounds for cross-Border development here.
Where ‘H’ is for ‘high and mighty’
He’s been saying “by ‘eck” a lot too. Everyone does. I thought it was a reference to our previous First Minster, now MP, Big Eck Salmond.
People in Yorkshire are not keen on the letter “H”. I suspect it’s regarded as a tad ostentatious, used only by them as think a bit too much of themselves.
The only place name that gets its full “H” is Harrogate, a place to
rival the New Town itself for pointless 4x4 ownership and Aga saturation.
I rest my case.