THE BARD OF BARNSLEY PROVIDES HIS WHIMSICAL LOOK AT YORKSHIRE LIFE
PEOPLE say that us Yorkshire folk (always “Yorkshire folk”, note; not “Yorkshire people”) can be identified with ease. They say that they can tell we’re from Yorkshire by the way we speak, the way we dress, the way we complain about the price of things, the way we get sentimental at the thought of curd tart. Well, yes, these are all true to an extent, but they are obvious and wellworn, indeed almost threadbare, signs of Yorkshireness; I’d like to dig a little deeper to look for more subtle ways of thinking about how you can spot a person from Yorkshire a mile off. I’ll just pause a minute, though, while I think about curd tart. Ah, curd tart. Have you got a hanky? I’m getting a little tearful.
The first way you can spot a Yorkshire person is by the way they climb stairs,airs, especially if there’s the option of an n escalator available, like in a shopping ing mall or a station. Yorkshire people e command the stairs, they ascend them as though they’re on stage or r as though they’re climbing the last t few feet to the top of Everest without out oxygen. They sometimes take them m two at a time, showing off. The importantant word here is “take”; we take the stairsairs like an invading army might take a castle. And then we stand at the top and gaze round expectantly, glancing at the lightweights who’ve let the escalator do the work, as though we’re expecting applause. Which, to be fair, we sometimes get. But only from fellow Yorkshiremen and women.
The second way you can tell that a person is from Yorkshire is by the way they pour their tea from the pot into the cup. Observe this next time you’re in a cafe. Before the pouring the lid of the teapot is taken off and the tea is inspected; sometimes it is sniffed as though at some kind of tasting ceremony. The tea is stirred with a spoon. The tea is left to mash. Then the teapot is lifted, with the same sense of theatre that the stairs were ascended earlier. The pourer looks around because they hope they are being observed. They lift the teapot higher and higher, sometimes standing up at the cafe table, and you realise that this Yorkshire person, like all Yorkshire folk, wants to see how high in the air they can pour the tea without spilling any, like a high-diver diving into an exact spot in a pool metres below. The tea is poured, falling through the air in a perfect stream and landing in the cup with barely a splash. That’s Yorkshire pouring, ladies and gentle gentlemen. Come on, we’ve all done it. Or perh perhaps it’s only me.
The third way you can tell that someone i is from Yorkshire is by observing them having the last word. Somebody will say “Goodnight” and the Yorkshire p person will say “Goodnight”. The first p person will say it again and the Yorkshire p person will say it again and they’ll insi insist on being the last person to say it beca because we always, always have to have the la last word. See if y you can spot all three today, in t the same location: the stairsc climber, the tea-pourer, the l last-word utterer. T Then you’ll k know you’re in Y Yorkshire, and th that’s my last word on the subject. Tea, anyo anyone? I’ll pour. From up here.