Made with love

Tim’s Big Idea

We delve into Yorkshire dialect for this post.  Goodness knows why my rhyming stories (I hesitate to call them poems just because they rhyme) come out in dialect, but they do.  Before you dive in if you’re new to the language you might like to refer to June 2012′s post for a brief lesson on how to deal with the vagaries of spoken Yorkshire.  Otherwise, here goes:
‘Twas Christmas Eve in the boozer,
Our Tim sat there wi’ ‘is beer,
Surrounded by all ‘is best mates: “The Lads”,
All flushed wi’ t’festive cheer, 
But Tim contemplated ‘is navel,
‘E used to be slender and trim,
Then ‘e looked around at ‘is co’orts:
Yes, they looked just like ‘im.
“Rotund” were t’word what sprung to mind;
“Cuddly” if you’d prefer,
Not one of ’em wore a slim-fit shirt,
There were none of ’em svelte, as it were.
That’s when Tim ‘ad ‘is big idea
And said to t’lads, “‘Ere’s a thought,
Between Christmas and New Year, in t”olidays,
Let’s all go out for a walk.
It won’t do any ‘arm to get out in t’fresh air,
To give t’wives some peace and some ‘ush.
It’s a chance for us to stretch us legs,
And give us lungs a push.”
The first thing ‘e ‘eard were t’stunned silence,
Then chuckles, nay, laughter ensued,
Then finally, what put t’tin ‘at on,
Were when somebody said, “After you!”
“You go for a walk if you want to,
We’ll wait for you ‘ere sat at t’bar,
We’ll send you a taxi when you get stuck,
Or t’missus can fetch you in t’car.”
Our Tim were nonplussed by t’reaction,
He’d thought they’d fall in wi’ ‘is plan,
But listening to t’hoots of derision, he knew,
They’d sorely misjudged their man.
Back at ‘ome ‘e googled a large-scale map,
With local footpaths and t’like,
And that’s when ‘e found it, a charity walk
For t’ ‘ospice: a nice long hike.
Tim planned ‘is attack right careful,
‘E’d play on their consciences first,
Then reel ’em in slowly, one at a time,
Leaving Pete to t’last, ‘e’d be t’worst.
Tim signed up for t’job, then got crackin’:
‘E dubbened ‘is boots first of all,
Then tried on ‘is waterproof trousers,
A mistake that: they’d shrunk rather small.
‘E walked up to t’pub next visit,
And passed around t’sponsorship sheet:
“It’s a worthy cause”, “‘E’s a right grand lad”,
Very soon it came back complete.
When t’lads saw what ‘e were up to,
Chris and Ian signed up straight away,
“We can’t ‘ave t’lad goin’ out on ‘is own,
So we’ll both make one in for the day.”
That Sunday they met to start training,
And walked for nearly an hour,
As luck would ‘ave it they were just passing t’pub,
So managed to avoid t’passing shower.
“I thought you lot were out training,”
Laughed Pete as ‘e walked in with Phil,
“We were and we’ll walk again after this pint,
From ‘ere it’s all down’ill.”
They took some banter, though Tim could tell
Phil’s ‘eart weren’t really in t’game,
Next morning, a phone call, “You’re stark ravin’ mad,”
But sign me up all the same.”
Now there were four of ’em walking,
And t’wives ‘ad a chat, as they do,
“It’s t’mid-life crisis”, they all agreed,
“Could be worse, could be a tattoo.”
By now Pete were feelin’ left out, like,
But ‘ow to back down and join in?
When t’wife and t’kids started giving ‘im grief,
‘E bit t’bullet and gave Tim a ring:
“I’ve been doin’ a fair bit o’thinking
About this sponsorship stuff,
You’ll raise more money if I join in,
And get my clients to cough up.”
“That’s grand”, Tim replied (Yes! ‘E ‘ad ‘im!)
“I’ll add your name to t’team sheet,
You’ll need to start training in earnest,
‘Cos there’s twenty mile to complete.”
The day of the hike dawned quite lovely,
No rain, it were sunny and bright.
Big Ian were nursing t’ ‘angover,
From pre-hike meeting last night.
The Lads were all sporting new back packs,
Filled wi’ t’packed lunch and fresh socks,
Water, map, compass, first aid kit,
And for energy, big bars of choc.
The first five mile were a doddle,
T’lads chatted and joked as they went,
They’d all ‘ad team t-shirts printed,
And considered it money well-spent.
By six miles they’d eaten their sarnies,
By seven their chocolate bars too,
By seven-and-a-half they were hungry again,
And badly in need of a brew.
Poor Phil ‘e developed a blister,
And soon ‘is pained limp got quite bad,
So Chris, being t’factory first-aider,
Administered plasters to t’lad.
Miles ten to fifteen were just awful,
It started to rain, then to pour,
‘Til even Tim, our brave ‘ero,
Found charity walking a chore.
The sun dried t’lads off by mile sixteen,
Seventeen, eighteen took wing;
At nineteen Big Ian found ‘is ‘angover gone,
So told ’em t’first round were on ‘im.
Leg-weary they burst through the finish,
To rounds of applause and a cheer;
Hand shakes all round; a slap on the back;
Then, “C’mon Big Ian, where’s t’beer?”
That evening, back in the boozer,
Our Tim sat there wi’ ‘is ale,
Surrounded by all ‘is best mates, “The Lads”,
All telling the post-hike tale.
They’d not lost an inch off their waistlines,
They were all too fond of their beer,
Tim contemplated ‘is navel then said,
“Listen lads, I’ve ‘ad an idea…”
© Heather Wood

And While I’m on the Subject

Here’s an ad that some of you might like to see if you’ve never been to Yorkshire – and some of you might like to see if you’re from here and haven’t been home in a while – and some of you might like to see even if you live here.  The ad is to introduce Le Grand Départ of that great French cycle race the Tour de France 2014: racing starts in Yorkshire on 5th July 2014 before heading over to France on 8th July.

Watch this: you’ll see gorgeous views of my home county.  Enjoy.

“Wassailing Cups”

Or, in the local dialect, “Wesseling” to rhyme with “vessel”-ing.  Yes, we’re having another of my How to Speak Yorkshire lessons, folks.

A curious thing happened in the couple of weeks before Christmas: three times in two days I heard local people refer to “Wesseling Cups”.

“The [Christmas] tree fell over and three of the wesseling cups broke”, said a member of the T’ai Chi class.

“I finished putting all the wesseling cups on my tree just before I came out”, said a member of the choir, and

“Some of my wesseling cups belonged to my grandma”, was overheard in a shop in the village.

Now, whilst I was certain that “wessailing” was the local dialect word for “wassailing” in all my years (and that’s a fair few now) I’d never heard of wassailing cups being hung on a Christmas tree before, but let’s take a step back as I’m assuming that you know what wassailing is, or was.

Wassailing developed from an old pagan fertility rite performed to waken the fruit trees from their winter slumber.  As far back as the 1400s “Wassail”, which comes from the old English “Waes Hael” meaning “be you healthy”, was both a salutation and a drink of hot mulled cider given to visitors who went from house to house singing – Carols singers are the modern-day Wassailers.  When I was growing up we would sing, “Here We Come a-Wassailing” at Christmas concerts given in school; our singing wasn’t followed by drinking hot mulled cider, I hasten to add.  So, that’s a quick lesson in wassailing and you’ll have guessed by now that a wassailing cup contained that hot mulled cider I keep mentioning.

So, what of the locals hereabouts hanging wesseling cups on their Christmas trees?  My first enquiries just brought forth explanations of what wassailing was (I know, I know!), but eventually I asked the right question of the right person and here’s the answer: wassailing cups, or “wesseling” cups in the local dialect, is a generic term for Christmas tree ornaments – any ornament, they don’t have to be cup-shaped.

Next Christmas I’m going to hang wesseling cups on my tree, but for the time being

My wish for you in 2014 is “Waes Hael!”

With Love

Leaf heart

This beautiful autumn leaf heart was the result of the wind blowing leaves in to a heap in the doorway to the church where our choir (Horbury Singers) practises.

What a wonderful welcome.

November: Christmas Fair Month

Wow! What a month I’ve had.  Back in February it felt rather silly to be booking myself in to Christmas fairs and markets in November, but the year whizzed by and suddenly there I was half-way through October making cookie mixes like there was no tomorrow in preparation for all the bookings I’d made.

The fairs started with the NSPCC Christmas Fair at Castle Howard a two-day event with an overnight stay in the very friendly, peaceful and comfortable Thompson’s Arms at Flaxton.  You can see from this photo of my stall that I looked very grand between the pillars in the Grecian Hall; my stall even over-looked by a bust:

NSPCC Castle Howard

Castle Howard was immediately followed by Saturday at the Dewsbury Homemade Festival and finally Sunday at Huddersfield’s Upmarket Sunday.  All very different; all great fun.  That Monday I slept ’til lunchtime.

The following weekend found me at the three-day Shibden Hall Christmas Craft Fair.  You may remember my stint in the haunted bedroom last year; me and the orbs.  This year I was outside the hall in an estate worker’s cottage.  No pillars or bust this time, but a log fire to keep me warm on a very cold weekend.

Shibden Cottage

It was gratifying to find customers coming to find me because they’d bought my cookie mixes at this event last year and wanted more.

No rest for the wicked! This week off I went to a mid-week Ladies Christmas Shopping Evening; a fund-raiser in aid of Ruddi’s Retreat and then a quick turn around and away to York Christmas Fair at Skelton Garden Centre for two days at the weekend.  Phew!  

Today I paid a visit to the hairdresser – yes, I had a day off.

It’s Been a While

Looking back, it’s months since I last posted so much as a thought.  Things got a little crazy here, as they do from time to time, but here in the midst of the craziness I’ve found a still, small moment to post a “Hi”.

Here’s a quick update on some of the craziness:

Poor little, well, not so little any more, Tanner broke a leg in a freak accident that is, apparently, not unusual in puppies.  She had it pinned back together by orthopaedic specialist (and hero of the hour) Steve Clarke at The Willows veterinary practice.  Trying to keep a giddy, energetic puppy quiet for a couple of months is no mean feat, let me tell you, but she’s looking great; there’s no hint of a limp; we are very pleased and not a little relieved.

Here’s an X-ray photo of Steve’s handiwork:

Dog's hind leg

And here’s Tanner trying to get my attention while I’m trying to work on my laptop:

Attention seeker

So, what else has happened?  Ah, yes: The Leak

I walked in to the kitchen one evening and thought, hmmm… my sock’s all soggy (I’m being polite here).  Checked that it wasn’t the puppy that had “leaked” – No.  So, why did I have a puddle in the kitchen?  It turned out that we had a long-running (please pardon the pun), slow leak from the pipe-work supplying the bath’s hot water tap.

It had quite possibly taken months to build up enough dripped water to soak through the floor of the bathroom, the ceiling of the kitchen beneath and the layers of cupboard beneath that.  Rather like a sponge reaching critical mass and being unable to take in any more water, the leaking water had finally found its way out on to the kitchen floor and in to my sock.  Great.

Now we have a fridge/freezer in the middle of the kitchen floor (I try to pretend it’s an island); a hole in the kitchen ceiling; no kitchen units on that side of the kitchen and all the contents of the units in boxes in the dining room. Oh, and a machine blowing hot air up in to the hole in the ceiling to dry out all the timber.  On the plus side (yes, there really is one), our lovely plumber was able to fix the bathroom leak through the hole in the kitchen ceiling, so there’s been no visible damage in the bathroom.

In case you’re wondering, the cookie mixing goes on undaunted.  “Cookie Central” is, fortunately, our granny flat kitchen and nowhere near the site of the leak – Phew! And what of the cookie mixes?  That’s a story for another day.

Ellevidara Deodara

This rather grand Kennel Club title heralds the arrival of Tanner a pedigree Airedale Terrier puppy who has recently joined our household.  She’s eleven weeks old now and making life interesting for all of us, not the least Penny (alias Dimante Magic Millie, while we’re on the subject of grand titles), our ten-year old Airedale.  In the two weeks that Tanner has lived with us Penny has gone from steadfastly ignoring her to slow acceptance mixed with warning growls (“You’re bugging me, kid”) and woofs (“Mum! She’s being naughty again”).

We’ve found that we have to explain Tanner’s name to folk of less mature years, so here goes:

In 1971 decimal currency was introduced in the UK.  Pre-decimalisation we had pounds (£), shillings (/) and pence (d).  There were 12d to the shilling and 20/- to the pound.  Post-decimalisation we had (and still have) only pounds (£) and pence (p); the shilling disappeared altogether, and there are 100p to the pound.  When I was a little girl the tooth fairy would leave a sixpence, a little silver coin worth, as the name suggests, 6d (6 pennies), under my pillow, a swap for the loose tooth that had fallen out that day.  In slang terms the sixpence was also known as… wait for it… a “tanner”.  Penny, Tanner, yes? Yes!

Here she is:


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