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.
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 beingMy wish for you in 2014 is “Waes Hael!”
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: