Have you ever come to a place where you thought, ‘Wow, I’ve come home’?
You just felt that pull – Call it destiny or comfort.
Well, when I came to Yorkshire for the first time in 1988 to visit a holiday romance from the previous summer, I certainly felt that pull – no pun intended.
My love affair with ‘Gods Own County’ actually began a long time before 1988.
I’m German, you see, and we Germans are very fond of the English humour.
And, in 1979, some bright spark at the German television channel ARD had the grand idea to buy in one of the best shows ever – “All Creatures Great And Small” (German title: Der Doktor und das liebe Vieh).
Featuring the often-hilarious trials and tribulations of James Herriot, a Yorkshire Dales vet, around the time of the Second World War, this TV series made me and the rest of Germany fall in love with the uniqueness of the Yorkshire landscape and the peculiarity of its people.
I vividly remember a 13-year old me planting both feet firmly on the carpet in front of our television set, announcing passionately to my startled family, “I’m going to live there when I grow up!”
Well, I would love to say that from then on I made it my only goal in life to live in Yorkshire, but this was not so.
When I met the aforementioned Yorkshire lad eight years later on that eventful holiday in Majorca, I can faithfully say that I didn’t have Yorkshire on my mind.
Long story short, I moved here in 1990 and have since been happily married to my holiday romance and have remained captivated by this wonderful county and its people.
My nine reasons why I’m going to keep on loving Yorkshire forever go beyond the most widely acknowledged and written about features. They’re purely personal.
1. The ‘Luvs’ and ‘Petals’ All Around
“I hear them in the supermarket, I hear them on pub patios,
the ‘luvs’ and ‘petals’ that are all around me,
and so the feeling grows…”
Ok, I pinched that from the Wet Wet Wet song “Love is All Around.”
Wherever you go, there is always somebody calling you by some affectionate name that makes no sense whatsoever but brightens the mood significantly and instantly.
There’s no other place where you feel unexpectedly loved in everyday situations as much as in Yorkshire.
2. The unrelenting ‘U’ and the missing ‘H’
Bootter, boongalow, moom – Yorkshire people say it as they find it.
After all, pronouncing the ‘U’ as a ‘U’ is like calling a spade a spade.
Southerners are saying batter, bangalow and mam – what’s that all about? It’s a ‘U’, so speak it as one! For ‘eaven’s sake.
Now then, dropping the ‘H’ adds just another bow to the Yorkshire strings.
Do we speak the ‘H’ in words such as honest and honour? I rest my case.
3. Ey Up
Can you think of anything better to say when words fail you?
Meaning ‘watch out’ and ‘hello’ at the same time, it gets you out of a tight spot every time; like finding t’wife in bed with another lad, your boss catching you being on t’Facebook when tha shouldn’t, or having the lass of your dreams standing right in front of you in’t pub.
‘Ey up’ is a classic – it can be as much of a cool masking of awkwardness, as it’s a happy greeting to somebody you fancy – two for one – that’s what I call a ‘reight bargin’.
4. The Queer Folk
Image Source: Glossophilia
“Theerz nowt s’queer as folk.” Translation: People do the strangest things.
Yorkshire folk are known to be some of the friendliest in the land. The petal and luv approach already shows how inclusive they are.
But they can also be ‘reight uns’. James Herriot’s tales of olden times are not so antiquated as one might think. There are still plenty of characters around.
Sayings such as “If there’s owt for nowt, I’ll be there with a barrow” are still very reflective of the ‘careful’ nature of people when it comes to money. My mother-in-law bears testament to this philosophy.
Voicing opinions whether ‘you bloody well want to hear it or not’ are still as popular today as they were then. Just look at Geoffrey Boycott – still as loved today as he was 50 years ago.
As mentioned before, Yorkshire people just say it as it is. “Put wood in’t ‘ole” (put the wood in the hole) meaning “shut the door” is such a typical example of this.
Love them or hate them, you have to admit they’re a bit special, the folk of Yorkshire.
5. The Grass
Have you ever hiked over the moors and the green hills, through rock-covered gorges, or along the fast-flowing becks and waterfalls into the most charming valleys?
I think you probably know why I’m even talking about the grass.
It just looks different to any other grass I’ve ever seen in the world.
It looks so soft – from near and from afar alike. I always feel I want to roll about in it.
Or, maybe I’m just weird.
6. The Sheep
Now, true Yorkshire grit not only applies to the folk.
The sheep that are such a natural part of the countryside here lay claim to it too.
Although the sun makes an appearance now and then, Dales folk and flocks are used to driving rain, snow and storms. These tough creatures endure the often harsh conditions all year round scattered on the hillsides, jaywalking across narrow country roads or gazing with interest at passing hikers.
You just have to look with pleasure at their little faces, munching away on the richness of the wonderful grass plucked from the vastness of the open fields.
They are hardy and happy, just like their human counterparts.
7. The Size
The sheer vastness and power of the place – It’s amazing!
The Yorkshire Times tells us that as a region, we have a population of about 5.3 million. We could each one of us have a one-on-one fistfight with a Scot – not that we would want to, of course, I guess…
It’s the largest county in the UK with 2.9 million acres, and its economy is worth a whopping £110bn per year! That’s about twice the size of Wales and larger than 11 EU countries! There you go – never mind Brexit – we could easily manage ourselves, couldn’t we, lads and lasses?
If Yorkshire was to be an independent country, we would have finished twelfth on the league table in the 2012 Olympics – that’s seven Golds, two Silvers and three Bronzes, thank you very much.
8. The Arctic Monkeys
In his hay day, Alex Turner and his polar mates turned out some reight tunes with lyrics that were straight from the Sheffield streets, dripping with the coolest ‘yorkshireness’. Everybody now knows a mardy bum when they see one thanks to Alex.
These days, however, based in sunny LA, it’s a bit ‘over yonder’ what we’re listening to on their newest album, and we’re truly flummoxed.
But, ey up, he’s no longer living in Yorkshire, so what did you expect?
9. The Curries
When I first came to this county, I’ve never had a curry! Can you imagine that?
What a revelation it was for me to be presented with a plate that was strangely wiped in front of me before it was filled with the most wonderful, nose-runningly, sweat-beads-producing, delicious tastes I’d ever experienced before.
Bradford has been crowned the winner of the Curry Capital of Britain Competition for six years in a row now; well of course it has.
The immigration in the last century from former commonwealth countries into Yorkshire due to its rich textile industry has brought a multitude of cultures – and with them their glorious food.
Whether you are eating in a top-notch vegetarian Indian restaurant like Prashad or one of the longstanding Pakistani or Bangladeshi curry houses in the heart of Bradford, you won’t be disappointed with a Yorkshire curry. That’s a promise!
Now, as peculiar as my reasons for loving ‘God’s Own County’ may appear to you, they are a reflection of my genuine affection.
For me, there’s nowt as champion as Yorkshire.
Caren is a qualified and experienced digital copy & content writer with both a corporate and small business owner background. She runs KreativeInc Agency, a web design, development and content creation agency with her autistic son Callum Gamble.
She specialises in creating Inbound Marketing content for business websites and blogs. Using her expert knowledge, skills and personal experience in business development, personal improvement and autism, she crafts content that makes people take action. Her work is found in retail publications, professional websites, on her writer’s platform StoryBlog and more.
She is also an active advocate of neurodiversity in the workplace and co-founder of the NeuroPool network, neuropool.co.uk. Here, she is organising free educational workshops for employers on how to utilise the extraordinary talent found in people with autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia within their business.
When she isn’t typing away on her keyboard or spreading her mission, you can see her having her nose buried in a book or hiking up and down the steep hills of the Yorkshire countryside with her husband, son and daughter.
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