Total submission – the defining demand of Yorkshire women

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From: Jennifer Hunter, Farfield Avenue, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

ALASTAIR Moffat’s highly interesting and illuminative article and the Editorial Comment (Yorkshire Post, October 30) have inspired me to share some observations and memories with regard to Yorkshire people and, in particular, regarding certain characteristics attributable to Yorkshire women.

As a Yorkshire woman (I was born in Staincliffe, Dewsbury, raised in Morley and my forebears for centuries were primarily Yorkshire folk), I feel that I am in a position to analyse female characteristics and comment upon them.

My mother managed to trace some of her family history and it appears that some of my maternal forebears fought for the Parliamentarians in 1643 at the Battle of Adwalton Moor in Drighlington. They lost the battle, but managed to survive.

The Editorial questions whether or not the caricature of Nora Batty is a flattering one. Nora was definitely one of the most popular characters of Last of the Summer Wine and Compo appeared to adore her.

There is, however, some of Nora Batty in very many Yorkshire women and my own mother displayed very many of those characteristics. My mother was able to dominate my dear late father psychologically for the duration of their very long marriage.

My father became gradually wise and regularly sought refuge and solace either in a local club or, during his retirement, on Churwell Bowling Green. My father realised that he would never be able to tame my mother’s spirit and challenge her extremely strong will, and whenever it was their wedding anniversary, he always joked that at 11am we should observe two minutes’ silence.

My father possessed a very dry Yorkshire sense of humour which sustained him during the trials and tribulations of a lengthy marriage to a very strong-minded, intelligent, astute Yorkshire woman.

During one episode, Compo asked Wally Batty what Nora most desired in a man. Wally paused, thought about this question carefully and responded: “Total submission.” I laughed heartily at this response, but I remember one of my aunties behaving rather like Nora with her husband (both departed this earth many years ago), one of my father’s brothers.

She insisted on doing almost everything for him and sometimes she even used to speak for him. He earned the reputation of being a very quiet man, but when he was alone, he used to converse with me freely and eloquently.

Obviously Wally’s response of “total submission” is an exaggeration and most reasonable women would not wish for, expect, or tolerate that kind of behaviour from their husband or partner. There has 
to be a balance, but Roy 
Clarke was exceptionally discerning when he created 
his characters.

Although Nora’s manner was, at times, rather fierce, no person should realistically be placed in 
a position like poor old Wally 
was when he felt he was forced 
to behave with “total submission”.