Yorkshire words of the week

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From: Bernard Longstaff, The Old School, Amotherby, Malton

As two young lads from Dewsbury, some years ago, a colleague and I went to the Middle East to negotiate a contract to supply electricity to rural villages. It is common for such contracts to be given to a local company who in turn looks to “sponsor” a company capable of carrying out the work. Our sponsor was well educated and spoke impeccable English, until we started to discuss money and how the job was going to be financed and managed. He then lapsed into Arabic and we ended up speaking to him via an interpreter. This put us at a disadvantage because although we knew the prince understood English, we couldn’t understand Arabic, until my fellow Yorkshire man suddenly said: “Tak na gorm on em lad, they’rs nobbut laiking abaht wantin sum moor brass aht n’t job! We’re barn ti doo ‘t job our rooad or we’ir nooan barn ti doo it at all. If they dooant lark it they can blooming well lump it. I’m just abaht sick ‘n tired on all this allakin’ abaht. Lets talk lark this ‘til they cum to their senses.” All discussions after that were in English!.

As a youngster I spent time working “down ‘t pit” and there were some old soldiers down there. If we complained that we had to walk for about an hour (very common in old pits) to get to the coalface we were told, “Stop blathering lad. While tha’s marchin,tha’s nooan feightin”. If we were given a job that didn’t pay much, we were told, “Meat ‘n tatie pie lad”. “What’s tha meean?” was the reply. “Meat ‘n tatie pie – worrk according lie” (let your effort match your reward). And we did.

Donning and doffing, meaning to put on or take off and usually relating to clothes, were two operations in the textile industry I seem to recall. I believe there were “doffing” machines in some mills. Can anyone enlighten me?

From: DKJ Harrison, Main Street, Addingham, Ilkley.

BELOW is a poem taught to me by a farmer’s wife when I was a youngster in the Thirties. The lady passed away aged 99 some 40 years ago and she was taught it by her mother.

Ower cow’s poorly

Ower dog’s deeead

Ower cat’s getten bellywark

Reyt atop o’t heeead.

Has anyone heard it and are there any other verses?

From: Audrey Bemrose, Clarence Avenue, Bridlington

ONE of our East Riding Dialect Society members, from Hutton Cranswick, remembers when being sent on errands as a lad to ‘go to rent end’. We can’t find the meaning of “rent” in this context.

Can anyone give us an answer ?