I have just finished reading a book called “ How I became a Yorkshireman”. It was given to me by a very good Yorkshire friend of many years, to help me to understand this race of people, who live in the back of beyond of our wonderful country.

It is hilariously amusing in that it tells the story, of a young man who came to Yorkshire in the 1960s, much like me, and was introduced to the ways of Yorkshire folk. His introduction was both daunting and strange for a “soft, effete” southern lad, who because of economics had inadvertently strayed over the border from south of Bawtry, into the misgiving territory of God’s own County.

To be fair the book title is a misnomer, in that one cannot become a Yorkshireman. You are either born one or not, and if not, one is destined to a life of inferiority in one’s own country forever. Putting that aside, there are some interesting truisms which are as relevant now as then in the book and from my own experience remain and always will remain of living in Yorkshire.

Let me explain.

I first ventured foot into God’s own County in 1967 when I joined the Army and upon receiving my rail warrant was overjoyed to see I only had to travel to Richmond. As a Londoner I was pleased I did not have to go too far from the bright lights and big city known to us cockneys as “the Smoke”. Upon arriving, bleary eyed at Richmond railway station Catterick,  I soon realised my mistake.

There was nothing except dark and gloom and everything seemed to be a black and white photograph that my parents showed me of their childhood days before the War. I then went on to spend sometime in Yorkshire off and on over the years with the Army, but never for too long and I always looked forward to leaving it and going somewhere warm, sunny and lively.

That was until the dreaded day I was posted permanently to Yorkshire and the city of York.

Everyone told me I would love it. I have come to realise in that time, several lessons, enthusiastically taught to me by ever willing throngs of Yorkshire folk, how astute Yorkshire people are. I have now been here over 30 years, in the same house, in the same village, where I know most of the people and whenever I open my mouth I still get the same retort from everyone I speak with.

Tha’s not froom rownd ere, are ye?

I now realise how perceptive Yorkshire folk are and this lesson is constantly reinforced on a daily basis.

I also learnt very quickly how “Brass” or money plays a big part in Yorkshire life. A good friend of mine, who lived in our village until his passing, was a Yorkshireman through and through. We would often go to the pub on a Friday evening at the end of a long hard weeks work. One Friday as we got to the pub door in our village, he propelled me in through the door quite forcibly to the bar in front of him. I was non-plussed to say the least. I duly bought the round and we sat down. He did not seem upset and chatted away amicably as usual about the wonderful Yorkshire cricket side, the beautiful Yorkshire dales, good Yorkshire eating pubs and how much food one got for the lowest price, the best Yorkshire beer to be had and how much it cost, and lastly Yorkshire!

I then tentatively posed the question. “ Why did you push me in the door like that when we arrived, have I upset you or something”?

He duly replied, “Nay lad, but Ah bort last rownd last week”!

A salutary lesson never to be forgotten.

I love living here and Yorkshire folk are no better or less friendly than people anywhere else in the country. There’s some real good uns and some others, who will remain nameless, exactly the same as anywhere else in my experience. It is a beautiful county and the dales are breathtaking all year round, the seaside towns like Whitby and Scarborough are very bracing, the food is traditionally cooked, and I never tell my southern friends how good it is, in case they come “oop north” and the house prices go up. I will not be leaving God’s own County ever.

But, the most important lesson ever taught to me by a gruff Yorkshire lad was the Yorkshire motto, which holds true for all Yorkshiremen to the day eternal, and it is this.

“Ear all, eat all, seh nowt and if tha does owt fer nowt, do it for thissen”

Hear ends the Yorkshire lesson from a lad “who’s not from round here”.


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