Yorkshire Day

You know that moment you're walking through one of the Saddleworth villages and you see Patrick Stewart dressed as a Borg beside a fourteen foot version of Liz Taylor? That moment. Then because you have no choice, and also because you're nosy, you wander other and end up talking to a lovely bunch from Sheffield who own them. You end up talking about giants on the moors, in this case those giants wouldn't be Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation but Alphin and Alderman getting the hots for Rimmon. It doesn't end well, a bit like Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek but without the smugness of Data or (spoiler alert) the death of Data. These are Catalan giants, made in Spain by a Giant Maker, who thought there was a job title like that out there? They are 4.4 metres high (that's 14 feet in old money or what was called sterling - sorry, another EU Referendum reference and we might actually implode) and represent War and Peace, at nine stone (58kg) each that's a lot of War and Peace to make and to dress (it seems it takes 30-40 minutes to dress a giant, they don't dress themselves because they're giants and let's face facts if you were 14 feet tall you'd get someone else to pull up your trollies) and they're hefty to carry. When they're not dancing in folk festivals and declarations for God's own country, they sit in Kelham Island Industrial Museum. However, on the Sunday before Yorkshire Day, Saddleworth always likes to lead the way, they are dancing down the High Street with a few hundred people in their wake and few hundred people all taking photos with their jaws around their knickers.

home, community, saddleworth, yorkshire day

For those of you have never had to say the declaration to Yorkshire or live within the three historical ridings, that being North, West and East, the Vikings like most Northerners had no taste for the South, and therefore there are very few places called the South around here. Just joking, we love all of you regardless of where you are from but we draw the line at the Isle of Wight. Again, joking.

Patrick Stewart, community, yorkshire day

Yorkshire Day is a much loved event in the area and frankly when you are this close to county end it is somewhat a militant and fiercely guarded tradition harking back to 1975. You can take our administrative boundaries but you can never take our traditions! After getting all Braveheart on a field with some Catalan giants, a couple of sausages, a few tombolas, a brass band following a ukulele act, and some cake you can see why we hold onto this stuff with both hands, even when we're dead. If you can't get a Yorkshire man to let go of something important when he's alive, what bloody chance have you when rigor mortis sets in? Nowt, so bugger off with all thee twaddle about being in a town that only administrates us but has nowt to do with what goes on in our hearts. These fierce arguments about administrative boundary changes in the 1970s and how they have nothing, and we mean nothing to do with historical county boundaries, beer and whippets, will rage on long after you give up trying to rip the white rose from our bony fingers. Go and look at the pratty flowers instead, and bung some spice in your cake hole. Aye, we may have some flat caps floating around but we're proud of them and we'd all like a little of Sean Bean in us telling us in that flat Yorkshire drawl to buck up or bugger off. There was absolutely no innuendo in the last sentence and has absolutely nothing to do with Lady Chatterley's Lover. Phwoarr, Sean Bean.

ammon wrigley, poetry

Today, instead of undressing Sean Bean in our mind we will be dressing Ammon Wrigley in flowers and remembering H.P. Whitehead, and maybe some beer and whippets will get in there, and the odd flat cap is worn.

home, family, yorkshire day

And, maybe we act a little daft because we love the words of Ammon Wrigley and the way he walked the moors, and called this place, 'home'.

community, ammon wrigley

Home to old Saddleworth, home once more,
How my heart is stirred to its innermost core;
For I’ve been roaming and it’s a joy to go;
Up the hillside lane by the fields I know.

Home to the hamlet where my own folks bide,
To the old armchair by the hearthstone side;
To the neighbour folks and my boyhood’s friends;
Who oft played with me at the old lane ends.

Home to the throstle on the high ash tree
When its throat is full of the springtime glee;
To the upland fields where the skylarks sing;
And the rough brown moor with its grouse and ling

Home to the meadows in the morning time,
To the high barn now that I used to climb;
To the windrows turned on a howling day;
And the laneside trees hung with whisps of hay.

I’ll go to the village not far below,
To the quaint old street and the folks I know;
I know what they’ll say as they’ve always done;
"Put it theer, owd lad, if it weighs a ton".

The little sweet shop where I sued to stare
At the parkin pies and toffy sticks there;
How I pressed my nose ‘gainst the window pane;
And longed for a penny but longed in vain.

Home to old Saddleworth what more do I need,
Than the hills I love an’ the men they breed?
And I’ll roam no more for I ne’er have found
More kindlier hearts or a dearer ground.

Have a great Yorkshire Day and if you can get with in a hair's breath of Sean Bean tell him we have a garden he can come and dig if he'd like. Until then we'll make do with the Giants in the High Street, the tombola on the field, the ukulele band playing We'll Meet Again and the donkey trips around the edges of a field full of people who are giving one giant finger to boundary changes. 


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