Monday, May 21, 2012

The Pudding and the Terrier

That's right, kids--let's talk about Yorkshire!

The other day I was reading All Creatures Great and Small, and I realized the author was talking about a mountain range whose existence I had only recently learned of, the Pennines.  They appear to stretch almost half the length of the country--how had I never heard of them until I read Code Name Verity? 

Especially because this is not all the time I've spent in Yorkshire.  I remember walking around the house doing my best imitation of the Yorkshire dialect when I was about ten years old, after my fifth or sixth reading of The Secret GardenIn fact, when I even think about that book, I have a hard time not calling people thee and tha, and it is never impossible that I'm going to walk up to my husband and say, "Canna tha dress thysen?" like Martha does to Mary when she learns that Mary's nursemaid dressed her.  You know, just because.

So: The Secret Garden.  Here is where I learned about moors, and Yorkshire accents.  And for a long time that was it, until, like everyone else (including Mr. Bates), I fell in love with Anna, the head housemaid at Downton Abbey.  Downton, of course, is in the North Riding of Yorkshire (because Yorkshire is divided into ridings, don't you know).  And Downton is, of course, graceful and beautiful and English, and etc. 

But Anglophilia is not a particularly unusual or special obsession--I'm not even close to the most passionate practitioner of my own acquaintance.  But then, as so often happens, things began to pile up.

First, of course, Code Name Verity, with its loving detail of Maggie's childhood, of the airfields and the war effort, of flying over the Pennines during the blackout and the Blitz.  And somehow, at the same time, James Herriot's veterinary career began in the fictional town of Darrowby, which, according to Wikipedia, is based on a place called Thirsk.  I can only imagine that, if I took a vacation to Thirsk, I would be able to take a pint at a pub with James Herriot's picture on the wall, in much the same way that you can have a drink at Cheers in Boston.

It seems like I already love the north of England, and I know almost nothing about it.  I know that it's close to Scotland, which is somewhere I'd like to go.  I know that a lot of my favorite British actors have northern accents.  I know that Daughters of the North is a fascinating novel that I've just started reading.  I like to imagine I know what it would be like to go there; I imagine that Yorkshire is what I picture when I picture England.  Look at that photo; look at Downton Abbey.  Listen to Dickon tell Mary, "tha munnot lose no time." 

I love Yorkshire, and someday I'll go there.  Let's call that a resolution.

1 comment:

Linden said...

I loved The Secret Garden.