April 17 2014 Latest news:
Monday, December 5, 2011
I knew it was was going to be a funny old week when I bought a Sunday newspaper and arrived home to find it was the same one we have delivered.
To be fair, we have only recently changed - about four months ago.
I decided not to tell my husband. He would never make that sort of mistake (see previous Monday Feelings to find out the sort of mistakes he makes), Then he found two copies of the paper’s glossy magazine.
“Look at that; they’ve given us two of these.”
“So they have,” I agreed, making a mental note to tip the paperboy an extra quid at Christmas.
Hot on the heels of this incident I found out I had been born in Thirsk.
I had been invited to read out one of my scribblings as part of Stowmarket Talking Newspaper’s 700th edition celebrations, which included nibbles and a raffle. This remarkable service, has been provided by a team of dedicated and friendly volunteers for nearly 30 years. At least one of them (Jan) also bakes very good cakes. In this instance, it a 700 anniversary cake.
The recordings are all put on memory sticks (handy little things if you can remember where you put them) and distributed to the newspaper’s subscribers; around 90 in the Stowmarket area. The cheese and pineapple, meanwhile, were put on cocktail sticks.
For people who can’t see to read, talking newspapers are a community link to the local press, with news stories, big and small.
Before I read my bit for the recording, I was interviewed and, based on an internet search, my interviewer found to his surprise that I was born in Thirsk, north Yorkshire. This will also come as a shock to my mum who has always maintained I was born in Suffolk but it may explain my penchant for black pudding and passion for strong tea, ee bah gum. On the other hand, I also like haggis and malt whisky. Och, aye the noo, (That’s enough accents, Lynne. Ed).
I discovered Thirsk is home to a museum called The World of James Herriot and instantly knew there was no way I could be a native Yorkshirewoman. James Herriot was the pseudonym of the writer who told the funny and engaging story of his work as a veterinary surgeon in Yorkshire.
He affectionately depicted the gruff, plain-spoken farmers of the dales, recounting tales of harsh weather, lardy lumps of cooked bacon fat, pampered pooches and his capricious boss, Siegfried.
There is no part of a cow into which I would consider inserting my hand, however well gloved.
No, while I would be hully proud to have been born in Thirsk, I am definitely a softie southerner. It must have been a different Lynne Mortimer, possibly the gorgeous, sexy one. (See picture)
The BBC Radio North Yorkshire website has a lighthearted quiz to test Yorkshireness, which I failed. Running an eye over the questions, I could sort of guess that owning up to having a whippet, a flat cap and using the chat up line “Ee oop, ain’t tha cold in t’skimpy frock,” is indicative of a high level of local integration.
There is a clear recognition of what makes a Yorkshire lad or lass and it set me wondering if East Anglians have a similarly strong identity.
Here is an unscientific test of East Anglian-ness.
1. You traverse a hump-backed bridge: What happens?
a) Nothing, okay? Your 4x4 is well up to the task.
b) The rear suspension on your 35-year-old Ford Fiesta squeaks but as it only has 7,000 miles on the clock...
c) Your ears pop
2. You are driving to a remote village on the county boundary. How do you find it?
a) Sat Nav (with Alan Rickman’s voice).
b) A 1976 road map that came free with your new Fiesta
c) Drive at 15mph in case you miss the signpost... and then miss the signpost
3. Your favourite meal is:
a) Rose veal with roasted ceps
b) Sunday roast
c) Anything as long as it’s filling. Bread ‘n’ pullit, larose and medlars...
4. What sort of pet do you have?
a) leg of racehorse (does that count)
b) Don’t have one; just a sign saying Beware of the dog
5. Meeting new people are you?
6. Favourite chat-up line?
a) I have a Coutts account. (Works for me)
b) Do you have a map? Because I keep getting lost in your eyes.
c) You look familiar - are we related?
c) 7. What’s the first thing you do to save money?
a) Open an off-shore account
b) Turn down the thermostat
c) Resume wartime bathing directive and run 4in of water
8. With what do you associate Handel’s Water Music
c) A revolving knight on a horse (Anglia Television)
9. What is the best thing about East Anglia
a) Proximity to London
b) Distance from London
c) Cor blast, now there’s a question...
The ‘c’s are East Anglians although the ‘a’s spend weekends here. The ‘b’s are a hybrid stereotype.
I must thank all those at Stowmarket Newstalk for their hospitality and for being such good fun. Lovely people.
A special thank you must also go to the town’s deputy mayor, Anne Whybrow. When I expressed disappointment that there was no chocolate-based draw prize (I won a shopping bag) she gave me a bar of milk chocolate from her own supplies. I still kept the bag, though.