In search of the meaning of Yorkshire
A glorious ramble around Yorkshire from one of our best loved poets
I’m going to define the essence of this sprawling place as best I can. I’m going to start here, in this village, and radiate out like a ripple in a pond. I don’t want to go to the obvious places, either; I want to be like a bus driver on my first morning on the job, getting gloriously lost, turning up where I shouldn’t. I’m going to confirm or deny the clichés, holding them up to see where the light gets in. Yorkshire people are tight. Yorkshire people are arrogant. Yorkshire people eat a Yorkshire pudding before every meal. Yorkshire people solder a t’ before every word they use...
If there were such a thing as a professional Yorkshireman, Ian McMillan would be it. He’s regularly consulted as a home-grown expert, and southerners comment archly on his ‘fruity Yorkshire brogue’. But he has been keeping a secret. His dad was from Lanarkshire, Scotland, making him, as he puts it, only ‘half tyke’. So Ian is worried; is he Yorkshire enough?
To try to understand what this means Ian embarks on a journey around the county, starting in the village has lived in his entire life. With contributions from the Cudworth Probus Club, a kazoo playing train guard, Mad Geoff the barber and four Saddleworth council workers looking for a mattress, Ian tries to discover what lies at the heart of Britain’s most distinct county and its people, as well as finding out whether the Yorkshire Pudding is worthy of becoming a UNESCO Intangible Heritage Site, if Harrogate is really, really, in Yorkshire and, of course, who knocks up the knocker up?
“A love letter to Yorkshire … enjoyably so”
Book of the Week, Daily Mail
“A force of nature”
“Inching towards the status of a national treasure”
“World-class – one of today’s greatest poetry performers”
Carol Ann Duffy
“With McMillan, you feel a draught coming from the blast of fresh air blowing through the dusty cobwebs that festoon most literary programmes”
Sue Arnold, Observer