Oh, Bugger!

I really hate this getting older stuff, I really do! Well, not actually getting older, that’s alright. It’s the decrepitude. It’s the chickens of misspent youth, the years of abuse in the gym and playing at being a parachute soldier coming home to roost that are the pits.

you’d never guess we were categorised as fast moving light infantry

Carrying loads like this is what started the rot. Followed by years of macho denial as tears and sprains in the gym took their toll on knees and back. (I’m only showing this to remind myself that I was once a fine young specimen)

‘You’re stubborn and stupid,’ J used to say (and still does) ‘and I have no sympathy for you! You never know when to stop!’ Which is only her opinion and not exactly true. Anyway, J is from Yorkshire and everyone from Yorkshire is opinionated. I mean, look at Geoffrey Boycott for one. I don’t know why there hasn’t long ago been an independence campaign so that England can detach itself from that lot. At least then we wouldn’t have had to put up with his boring cricket commentaries and his even more boring batting!

Watching Boycott ‘chase’ runs was on a par with watching paint dry!

But enough of all that, I need to get back on topic. Where was I? Oh, yes! Decrepitude!

One knee in particular has been pretty troublesome for a long time. It has a history of falling apart, being operated on, generally fiddled about with and dishing out some eye-wateringly painful reminders of its existence in my life. About a year ago it also decided that a bit of gout would look good on its résumé. My excellent bone  surgeon sorted it out with medication and all seemed well. Then about couple of months ago it started to make a comeback and so I started back on the medication. It had no effect. Zilch! It was back to the bone doctor.

What he soon discovered was that along with the gouty crystals there were deposits as a side effect of one of the heart medications that decrepitude requires I consume on a daily basis. So, that prescription has been changed and there are even more pills and creams to add to the cocktail and for three weeks there will be ‘WD40‘ injections into the knee.

Oh, bugger! would seem a pretty appropriate response to all this except for one thing. In the space of just a few days the pain has been relieved and last night I got the first decent night’s sleep in quite some time. Living here in Turkey means instant treatment and being contributors to the social insurance scheme the bulk of the costs are defrayed by the state health-care system. Beats the hell out of the UK and most any place else in the world if your chickens are coming home to roost and crapping all over the place!

Roll on Spring, and let me get at that patch of stony ground up there in the mountains!

Alan Fenn, grinning like a Cheshire Cat here in Turkey.

An Opinion On Yorkshire Men (and Women) And The Origins Of Pedantry

Geoffrey Boycott - a rare example of a non-pedantic Yorkshire man
Dickie Bird - another rare example of a Yorkshire man without a single pedantic bone in his body

There is a saying outside of Yorkshire along the lines of; ‘Tha can aluz tell a Yorkshire man (or woman) – but tha cannot tell ‘im (or ‘er) much!’ Folk from the rest of the UK mostly take a dim view of Yorkshireites – they are perceived as loud, assertive, overly friendly, obsessive about the superiority of Yorkshire cricket, and pedantic to the point of insanity! They also speak a totally alien language from the rest of the UK – apart from those from Newcastle where, not only is the language alien, it couldn’t be deciphered even if you had the Rosetta Stone!

Coming, as I did, from the South, all Yorkshireites consider my accent ‘plummy’ and I am therefore labelled a SNOB in big letters! Yorkshire people have an opinion about everything because they know everything there is to know and they don’t mind letting everyone within earshot know that they know. Pendantry was conceived and birthed in Yorkshire.

J is a Yorkshireman (or woman)!

It therefore follows that she can be somewhat pedantic ( I know – I’m soft-peddling, but J will read this at some stage and Yorkies are feared and fearless terriers), although having been around me for many a year, she has mellowed a tadge.

As evidence of Yorkshire pedantry, I offer the following from the letters pages of the renowned UK publication ‘Private Eye’.



Eye 1289 Pseudo Names:

. . . I’ve just come back from ‘t field and a dog’s been at the sheep – it’s a blood bath.

Farmer Geddon (geddit?)


Eye 1290 Pedantry Corner:

. . . Farmer Geddon should at least try to follow the basic rules of grammar when he next attempts to take the piss out of North Country patois. He should understand that the purpose of an apostrophe is to fill the place of missing letters, so his phrase: “I’ve just got back from ‘t field” is nonsense. It should, of course, read: “I’ve just got back from t’ field”.

Peter Sharples


Eye 1291 Pedantry Corner:

Farmer Geddon is arguably more correct than Peter Sharples in placing the apostrophe before the “t” in north country dialect “t” for “the”, this being derived from the neuter form of “the” in Anglo-Saxon (theet). Compare Dutch “het” (masculine “de”).

(The form ‘t is Yorkshire dialect, whereas Lancashire is generally th’).

Charles Warwick


Eye 1293 Pedantry Corner:

To Farmer Geddon, Peter Sharples and Charles Warwick I am obliged to say “Nay lad!”.

Being South Yorkshire born and bred, (although now away many decades), in our area the ‘the’ was never a ‘t’ at all. The ‘the’ was and is an almost imperceptible hiatus between  two words. The nearest I can come to writing it is “trouble at ‘ mill” – the ‘ in place of the three missing letters of ‘the’. Or, a longer example, “Down ‘ Wicker weer ‘ watter runs ovver ‘ weir” (three missing thes).
The important thing to remember is that to really represent the accent accurately you must definitely sound these examples out loud wherever you are.
I especially fondly recall ” ‘t i’n’t in ‘ tin” (only one the here).
Yours for ‘ Society o’ ‘ Preservation o’ Regional Accents,

Janet Surman.  (for it is, indeed, she)

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps I wish to emphasize that the above are not typos – they actually speak like that up there!