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
“A love letter to Yorkshire…enjoyably so”
Daily Mail, Book of the Week
“all seen through insightful eyes, a weighty pen and told with an appealing sense of humour”