Sheffield boy

This worked well.

Yep. That’s me.

This was an interactive quiz on the New York Times website, of all places. It asked me a few questions about what words I used for various things when I was a kid: infants, bread rolls, being grumpy and certain items of furniture, and then worked out where I was most likely to have grown up, given the dialect that I used.

Apart from being extremely accurate, it brought back some great memories. Playing Tiggy-Off-Ground in the school playground (that’s On-On to my kids now), for example. It was our standard go-to game before school started in the mornings (but only because you weren’t allowed in the back playground before school and you weren’t allowed to play football in the front playground, obviously).

And then there was that “being grumpy” question. To be fair, they could have pinpointed me with just that one answer. I really don’t think there’s anywhere outside Sheffield where “mardy” is a thing.

Made internationally famous by these guys, of course:

As the test was unfolding, I was wondering if I could fool it into thinking I was from Newcastle, and yes I surely could have done, but that was hardly the point.

If you’re reading this in the UK (and you’re from the UK), give it a go and let me know how you get on.

The elephants… are inconsolable

Sad Death of an Elephant Trainer in Sheffield

It happens. Elephant trainers are every bit as mortal as the next guy, and when the Grim Reaper comes calling, even their big, thick-skinned, flappy-eared grey friends can’t do anything about it.

See here:

And I quote:

SAD DEATH OF AN ELEPHANT TRAINER IN SHEFFIELD

In the early hours of this morning the accident to Fred Hartley, who was in the employ of Messrs. Sanger as elephant trainer, terminated fatally. Such a sad ending to what was considered only a slight mishap was not expected until within the last day or two. It appears that during an afternoon performance on the 19th inst. the deceased, who was a promising young fellow of 26, and a great favourite with the visitors at Messrs. Sangers’ establishment in Pinstone street, handed to one of the elephants a horse-pistal [sic] for use in a trick. The weapon went off suddenly, and the wadding lodged in the palm of Hartley’s hand. The wound though painful was not regarded as serious, and the injured man was medically attended at his home for a few days. On Sunday, however, alarming symptoms began to manifest themselves and his removal the the hospital was advised, where after lingering in dreadful agony, he died as stated. Lockjaw is returned as the cause of death. The deceased has been in the service of Messrs. Sanger ever since he was a child and his loss to them is felt very keenly. The elephants, with whom he could do anything, are inconsolable, and it will be a matter of no little difficulty to fill his place in their affections. The funeral will take place at the General Cemetery on Sunday.

Lockjaw – or tetanus – is caused by Clostridium tetani. A simple vaccination or dose of metronidazole would have saved this “promising young fellow”. But this snippet from the Sheffield Telegraph (and shamelessly borrowed off Facebook) is likely from the 1870s, and they hadn’t quite got their heads around the microbiology of it all back then. Still, it’s a good reminder of where we’re headed with increasing antibiotic resistance and anti-vaxx idiots.

Because yes, even a mild injury to your hand, caused by an elephant shooting you with a horse-pistal [sic] could be fatal again soon.

It’s something we all need to be cautious of.

A Sheffield classic remastered

Sheffield has a rich musical history… actually before I start – if you’re one of those readers who closes the page at the first mention of music, can I just say that this video has been sent to me by several people – including two who freely admit that they are readers who close the page at the first mention of music.

So this might be a bit different.

Sheffield has a rich musical history, including the like of Def Leppard, ABC, Arctic Monkeys, Little Man Tate, The Longpigs, Bring Me The Horizon, Pulp, Heaven 17 and The Human League. So it’s unsurprising that when looking for a Christmas single, local boys The Everly Pregnant Brothers (you may remember them from My Chip Pan’s On Fire) chose to cover a local song in a local style.

Dunt Tha Want Mi? is what the 1981 Christmas number 1 from The Human League should have been called. Local dialect, in’t it?

Add a bit of Jingle Bells and there’s a surefire South Yorkshire classic, done right.

Truth be told, I felt that this might be a bit niche for all but the most Sheffield of my readers, but apparently it’s storming up the online streaming charts nationwide in Blighty, so they must be doing something right.

Thoughts welcome.

Top

This happened for a week last season and things didn’t work out quite as I would have liked. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth celebrating again now.

After a hard-fought win over Hull City yesterday – the mighty Sheffield United are top of the league. And while I might not be the Premiership (yet), you can only beat who you’re up against, and we seem to be doing that quite nicely. Who knows if it’ll last?

I hope so, but in the meantime, some song lyrics come to mind.

Smile for the while and let’s be jolly
We shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

More tenuous football news links to one hit wonders from the 1980s will surely follow. Or perhaps not

Drought news

Apparently it rained a lot in Cape Town while we were away.
Well, ok. If you say so. We’ve been back for five days now and we haven’t seen any continuation of that alleged precipitation. And, looking at the forecast for the next five days, there’s only a small chance of a little bit of drizzle on Monday evening as far as I can see.

That said, some local websites are full of good news about our local big reservoir “doubling in capacity”.

For the record, this hasn’t happened. There may be a case for suggesting that the volume of water in Theewaterskloof has doubled from the worryingly low levels earlier in the year, but I have to tell you that the capacity has stayed exactly the same.

Semantics. I know. Sorry.
Pop me in Pendant’s Corner.

Meanwhile, another blog helpfully tells us how this whole sorry situation  came about (it didn’t rain):

And how the reservoir “fought back from the brink” (it rained):

It’s fascinating, incisive stuff. But I do appreciate that it’s all a bit technical, so don’t worry if you’re struggling to keep up.
That’s why we have experts for this sort of thing. And that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

Don’t get me wrong though. No matter how shitty the reporting, it is great that we’ve moved forward from what we saw when we went out there in February.

But drought isn’t a purely Capetonian thing. Take a look at Sheffield’s local reservoir, which also supplies Derby, Nottingham and Leicester:

It’s looking scarily similar to scenes we’ve seen here recently. In the distance, you can see one of the towers of the Derwent Dam, which should look like this:

There’s a lot more dam wall on show in that top image than there should be.

Sheffield isn’t quite at the point of water restrictions yet, although other places in the UK are about to be (and Northern Ireland was, but isn’t any more).

As for Cape Town, our Level 6b water restrictions are still in place. We’re out of the woods, but we still can’t afford to be complacent. And the city council are going to ensure we remember that by charging us a ridiculous amount for the water that we use.

But I can understand their caution in not cutting the restrictions just yet. When they do, water use is inevitably going to spike and it would be seen as a huge own goal to have to reinstate the restrictions once they had relaxed them.

Perhaps what they should do is to double the capacity of all our dams.
That would make a huge difference.

As long as it rained.