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.
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.
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.
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.
Just because I stumbled across it on my Flickr and felt like posting it.
The light was awful, the editing is equally bad; it’s far, far from being a great photo. But I was struck by the fact that despite living here for 17 years, walking these same streets day in, day out, one quick flight with the Mavic and I saw a view of the place that I had never ever seen before.
I love that it gives the impression that the A57 is some near-Parisian tree-lined boulevard, and that my childhood suburb is perched on a cliff overlooking the City Centre. Neither of these things are true, of course, but looking at this here, they could be.
There are currently no plans for a return visit to Sheffield in the foreseeable future, so any vernal version of this shot will have to wait.
If you want to see more aerial views of suburbia (and more) from our visit last September, you can find them in my Sheffield 2017 Flickr album.
Ja. Not mine, obviously. And not here either. The dawn chorus currently starts at about 4:40am in Cape Town at the moment, about an hour ahead of official sunrise. So you’ll hopefully forgive me for being in bed at that time.
Fortunately, there are others who (albeit with a later start) are willing to go out and get that shot of the sunrise. Like this one of Higger Tor in in the Peak District.
The rocks you see are millstone grit. They’re coarse-grained sandstones of Carboniferous age and were used to make… wait for it… millstones(!) for use in the local water mills (and they gave the National Park its logo).
If you’re into your geology, there’s loads to learn right here. These dark rocks give the name to the “Dark Peak”, whereas the “White Peak” further south in the Park is characterised by its light-coloured limestone geology.
Now you know.
This photo was taken less than 15km from my family home in Sheffield. But I would still not have got up in time to take it.