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Yorkshire Dialect: Milestone Inspectors

A curiously-clad figure looms up out of the mist in Mike Shaw's latest dialect tale.

Jack Bamforth an' me 'ad a reight queer ter-do wen we wer aat walkin' last Wednesday mornin'.

It wer a bit misty wen we set off, an' bi tahme we gat up on t' tops it wer fair thick.

"Well, we've 'ad just abaat ivvery kahnd o' weather tha can think of this month naah," Ah sed as we kept well into t' sahde o' t' rooad.

"Aye, that we 'ave an awl," agreed Jack, peerin' anxiously inta t' mist in case ther wer some traffic comin'.

Awl on a sudden up loomed a figure aat o' t' gloom 'at gave me t' shock o' mi lahfe. This chap 'ad a thick ovvercoit on an' a scarf coverin' 'is maath lahke one o' them theer cowboy bndits.

'E wer reight on top o' me wen 'e muttered, "By gum, Ah din't expect ter see yo two up 'ere," an' wen 'e pulled daan' is scarf Ah could see it wer bloomin' Jooa Sykes.

"Yer daft beggar, tha could 'ave given us booth a 'eart attack. Ah thowt it wer a flippin' tramp," sed Jack wen 'e'd getten ovver t' shock.

"Nay, Ah thowt Ah'd just stretch mi legs a bit. Onnyrooad, ther's nooa such thing as tramps thees days. Ah've nooan seen a sahn o' one fer yeears," Jooa replahd.

"Come ter think of it, tha'r reight," Ah sed. "Wen we wer kids tha'd a job ter gooa a day baat seein' one or two mahlestooane inspectors, as we used ter call 'em."

Jack sed 'e remembered looads o' tramps callin' at t' big haas i' t' village wheer 'e used ter do a bit o' gardenin'. "Mrs Hirst wer a reight tartar wi' some on 'em," 'e recalled. "It awl depended which sahde o' t' bed shoo'd getten aat on as ter whether they gate owt aat on 'er.

"Ah wer there one day wen shoo wer in a reight bad mood an' this tramp rang t' bell. Wen 'e asked if shoo'd owt ter eyt shoo asked 'im if 'e lahked cowld rahce puddin'. 'Oh, aye, that' mi favourite,' he replahd.

"'In that case, come back termorra cos it's still pipin' 'ot!" shoo snapped as shoo slammed t' dooar in 'is face.'"


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