Was His Nibs a Yorkshire Man?

Not all great phrases and sayings are Yorkshire-centric and ‘His Nibs’ is probably one created for the home counties elite. In one version of the meaning and derivation ‘His Nibs’ is ‘a mildly derisive mock title used to refer to a self-important man, especially one in authority’.

Nib of the Year Awards

God’s own counties nomination is ‘Sir’ Gary Verity the former Welcome to Yorkshire  chief executive who was allowed to resign on health grounds. As the Yorkshire Post reported ‘ It has been revealed that £482,500 has been spent in connection to the costs of two independent inquiries ordered in the wake of Sir Gary’s resignation in March on health grounds following bullying and expenses allegations, with the figure also taking account of “termination” expenses’.

A recent report released by the new chief executive Peter Box reports welcome to Yorkshire spent a quarter of a million pounds on the Chelsea Flower Show whilst seeing the demise of the autumn flower show in Harrogate.

Welcome to Yorkshires contribution to cycling and the counties profile has been  significant but so was Beryl Burton’s and many other cyclist and clubs.


Another link to ‘his nibs’ is to its use the game of cribbage but in my scoring system it is ‘one for his nob’ not his nib.

Participation Sport

What can be flat or crown?    social or competitive?    indoor or outdoor?

What can be for cereal, soup, fruit or salad?

Bowls I hear you shout! But with the title ‘Participation Sport’ it unlikely to be a form of device for eating from a hemispherical vessel. (Bowls again!)

Team sheets from outside a West Riding Club House

One part of a team resting on their laurels

To take part it is necessary to consider appropriate clothing. Notice the varied headgear and the footwear for tramping on the hallowed and much cared for turf. It must have been spring because the green is green except for he cherry blosom. Look at it now in July it is a ‘Bowling Brown’

Some Yorkshire Bowls Organisations

  • ‘YORKSHIRE COUNTY  CROWN GREEN BOWLING ASSOCIATION was formed at a meeting in Huddersfield on Monday 15 August 1892 when representatives of Yorkshire Bowling Clubs were brought together at the initiative of the Huddersfield Cricket and Athletic Club. Representatives from Huddersfield, Ilkley, Clifton (Brighouse) Holbeck, Headingley, Chapeltown, Poternewton, Hunslet, Kirkstall, Primrose Hill, Ossett, Cleckheaton, Bradley, Dewsbury and Savile, Greenfield and Slaithwaite, were in attendance
    The first ever known Roses match between the White Rose of Yorkshire and the Red Rose of Lancashire took place one year later in 1893’
  • Yorkshire County Parks Bowls Association (YCPBA) is affiliated to British Crown Green Bowling Association (BCGBA).
    This Association was formed in 1910 and since that time participation in County Championship games, Cup competitions and Merits have been organised. The result of such action now provides a full range of events for all bowlers; male/female and ranges from Junior to Veteran status.
  • Local Yorkshire organisations arrange leagues and competitions. Sheffield Parks BA, Heavy Woollen BA, Barkstone Ash ABA, Huddersfield Royd DBA, Airedale & Wharfdale CGBA. Leeds & District CGBA amongst others.






Quirky Knitting Facts in Yorkshire

richmond 010Old Shop

Baa Baa Brighouse has teamed up with a number of Yorkshire based indie dyers to bring you the Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club. They produce specialty yarns, that have been reared, sheared, spun or dyed in ‘God’s Own County’ (as easy as one two three). The big nits of Sirdar, Rowan and Wendy brands are still based in Yorkshire along with many other smaller yarn producers.

Knitting Pretty is a purl one’ of Knaresborough’s independent businesses and it hasn’t dropped a stitch recently.  Based in Castlegate it has won a Best Dressed Premises award for 2017. (I guess it is best dressed in woolies as it needs to be dressed or it wouldn’t have a stitch on)

George Walkers’s ‘Costumes of Yorkshire’,


  • The Holmfirth based Knitting and Crochet Guild is  a national educational charity dedicated to UK domestic knitting celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary in 2018.  In 1996, the national Knitting and Crochet Guild formed a Dales branch called the Airedale and Wharfedale KCG.
  • The knitting reference library based at Southampton University’s earliest published work is dated 1840.  The journals include a run of Girls Own Annual dating from 1881 collected then donated by Montse Stanley.
  • There are several Knitting and Crochet Communities Online including one for Men Who Knit
  • Summer and winter Olympic knitting medals
  • Terrible knitters of Dent
  • Knit and Natter goups abound in Yorkshire. Age UK organise them in Scarborough and Malton to swap patterns and ideas, catch up on gossip and have a good laugh. Other groups include Dringhouses library York,    Miss Butterfinger’s Tea Room on The Green in Idle village, from 2.00pm on the first Thursday each month, Montgom needlers Montgomery Hall, Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham every Thursday 10am-12pm and Commuknity Knit and Natter  Yew Tree Inn Malin Bridge Sheffield.
  • Airedale hospital staff are encouraging people and local ‘knit and natter’ groups to make ‘Twiddlemuffs’ as an eye-catching distraction for patients with dementia. These are  bright coloured hand muffs  with interesting bits and bobs attached inside and out. ‘They have been designed and developed to provide simple stimulation for active hands, while promoting increased flexibility and brain stimulation…….. a pattern can be found from this

Now I am off for a cup of tea from a pot covered in one of my cosies (both crocheted)




Teach Your Budgerigar to Speak Yorkshire

Book CoverI remember my father saying he breed budgies before WWII in his attic at home. It was more than a hobby as he then sold them to Luther Wrights pet shop and any budgerigar fanciers. There was a skill when breeding good show specimens but I never had the tips of the trade passed on to me and it is too late now.

Confusion about Names

  • All Budgerigars are parrots of one sort or another. Obviously the opposite is not true and all parrots are not Budgerigars.
  • The Australian shell parakeet, or budgerigar is the most common parakeet and is colloquially nicknamed the budgie,
  • Melopsittacus is the genus for the species name for Budgerigars or the common parakeet.
  • Budgerigars are also called budgies or keets, shell parrot, warbling grass parakeet, canary parrot, or in many cases Joey, Buddy or who’s a pretty boy. I guess Yorkie would be popular too!

Special Types and forms of Budgerigars

  • Budgerigars are naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back and wings, but are now bred in captivity with colouring in blues, whites, yellows, greys.
  • Dominant pieds, Clearflights, Recessive Pieds and Dark-eyed Clears.
  • Crested,  Spangle and Pied Enthusiasts
  • Slates, German & English Fallows, Saddlebacks, Lacewings, Greywings, Easley & Texas Clearbody, Anthracites & Rainbows
  • Rare Varieties,
  • Below is a graphic of a common budgie showing it’s key features:

Budgerigar diagram-labeled.svg
By ZooFariCC BY-SA 3.0,

Budgie Bits

  • For an idea on how to choose budgerigars and how best to look after them try a book that you can refer back too as needed. Housing or caging, toys, cups, perches plus health care, feeding, training, and general wellbeing are all subjects you may need to consider at different stages of looking after your pet budgie.
  • Budgies are seed eaters but the best diet may include different types of seeds, including millet, some limited greens, fruits, and grit. This will get them ‘pogged’
  • One endearing feature of budgies is the ability to train then onto your finger and back into the cage. Patience may allow you to teach them to talk or mimic.
  • Unlike a canary they are no use wukn dahnt pit as gas detectors (fortunately for the budgies).

Book Cover

  • Yorkshire Budgerigar Society’s  current General  Secretary is based in Penistone Sheffield South Yorkshire
  • The small grass parakeet was introduced in 1840 and since then has been the most popular caged bird and house pet.
  • The Budgerigar Society (BS) was initially set up in 1925. The World Championship show is staged at the Doncaster Dome every year, and at the Club Show also in Doncaster  there are  730 different classes with an annual entry of several thousands. There are other societies and specialist clubs including  the Crested Budgerigar Club


Yorkshire Carrier of Pigeons

A racing pigeon needs a carrier and a carrier pigeon needs a boy racer in a silver car to help transport them.

Fancy That : Pigeon Facts

  • There are over 300 species of pigeon and dove or columbines as they are collectively grouped.
  • Columba livia domestica or  homing pigeon is a variety of pigeon related to the rock pigeon. These racing or homing pigeons can live for upwards of twenty years.
  • Wild or feral pigeons, like the ones you see in town centres are often and derogatorily termed flying rats.   They scavenge food, create a mess and have a shortish life-span of three to four years.
  • D K Higgins is the Rawdon based official for The Royal Pigeon Racing Association in the North East region including  North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. It is a wider sport than you may first imagine.
  • Following a family tradition started by Edward VII and King George V,  HM The Queen is actively interested in pigeons and is patron of a number of  racing societies most notably the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the National Flying Club.
  • An injured pigeon nicknamed The Banker still attracted a Chinese buyer  to pay  a British record of £16,000 as breeding stock. The world record is closer to £260,000 paid for a Belgian bird.
  • In Leeds early enthusiasts gathered at the White Swan  during March 1896 forming the National Homing Union (now the Royal Pigeon Racing Association) the regulatory body for the sport.
  • Premier Racing Pigeon and Breeding Stud east of Hull (can you get east of Hull?) has numerous  lofts that hold more than 2,000 birds.

Castleford and one of the many resident pigeons near the Calder.  Columba livia domestica

Jim Emerton has authored several books since  racing his first pigeons in York.  In his early days he had rollers, fantails priests and various fancy breeds and crosses but notably developed his own strain called not surprisingly ‘Emertons’. One of Jim’s bird reportedly returned home from 879 miles away.

Book Cover

Book Cover

‘Between 1941 and 1944, sixteen thousand plucky homing pigeons were dropped in an arc from Bordeaux to Copenhagen as part of ‘Columba’ a secret British operation to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation……….’

Off to Wetherby Races

Boroughbridge 031

If you are thinking of a drink on the way to or from the races, jump too it. Bear in mind that you need to be well shod at the Three Horseshoes on the Horsefair at Boroughbridge (below). The Wetherby Steeplechase was in the bar at the Grantham Arms (the painting not he race itself).

Boroughbridge 011

Ure river of choice must have been bridged on Ermine Street at a place conveniently called Boroughbridge. The Great North Road was a better name than the A1 but the A1(M) is a traffic jam waiting to happen (or is that the name of my horse at Wetherby?) Continue reading Off to Wetherby Races

Captain England Play for Yorkshire










Lord Hawke,  7th Baron Hawke of Towton played for Yorkshire from 1881 to 1911. He captained England 4 times winning all of those matches.

Stanley Jackson 1905 won his only test series against Australia and retired – some non Yorkshire captains should have retired as quickly. Stanley toped both the batting and bowling averages in his test series.

Norman Yardley captained Yorkshire from 1948 to 1955. He captained England 14 times winning 4 tests which under rates his innate ability.

Brian Close won 6 of his 7 tests drawing the other- obviously he had to be fired in 1967. Those sort of results are just not cricket! Local hero of our betting shop Brian sadly was stumped for the last time in September 2015











Len Hutton won the ashes twice as the first professional to captain England and MCC. Sir Len had a career average of 56.66.

Geoffrey Boycott has never been a favorite of the cricket establishment as evidenced  by the limited number of only 4 test matches  as captain and those when Mike Brearley was injured.

Ray Illingworth won the ashes in 1970/71 and started his captaincy with a run of 13 undefeated tests.  As Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1960 in he was dumped as Test captain! First class records 24134 runs and 2072 wickets Ray is comming up to age 85

Michael Vaughan captained England a record  51 Tests winning 26  and losing 11.He retired in 2008 after 5 years as captain. He was less successful in One Day matches but again that’s not cricket.

Joe Root is the latest in our illustrious line of Yorkshire cricketers who have captained England at home and MCC away. He takes the best wishes of all supporters forward through 2017 and onward until he is usurped by the next Yorkshire captain.


photo Source: CricketArchive, from an idea by Scyld Berry Daily Telegraph

Dickie Bird of Barnsley

Harold 'Dickie' Bird and Simon 'The Analyst' Hughes

Harold Dennis (Dickie) Bird, was born at Church Lane Barnsley 19 April 1933. (Simon Hughes in the photo wasn’t born in Barnsley) so no ball him
In the 2012 New Years Honours list Dickie was  awarded the OBE.
The award could so easily have been the OBU or Old Blind Umpire but well done Dickie. Other sporting awards for Yorkshire folk go to Jamie Peacock from Leeds Rhinos and Taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson from Doncaster.


Pre Umpiring

  • Dickie has a damaged knee and couldn’t play his first choice sport of football.
    He started cricket in the nets at Barnsley Cricket Club.
    Two team mates at that time were Michael Parkinson and Geoff Boycott.
    In his autobiography Dickie tells of the time when Boycott refused to open the batting with Dickie preferring to bat no3. Dickie and Eddie Legard then proceeded to score 182 to win the game before a frustrated Boycott  could get in to bat.
    Barnsley also fostered other great cricketers including Martyn Moxon, Darren Gough and Arnie Sidebottom.
    Dickie played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club 1958-64 in the same side as Fred Trueman, Bob Appleyard and Johnny Wardle.
    After retiring from county cricket he coached and played league cricket before becoming an umpire.

Umpiring Era

  • Dickies first county game was in 1970 and his first Test match was  England v New Zealand at Headingley in 1973.
    One negative memory of his umpiring days was Dickie’s reputation for stopping play for weather.
    After a pitch invasion when the West Indies won the world cup Dickie lost his white hat. A year later as passenger on a London bus he noticed the conductor was wearing a hat similar to the one he lost and asked the conductor where he obtained it from.
    “Man, haven’t you heard of Mr Dickie Bird,” he replied. “This is one of his hats. I took it off his head at the World Cup final… we all ran onto the field and I won the race.” Apocryphal or not it is one of Dickie’s favourite after dinner stories.
    Affectionately remembered for his sense of humour and on field idiosyncrasies Dickie retired from umpiring in 1996 at the age of 63.

Since Umpiring

  • Dickie wrote his humerous autobiography simply titled My Autobiography that has sold more than a million copies.(and many of these several times over via charity book shops)
    The Dickie Bird Foundation was set up with “The vision of the Foundation is to assist young people under 18 years of age to participate, to the best of their ability, in the sport of their choice irrespective of their social circumstances, culture or ethnicity and to ensure that, in doing so, they improve their chances both inside and outside sport”
    Dickie has more honorary degrees from Yorkshire Universities than he has A levels.
    Harold Dennis (Dickie) Bird MBE 1986. As a Barnsley lad he could have been nicknamed the Bird Bard of Barnsley

Umpiring Career 1970-1998 from Dickie’s own web site

1970 Stood in his first county game

1973 Stood in his first Test Match. England V New Zealand July 5-10 at Headingley

1973 Stood in his first ODI England V New Zealand July 20th Manchester

1995 Stood in his last ODI England V West Indies May 26th The Oval

1996 Stood in his last Test Match England V India May 26th Lords

1998 Stood in his last County Match Yorkshire V Warwichshire

2007 Dickie came out of retirement in January 2007 to umpire the XXXX Gold Beach Cricket Tri-Nations series involving cricket legends from England, the West Indies, and Australia, which took place at Scarborough beach in Perth, Australia .



The Best of Dickie Bird on audio CD from Amazon

Wisden on Yorkshire
Photo on creative commons license by Badger Swan on flickr
Fiery Fred Trueman Fantastic Raconteur

Take a Turkish Bath to Unwind your Mind

Turkish Baths

Pamper yourself at the Turkish Baths in Harrogate. In the 21st century it is seen as a luxury way of relaxing but it was not always so. At one time it was a treatment and possible cure for a range of diseases.

In 1596 William Slingsby discovered a chalybeate spring in Yorkshire and that became a forerunner to Harrogate’s prominence as a Spa town. He built an enclosed well at what became known as the first resort in England for drinking medicinal waters.

The Victorians built the current Turkish bath which is still operating from the entrance on Parliament Street. the Moorish design includes elaborate Islamic images, arches and screens.


As the Bath’s promotion says it is a place to ‘unwind your mind and invigorate your body’. A minimum 90 minutes is recommended and towels are provided. Children under 16 are not permitted because you go for relaxation and kids can prevent you doing that.

Areas have Roman names rather than Turkish ones; Tepidarium is the Warm Room, Calidarium the Hot Room and Laconium is the hottest Room to purify and detoxify the body by opening the pores and stimulating the circulation. Then you can take the plunge in guess what the Plunge Pool.


Bath Time

Turkish Baths by UK Pictures CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Harrogate by kpc CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Bath Time by Superlekker CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 ‘Victorian Turkish Baths in Harrogate. Where staring at the ceiling is utterly entertaining, not to mention to very very hot rooms and nice steam to make you so clean… Believe me, two hours and a half in there just fly by.’


World Coal Carrying Championship at Gawthorpe Again

Every year the World Coal Carrying Championship is held in Yorkshire on Easter Monday. At Easter in Gawthorpe grown men l run the mile from The Beehive public house to the Royal Oak, known locally as t’Barracks , carrying a hundred weight sack of coal.  The 54th World Coal Carrying Championship is scheduled for Easter Monday 2017. Bookings

coal mens race 2

According to the organisers this is how the World Championship came about ‘Reggie Sedgewick and one Amos Clapham, a local coal merchant and current president of the Maypole Committee were enjoying some well-earned liquid refreshment whilst stood at the bar lost in their own thoughts. When in bursts one Lewis Hartley in a somewhat exuberant mood. On seeing the other two he said to Reggie, ” Ba gum lad tha’ looks buggered !” slapping Reggie heartily on the back. Whether because of the force of the blow or because of the words that accompanied it, Reggie was just a little put out.‘’ Ah’m as fit as thee’’ he told Lewis, ‘’an’ if tha’ dun’t believe me gerra a bagga coil on thi back an ‘ah’ll get one on mine an ‘ah’ll race thee to t’ top o’ t’ wood !’’ ( Coil, let me explain is Yorkshire speak for coal ). While Lewis digested the implications of this challenge a Mr. Fred Hirst, Secretary of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee ( and not a man to let a good idea go to waste) raised a cautioning hand. ” ‘Owd on a minute,’’ said Fred and there was something in his voice that made them all listen. ‘Aven’t we been looking fer some’at to do on Easter Monday? If we’re gonna ‘ave a race let’s ‘ave it then. Let’s ‘ave a coil race from Barracks t’ Maypole.’

2009 was the 46th World Coal Carrying Championship and the BBC claim these facts about world champions
1. Window cleaners, builders and farmers are the most successful at winning the title
2. The best weight for an entrant to be is 10st 7lb
3. Competitors need to have strong legs and lungs

The sponsors are H.B.Clark independent brewers of Wakefield so a fourth fact  would be an appetite for beer.
coal female winner

Gawthorpe is between Dewsbury and Osset and also has a good May Day tradition. with dancing on the FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY EVERY YEAR. Gawthorpe itself can be dated back to the Romans and is believed to be named after a Viking Chief called “Gorky “. At the lower end of the village is an earth mound known as Fairy Hill. This is thought to be a Viking burial mound.

It is confirmed that a coal mine was established at Gawthorpe as long ago as 1366 during the reign of Edward III

Maypole dancing itself dates back as far as Richard II in England, and during the reign of Henry VIII reached most of the rural villages including Gawthorpe. Mayday itself became a public holiday until Oliver Cromwell (1649 – 1660) banned May Merrymaking and all such festivities. These were fortunately re-established by Charles II.

Photo credits
coal mens race 2 by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
coal female winner by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0