Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Yam yam or yummy mummy?

I had a bit of a moment yesterday- one of those " how did my life turn out like this?" moments. I had a couple of hours free while ds #7 was at preschool bothering the poor teachers there so my ears had stopped bleeding for a bit and I felt like some me-time.

So I drove to our nearest town- a sweet little market town with more estate agents than actual shops but still lovely- and meandered up the high street with thoughts of picking up repeat prescriptions, paint and spare keys. It's a wild life I lead.

As I walked past a little newsagent shop I spotted a magazine I'd been hoping to buy. Delighted I'd found it I popped in and bought it and as I walked out of the shop tucking "knit and stitch" into my Cath Kidston bag my old self spotted my current incarnation and did a bit of laughing and pointing.

You see I am yam yam. Black Country born and Black Country bred ( strong in the arm and weak in the head?). Ok, so I need to explain don't I? I was born in Dudley, in the West Midlands region of England. Near Birmingham but we are most definitely not Brummy. The area is known as the Black Country because most buildings (until being cleaned in recent years) were black from the soot from air pollution from the mines, iron foundries and steel mills.

Yam yam? Well most people say it's because of the distinctive dialect. Instead of "you are", Black Country folk say "yow,m or yow am or yam". As in " yam coming with me ay ya?"

Now I don't have a strong accent - I've been a Home Counties gal for two decades now and even say barth and carstle quite naturally most of the time. I use very little of the very localised dialect or vocabulary. I am in fact by Black Country standards probably a bit posh. Catch me after I've been speaking to my family and you will hear quite a twang but still in my house we drink fizzy drinks not pop and we put ham on rolls not baps or cobs.

But I am proud to be Black Country. Black Country women in my experience are proud, strong, independent and funny. They are big hearted, loyal and they are extremely hospitable. If you turn up unexpectedly at a Black Country home you will be welcomed by at the very least a cup of tea with bull's milk (sterilised milk which doesn't need to be refrigerated, sold from crates usually in tall narrow glass bottles) and most probably will be offered the entire contents of the larder and fridge.

My cousin is a prime example of Black Country woman at her best. After inviting us to lunch once she was worried that there might not be enough food for our admittedly large family ( plus her not inconsiderable brood!) so she did 8 different types of veg and three different types of potato! I have never seen so much mashed potato in my life! Throughout the day food continued to be produced in gargantuan proportions. Her MIL had baked dozens of cakes for us even though she wasn't invited to lunch. And then as night fell her mum produced steaming bowls of hand cut, hand fried utterly divine chips!

Don't get me wrong- some of the nicest most generous people I have me are southerners. This is home for me now, even though you can't get the battered fried potato slices known in the Black Country as scallops or klondykes anywhere here. I have scores of lovely friends "down here" who have never even heard of Grey pays n bacon. And almost certainly wouldn't touch faggots ( large meatball type constructions, held together with animal intestines, eaten with mushy peas).

So actually I think I have the best of both worlds. I love living here, so close to London enjoying the yummy mummy lifestyle with the other organic yoghurt weavers. And with my larger than life Black Country heart and personality I can liven up the reserved southerners who have taken this yam yam so graciously into their community. Now where did I put my knitting......










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