YORKSHIRE, as any person fortunate enough to be born here knows, is God’s own county.
Most of those born elsewhere, and who now reside here under honorary citizenship, will agree.
We have given the world Geoff Boycott, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean and the Yorkshire pudding.
All of us will today be celebrating Yorkshire Day quietly because we are an understated breed, not given to loud boasting. Mind you, sithee, it might be worth pointing out on this auspicious date that Yorkshire continues to prove its superiority.
Only last week, research showed that people have bigger brains in the north. Of course, we already knew that but scientists proved it by comparing skulls that represented populations from 12 different regions around the globe.
They say the further north people live from the equator, the more likely they are to have larger eyes which are necessary to see in the reduced light levels of the northern hemisphere. The size of the eye sockets and the part of the brain that deals with sight are therefore bigger.
Southern scientists are trying to say this doesn’t mean we are more intelligent but we know different. As has been said before: “Tha can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but tha can’t tell im much”.
Then came news that those sad people in the south west had asked the European Union to protect the name of Cornish pasties. The meat and potato pastry joined a list of 1,000 products that the EU has protected with copyright status.
If the pasty is not made in Cornwall, it cannot be called a Cornish Pasty. This smacks of desperation in an attempt to have the pasty – whether made in Cornwall or not – recognised internationally.
Yorkshire pudding, of course, does not need such protection. The Yorkshire pudding belongs to the world. Down the centuries, generations of Yorkshiremen have taken it abroad as a sample of our county’s perfection in all things and you can now eat it everywhere man has a hot oven.
This county delicacy has been embraced by the globe, although I doubt whether the correct dining etiquette is always followed in America or China. The puddings should, of course, be eaten before the roast dinner is served, smothered in onion gravy.
Captain James Cook probably took the pudding to Australia and Hawaii, although the natives in this latter destination eventually killed him in a skirmish. Some say it was an argument over him hogging the mint sauce.
William Bradford undoubtedly took the pudding to the East Coast of America.
He was on the Mayflower and helped found the settlement of Plymouth in Massachusetts. He was subsequently its governor for many years and you don’t get that sort of acknowledgement unless your puddings rise properly.
Aviator Amy Johnson quite possibly dropped the recipe over China and Sheffield lass Helen Sharman probably took it into outer space as Britain’s first astronaut. Somewhere beyond the stars there could be aliens even now arguing about its origins.
“Is it true, dad, that they come from a land of milk and honey?”
“A fabled land of milk and honey, son, where they breed champion cricketers and folk with big brains.”
“And should we eat the pudding before or with the roast beef, dad?”
“That’s a question that has perplexed the greatest minds on Proxima Centauri, son. Just eat it as you like.”
“And dad, can I save one for after with jam on?” “Course you can, love.”
Prime Minister David Cameron spent £2m of taxpayers’ money to discover what makes people happy. Easy – it’s living in Yorkshire, lad.
The county capital of York is celebrating Yorkshire Day with a declaration from the Yorkshire Riding Society in Parliament Street and with obligatory brass bands, morris dancers and whippets.
Most modest Tykes will celebrate quietly sure in the knowledge that we live in God’s own county.
JOANNA Lumley is attempting to break down barriers at the men-only Garrick Club.
She has been proposed for membership by actor Hugh Bonneville with whom she is to appear in the ITV drama Downton Abbey.
Founded in 1831, the club has a rich history and boasted Charles Dickens as a member in the days when women, such as the Bronte sisters, published their books under male pseudonyms because it was thought women writers wouldn’t be taken seriously.
The club last voted to maintain their male-only status in 1992.
Let me declare myself to be a fan of the delectable Ms Lumley. She could join my club any day. But the Garrick should be wary of a lady who could, if necessary, raise a regiment of Gurkhas to storm the place and take it by force if she was so inclined.
This current battle puts me in mind of the words of Groucho Marx who had something apposite to say about almost everything.
He sent a telegram of resignation to a Beverly Hills club explaining: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if Ms Lumley forced a re-think of the men-only rule and was granted membership – and then resigned with a similar telegram?