Across Continents

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Hair shirts and hot crumpets

Yorkshire accent. Strong. His name was John. Where did I hail from, he asked. Manchester, I replied. Quickly adding I’d long since lost my accent. Not that I was that sure I’d ever had one in the first place. In any case, I explained, I’d moved around quite a bit. Thought I might pass as a soft Southerner. He disagreed. Definitely a northerner.

Curious as to how he’d managed to keep his accent after decades in Oz. Plain stubbornness? Knew of another Yorkshireman whose dulcet tones had somehow surviving the finishing school we’d once both shared. Not the approved type you understand. But we’d passed through its hallowed halls at a time when strong regional accent attracted mandatory elocution lessons. Suspected he’d the resilience born of a Jesuit education. Speaking proper when required. Even joined up writing to boot. Something to do with hair shirts and hot crumpets.

John’s answer was plain and simple. He’d arrived as a teenager with his "Ten Pound Pom" parents. And married an English lass. Lancastrian.

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