ROBIN Longbottom’s article referring to local dialect aroused memories for me.

In 1946 my parents and I stayed for a week at a cousin’s home in Lewisham. None of us had ever been to the big city before, but I’d been studying street maps and leaflets for weeks, and as a young lad of 15, I acted as the family’s tour guide of London. I well remember the bomb-damaged area around St Paul’s Cathedral being covered in fireweed (rosebay willow herb). One day, travelling on one of London’s buses, we were unable to sit together so dad took a seat and my mam and I (always mam, never mum) sat a few rows further along the bus. Dad duly paid our fares and the bus conductor came along to us. “Fares please” she said. My mam, bless her, replied in her Keighley twang “isginyit”. Understandably the clippie was confused, so she repeated “fares please”. Clarifying as one does in such situations by speaking more loudly, mam reiterated “ISGINYIT”. Probably thinking we were from Outer Mongolia or somewhere, it fell to me to explain that dad, sitting behind, had paid our fares – he’s given you it.

My maternal grandmother, toiling over the peggy tub, posser and mangle in her kitchen, steamed up from the water boiling in the set pot, would wipe her brow and declare “I’m fair bletherskated!” – a word I’ve never heard anyone else use.

Two men, members of a walking group, were the best of friends – one of them being regarded as being a bit canny with his brass. On a group walk one day, we came to a tight squeeze through a narrow stile. ‘Canny lad’ got through, causing his pal to comment for all to hear “tha did weel t’get thi wallet through yon stile!” This is not an apocryphal tale, but fact – I was there, and overheard their exchanges.

A common Keighley greeting would be “owt fresh?” “Nah” would be the response, “nowt ivver ‘appens i’ Keighla”. And as a boy we would ask “Is yar kid laikin’ aht?”.

An old boy often seen in town always wanted to know the result of Keighley Rugby League Football Club’s games, and he would ask passers-by “ars Keighla gone on?”.

On the roadside opposite the Methodist chapel at Marsh is a seat bearing a sign that informs passers-by that this is where the locals gather to cal.

Finally, how about this – Samerem up and huggerem. “Pick her them up and carry her them”. Pick up her (bags) and carry them for her. Chivalry expressed in brooad Yorksher, pre decimal Keighley version! Our local twang was richer in those days.

Allan Humphrey, Ingrow

* Robin's piece can be seen at