This morning I was hoisting some plywood panels into the tank for storage, using the crane. It was quite tricky because of a breeze which kept changing direction. I became aware of somebody shouting at me from the station drive. I could not make out what the caller was saying, above the noise of the crane's motor and an aircraft flying overhead. Concerned that I was being made aware of some unseen danger only observable from the ground I stopped the crane, leaving the plywood panels to take their chances in the wind. I asked the man to repeat what he was saying but still I could not hear him. The plane was circling over Settle so the noise from above continued. Perhaps the pilot had also seen whatever was causing such concern? I struggled to the far end of the tank, navigating floor joists still awaiting their decking boards, to be nearer to the man on the station drive. I shouted to him to try again. Cupping my hands behind my ears I clearly heard, in the broadest of Lancashire accents,
"This were on't telly weren't it?"
"Yes it was", I replied.
End of conversation.
There is something about broad Lancashire accents that can sound gormless. This little episode reinforced that perception. As I struggled back to the crane and its airborne load which may by now have been in Giggleswick or half way to Morecambe I could not help thinking about Lancashire County Council's boundary road signs. Some bright spark, or firm of consultants, had come up with a wording for these signs. Beneath the Red Rose were the words: "Welcome to Lancashire - a Place where Everyone Matters"
I do not approve of graffiti or the defacement of road signs but I make an exception for the jokers with broad black marker pens who routinely change these ridiculous signs to read: "Welcome to Lancashire - a Place where Everyone Mutters."