Mek Yorksha Smile

Many a good thing comes from Yorkshire.

Yorkshire tea …. yorkshire pianos …. yorkshire fire alarms … yorkshire puddings … lardy cake. ?.  There are many things to be said for Yorkshire products available in Yorkshire. However there is one thing that Yorkshire fails to produce.


A week or so ago, two adults and a large tribe of wild children descended into the Yorkshire Dales. T’was us. We stayed in this beautiful place:

It was rented by the lovely (albeit naughty) Naughty N. An act of such a kind, generous, loveliness is testament to this wonderful person’s heart of gorgeousness. I love you Little N.

By day three we had done much traipsing about through the village with our bare footed, feral brood of kids, (looking rather like the gypsy version of the Von Trapps). The children sucked on vintage style lolly pops and paddled in the river. You would think that with our angelic tribe, oozing wit, generous verbal helpings scooped out to many a passer and general charming natures, the Yorkshire smiles would have showered down upon us.


Not so.

Yorkshire does not produce smiles.

As our time in Malham came to an end, our supply of smiles (which had gone from doo-doo-dooooo relaxed to wide-eyed-and-slightly-insane) were rejuvenated by the arrival of the Naughty N’s charming husband and our other good friend Ed.

With them they brought a bounty of Scottish lobster and crab. They also delivered the ability to look after a large brood of children so Naughty N and I could go to Settle and see a life drawing exhibition.

Big smiles.

Oh yes.

BIG smiles.

It was only right that we insisted the two two oldest Von Trapp children come with us (all in the name of embarrassing educational necessities – despite much face-in-hands humiliation at the thought of having to look at naked lady art). And so, full of beans, Naughty N and I jumped into the four by four, bounced and screeched down the winding ribbon lands, parked in Boothes (Yorkshire version of Waitrose) and scuttled to the art gallery. Here we were met with the big D.

Dis. A. Point. MENT.

Yup. The Naked Lady exhibition wasn’t to start until the following Tuesday, days after we were due to leave.

so, SO disappointing. NB. New use of capital letters.

It was with solemn faces and non smiles that we descended the staircase (led by two relieved children) down a lane and into the town. Our oozing wit had died. Our generous verbal helpings had dissolved. Our general charming natures had fizzled away to nothing.

“This is dreadful,” choked Naughty N as we plodded past a music shop where someone was playing one of those melancholic violin songs that people might consider using as their suicide soundtrack.

Me – nodding: “Am heartbroken.”

NN. – decisively: “We shall just have to go shopping.”

Me – shaking head: “Can’t shop. Need cake.”

It seemed only fitting that, in the absence of the Naked Ladies exhibition, we should go and take the children to the Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe on the Settle high street. It was as we sipped our cans of Vimto (never buy that stuff. It is revolting. Tastes like liquid Hubba Bubba) that we decided Enough was Enough. We had to bring back the smiles to ourselves. And to Yorkshire. There was only one way to do this:

INTRODUCE THE “MAKE YORKSHIRE SMILE” GAME  (Basic Rules: Make a Yorkshire person smile. Anything goes. The person with most smiles wins.)
One – two – three …

The race was on. We finished our Vimto and chocolate eclairs and started the mission in earnest.  Things began slowly; we said hello to a few passers and just received scowly stares. OK. Failure is not an option for the Naughty N and I, especially in front of the kids. So we upped the game and sure enough, the smiles started to flow in.

                                           FIVE TOP TIPS TO MAKE YORKSHIRE SMILE

 1. Person A falls off the pavement in a theatrical way. Person B whoops hysterically and cackles until half wetting self. Shock tactics tease a few little smiles. Best to perform whilst in a fairly busy street if multiple points are required.

2. Go to Boothes car park and walk past the aproned shelf stacker who is carefully arranging pansies in the outside plant section. Pause, gasp, grab his arm and declare, “Those pansies! They are utterly beautiful. They are just to die for! Aren’t they? Aren’t they?” Generally shelf stacker will not be able to resist smiling – especially if they have been arranging their pansies with pride.

3. Wait for a group of unsuspecting, mildly pervy men to walk past. Hold haughty expression until they are two foot away and then flash them with a dazzlingly gorgeous smile. Again, shock tactics and best done if multiple points are required.

4. Find a trainee cashier in supermarket and whilst they are nervously scanning items tell him/her many encouraging things whilst using their first name (available from name tag on front of supermarket uniform). These are known as nervous smiles but everything goes in The Make Yorkshire Smile Game.

5. Seek out a different cashier (displaying high levels of managerial authority) and tell them how polite, sweet, helpful and generally brilliant their new trainee (see above) is. Say things like, “your shop should feel very proud” and “please let him know how much we appreciated his checkout manner” etc. No cashier with an air of managerial authority will be able to resist smiling at this deluge of praise.

Once satisfied by our harvest of Yorkshire smiles, the two children, Naughty N and myself jumped back in the four by four and left Settle to settle itself down again.

The conclusion we came to was this: despite the fact that Yorkshire does not produce smiles, it really dosn’t matter.

Yorkshire can look after the tea, the fire alarms, the pianos, the puddings, the lardy cake, the ribbony roads, the postman pat houses and all the wonderful, beautiful things it churns out into Planet Earth.

And we-us-you-me-the NN-and whoever else likes committing random acts of happiness, WE WILL PRODUCE THE SMILES. For as Old Mother Shipton (probably) said, “Become t’ smile theur want ta see int’ dales, lass.” And never was a truer word said.


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