“A Bread-and-Butter Town”: Yorkshire Day

Mansion House, Doncaster: taken on Election Day, 2015

Mansion House, Doncaster: taken on Election Day, 2015

“Tha can always tell a Yorkshireman, but tha can’t tell him much.” – Anon.

Warnings for: unashamed flag waving, and patriotism of the adopted-county-kind

Today is Yorkshire Day: 1 August. It’s a date which is also significant to me, as a Pagan, as Lammas. Also known as Lughnas, and various other names, it has ties to both the multi-talented god Lugh, and to the harvest.

Harvests can be literal or figurative: personal, or collective. I went out for a run today – more of a walk and jog – and saw, and ate, my first bramble. No, I don’t have a picture of it: I ate it.

I did take a picture of this:

Greeting the light: Doncaster, Yorkshire Day, 2015

Greeting the light: Doncaster, Yorkshire Day, 2015

The phrase “a bread-and-butter town” is how a newspaper editor described Doncaster to me, when I interviewed for a job on a local paper. It was so long ago, I don’t remember which one.

And, whilst I didn’t get the job, the description has stuck with me. I think I know what he meant, that old Yorkshireman.

We are a practical town, trying to reinvent ourselves in order to thrive, to survive. Sometimes, we get it wrong. (1) Or we lose our way: hardly surprising, considering we have pit villages without pits; young people struggling to find jobs, and purpose.

But we haven’t gone away, and we haven’t shut up. Our voices can be heard just as much through poetry and song, through laughter, as through despair, and distress, and, at times, even violence.

Dancing on the rooftops: "The Lovers", Waterdale, Doncaster

Dancing on the rooftops: “The Lovers”, Waterdale, Doncaster

Doncaster is a town bursting with art and artists of all kinds: sculptors, musicians, painters, poets, fiction writers, dancers, you name it. And of people who love art. Who, for example, got truly excited when word got out that “The Lovers” was returning to public display.

We got our cameras out for the “DN Weekend” in June. We raise our glasses and voices at the Brewery Tap, and the Masons: both part of the regular folk calendar in town. We even have a record shop again.

Doncaster has lost a lot of its heritage, but we’ve kept a lot, too.

Christchurch, Doncaster

Christchurch, Doncaster

We love art, but are bemused by artiness. And yes, I meant to write “we”. I am a Doncastrian now, as much as I am a Michigander, or a Detroiter.

I wrote part of this piece about my adopted “bread-and-butter town” whilst eating bread and butter purchased in one of Doncaster’s several Polish shops. And that is so very Donny, indeed.

This year, Doncaster is the official site for Yorkshire Day. And by gum! They couldn’t have chosen a finer town.

More than just a racecourse: Doncaster

More than just a racecourse: Doncaster

(1) If you’re local, or know the town, think “The Dome”.

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