Waad Yuh Beleev It? A Northumberland Tale

Below is A Northumberland Tale narrated by Peter Arnold of the Northumbrian Language Society. You can play either the video version or the audio version or both. Beneath the video and audio, is the text version of A Northumberland Tale in both Dialect Pronunciation and Standard English. So, you can read either version to better understand the dialogue. Enjoy the tale, and see how well you can understand Peter’s Northumbrian accent.


A Northumberland Tale

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As some on yuh knaas, Aah’s frae Hexham way up in Northumberland. Di yuh knaa Hexham? Anybody knaa Hexham, anybody bin to Hexham ? Wul if yuh dee, yuh’ll knaa yuh canna gan varry far afore yuh hev ti gan either doon a hill or up a hill. It’s that kind ov a plyec. And yuh’ll mind on as last winter wuh had a lot o snaa. Moontins o thi stuff. Whey, this tyel’s aboot whaat happened tiv is i thi snaa.

Nah one neet last January, wor lass went ti see one ov hor freends whe lives in a hoos up a hill abeun wor hoos. Now whan she left, it wasn’t snaain’, but it started ti snaa syun eftor, and it got varry deep. So eftor aboot haff an oor, she rings is up an she sez “Ee pet, can yuh come’n get is, cos all o this snaa’s canny deep up heor, an Aah divvent think Aah can waalk hyem doon thi hill?”

Nah, me bein a hero like, Aah sez ti hor “Whey aye pet, nee bother! Aah’ll come as syun as Aah can, coz Aah’s just chowin on a bit stotty cyek an avvin a mug o tea”. So, eftor aboot haff an oor, coz yuh knaa yuh cannat rush chowin a bit o stotty cyek ! Aah gets thi car oot, and Aah gans up thi hill.

Nah, Aah hadn’t gan varry far whan thi snaa got wors an wors. It waas blawin aall ower thi plyec, and me wipers waas gannin’ slaar an slaar, an Aah thowt ti mesel “Bye, Aah’s ganna be lucky ti git up ti thi top wiv aal thes snaa.” And sure enyuff, thi car staated ti slaa doon. Wul, theor waas nowt for it. So, Aah torned thi winda doon, an Aah lowped oot thi car an Aah reached intiv it while it waas still gannin, an Aah got a hadda thi steerin wheel, an Ahh started ti push it up thi hill.

Ye dee beleev is divven’t ye ?

By, it waas hard wark! Thi wind waas blaain thi snaa ivvorywheor, inti me fyec, doon me sark. Me fingers waas frozzen, an Aah diddun think Aah wud mek it ti thi top. An it waas cumin on fer neet an aal, an ootbye theor’s nee street leets ti till yuh which way ti gan. Sah, Aah waas puffin an pantin like an aal tanky.

Aal ov a sudden, Aah heerd someone shoot “Div yuh want a bit hand like?” Wul, Aah keeked aal aroond, but Aah cuddent see anny biddy, cept Aah cud see a gallowa’s heed powkin ower tha top ov a dyke, so Aah just carrid on steerin’ an pushin’ me car an gannin aal the time. Then theor it waas agyen “Div yuh want a bit hand, like?” Whey, Aah cudna see whe it waas, but Aah sez “Aye! Howay, giz a big han an push up thi hill, like. Aah cn manage reet aal reet frae thi top wan Ahh get theor.”

Whey, yuh cud a bowld us oover wiv a … Aah’ll tri tha agin … Yuh cud a bowld us ower wiv a stotty, coz thi gallowa lowped ower thi dyke, got ahint me car, got its heed agin thi back winda an started ti push it up thi hill. Weel Aah waas that chuffed for thi bit help, like, Aah just carrid on pushin’ an steerin’. Weel, yuh hev ti show willin, divvent yuh? Eftor aboot ten minutes, wuh got ti thi top, an Aah cud see thi hoos wor lass had gon ti, so Aah giv ower pushin an Aah tyek me pipe whaal its dry afore Aah got back i thi car.

Noo, me mam had erlwis telt is ti say “Ta” ti them whaat helps yuh, so Aah torned roond ti thi gallowa ti say “Thank yuh”, and, bugger me, it had fliggied! It waas nat theor Aah cudden see it onny-wheor. But whaat gov is a reet gliff but, theor wor nee hoss tracks i thi snaa ahint thi car nowther! Whey, tha wus nowt for it, Aah jus got back i thi car, an drove ti thi hoos, an Aah knockd on tha doower, an wor lass came oot an aboot ten minutes later, we wuh drivin’ back hyem doon thi hill.

Noo, when Aah passed thi plyec wheor thi gallowa had been, Aah gov a toot on thi horn, like, ti say thank yuh ti thi bogle, coz Aah reckon that’s whaat it waas, coz as yuh knaas, hosses canna taak, can thi? “What did yuh dee that for?” wor lass says, so Aah started to tell hor aall aboot me adventures i thi snaa. Tho Aah cud tell bae thi look on hor fyec she didn’t beleev is, an shi say “Ey Aah suppose yor ganna tell is that’s wheor thi word hoss-pooer comes frae !”

© PJArnold 2013

As some of you know, I’m from Hexham, way up in Northumberland. Do you know Hexham ? Anybody know Hexham, anybody been to Hexham ? Well if you do, you’ll know you can’t go very far before you have to go either down a hill or up a hill. It’s that kind of a place. And you’ll mind on, as last winter we had a lot of snow. Mountains of the stuff. Why, this tale’s about what happened to us in the snow.

Now one night last January, wor (our) lass went to see one of her friends who lives in a house up a hill up beyond our house. Now when she left it wasn’t snowing, but it started to snow soon after, and it got very deep. So after about half an hour, she rings us up and she says “Ee pet, can you come and get us, because all of this snow’s canny (very) deep up here, and I don’t think I can walk home down the hill.

Now, me being a hero like, I says to her “Why yes pet, no bother, I’ll come as soon as I can, I’m just chowing on a bit of stotty cake and having a mug of tea. So, after about half an hour, because you know you can’t rush chowing a bit of stotty cake, I gets the car out and I go up the hill.

Now, I hadn’t got very far when the snow got worse and worse. It was blowing all over the place and my wipers were going slower and slower. And I thought to myself, “By, I’m going to be lucky to get to the top with all this snow.” And sure enough, the car started to slow down. Well, there was nothing for it. So, I turned the window down and I lowped (leapt) out of the car and I reached into it, while it was still ganning (going), and I got a hand of the steering wheel, and I started to push it up the hill.

You do believe is don’t you ?

By, it was hard work. The wind was blowing the snow everywhere, into my face, down my sock. My fingers was frozen, and I didn’t think I would make it to the top. And it was coming on for night and all, and outby there’s no street lights to tell you which way to gan (go). So, I was puffing and panting like an old tanky (small engine (usually steam)).

All of a sudden, I heard someone shout “Div (do) you want a bit hand like ?” Well, I keeked (glanced) all around but I couldn’t see any body, except I could see a gallower’s (horse’s) head poking over the top of a dyke, so I just carried on steering and pushing my car and ganning (going) all the time. Then there it was again “Div (do) you want a bit hand like ?”. Why, I couldn’t see where it was, but I says “Aye, Howay (Come on), give us a big hand and push up the hill, like. I can manage all right from the top when I get there.”

Well, you could have bowled us over with a … I’ll try that again … you could have bowled us over with a stotty, cause the gallower (horse) lowped (leapt) over the dyke, got behind the car, got its head against the back window and started to push it up hill. Well, I was that chuffed (pleased) for the bit help, like, I just carried on pushing and steering. Well you have to show willing, divvent (don’t) you ? After about ten minutes we got to the top and I could see the house wor (our) lass had gone to, so I gave over pushing and I take my pipe while its still dry before I got back in the car.

Now, me man had always telt (told) us to say “Ta” to them what helps you, so I turned round to the gallower (horse) to say “Thank you “, and bugger me, it had fliggied (fled). It was not there I couldn’t see it anywhere. But what gave us a real gliff (fright) but, there were no horse tracks in the snow ahint (behind) the car nowther ! (neither) Why, there was nowt (nothing) for it, I just got back in the car and drove to the house and I knocked on the door and wor (our) lass came out and about ten minutes later, we were driving back home down the hill.

Now, when I passed the place where the gallower had been, I give a toot on the horn, like, to say thank you to the bogle (ghost), cause I reckon that’s what it was, cause as you know, horses can’t talk can they ? What did you do that for, wor lass says, so I started to tell her all about my adventures in the snow, though I could tell by the look on her face she didn’t believe us, and she says Ee I suppose you’re going to tell us that where the word horse-power comes from.

© PJArnold 2013

Our special thanks to Peter Arnold from the Northumbrian Language Society for permission to feature this great article and video.
Website: Northumbrian Language Society
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