The things you talk about over lunch

There’s nothing like spending time in the company of lovely people who care for each other as if they were family. In times like these conversations can range over a variety of subjects that while respectful of everyone around the table, can push the boundaries or seem out of place.

Talking about personal experiences, like funerals, can trigger all kinds of responses. The context can help position the conversation and permit a more free flowing dialogue.  What might appear to be off limits to some is completely acceptable to another.  This is most obvious when comparing cultural norms.  For example Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a national event in Mexico and has been for decades, but to suggest such an event in Australia is not met with enthusiasm.

When one of the ladies at the table mentioned On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at it didn’t raise any eyebrows, until the words were explained in more detail.  The story goes that it is often sung by school students who think it’s a bit of a hoot.  Here is the basic gist of the story:

‘On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at’, comes from the County of Yorkshire. It is written in Yorkshire dialect, which must look pretty strange to anybody not from the British Isles.  The title roughly translates into standard English as ‘On Ilkley Moor Without a Hat’.  A moor is a piece of open, often windy and cold land, almost a wilderness. As the story goes, you need a hat in the winter, and going to a moor without one is a bad idea.  Ilkley is a town in Yorkshire, quite close to the cities of Leeds and Bradford, and Ilkley Moor is close by.  The song serves as a dire warning about what happens to those foolish enough to venture to the the moor without appropriate headwear:

they die, are buried, are eaten by worms which are then eaten by ducks, which are then eaten by the songs’ singers.*

Which serves them right.  It has more or less become the unofficial ‘national’ anthem of Yorkshire. According to tradition, the words were composed by members of a Halifax church choir on an outing to Ilkley Moor near IlkleyWest Yorkshire. Sung to the Methodist hymn tune “Cranbrook” it was composed by Canterbury-based shoemaker Thomas Clark in 1805. The song became so popular that the origin of the music as a hymn tune has been almost forgotten.

This link serves up a rousing rendition of this traditional folk song that states unambiguously how the cycle of life applies to every living creature including we humans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8MWb1FlODQ

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