Review of ‘Crich Tales’, by Geoffrey Dawes

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on not yet published, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

collected by Geoffrey Dawes
Published Locally (2004)

Geoffrey Dawes is a very versatile author indeed. Following on from his excellent 'A History of Crich', a serious in-depth work of record on his native village, he has now republished Crich Tales through Pipspeak.

First published in 1983 by Scarthin Books, Crich Tales is an amalgam of often hilarious but invariably ridiculous sayings and events collected over a lifetime. They convey the flavour of language (frequently fruity), characters, attitudes and fun in a mid-Derbyshire village in the 20th century. The new publication includes snippets gathered since the first one, extending the collection of yarns and sayings known to particular families, some present but mostly gone.

A glossary will help readers to translate 'Derbyshire-speak' into more recognisable form. E.g. otts = hurts; awomm = at home; war = was; negligibles = negligee.

Tradesmen, Publicans, Neighbours, Lovers and the like come to life in cartoon sketches, and dozens of characters have tales to tell. Some of the funniest are only just repeatable. To set the tone and maybe whet the appetite:-

The nephews gathered for Leonard's funeral. He lay in his open coffin in the Smoke Room surrounded by a host of golden daffodils. (Wordsworth was his favourite and oft-quoted poet.) Terry turned to Peter and said: 'You know, that fortnight's holiday at Skegness last month did him a world of good.'

And ... Peter collected rents from W - who lived with his mother. Although a bachelor he had girlfriends and a fairly active time. After his mother died he stayed on in the house and Peter used to call each week. The years went by (no-one getting any younger!) and one day W said to Peter: 'Ar dunna saym ter bay able ter cope wi't wimmin lyke ar used ter do. Dost think ther's owt ar can do abaht it?' As usual, Peter had an answer: 'Trash it wi a nettle'. The next week when Peter came to collect the rent, W had only one thing to say: 'Tha daft bugger!'

You will laugh till it otts.

Review by Julie Bunting

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