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The Derb Shires


Following my earlier posting about regimental ties, several readers have
sent me the link to the tie for the Derbyshire Yeomanry. It’s a nice
thought, and I appreciate it, but I have no connection at all with
Derbyshire. I spent a week there once on business, and I must say they
seemed like very odd folk to me. “Derbyshire born, Derbyshire bred–strong
in the arm, weak in the head,” as the saying goes. For the record: my Dad
was born in Lancashire to Lancashire people, but was raised in Shropshire
and spoke Shropshire dialect. My mother was a Staffordshire lass, from near
Cannock Chase, though her father originally came from Worcestershire. (When
my mother told her father she was going to marry a fellow from Shropshire,
he said: “Shropshire? Them’s neither Welsh nor English over there.”) I
myself was born and raised in Northamptonshire, on the banks of the Nene
(pronounced “Nen”). Northampton people are mild-mannered and
under-achieving, with a pleasantly self-deprecating style of humor. You can
buy bumper stickers that say: SORRY! I’M FROM NORTHAMPTON. The surname
“Derbyshire,” by the way, belongs to Lancashire. The great hearth-place of
the Derbyshires is Wigan, where in fact my father was born.


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