Getting A Word In Edgeways

As part of today’s three hours respite from being my mum’s carer, I’m sat writing at a White Rose Shopping Centre (WRSC) coffee house. This treat afforded me from midday every Monday when I hand over my metaphorical carers baton to Maggie’s sitter Janine.

Consequently, each Monday when the clock strikes 12 noon I dash out off chez Strachan longing to emit a William Wallacesque cry of “Freedom!” Leaving both ladies to put the world to rights, (well, engage in a game of ‘Trying to get a word in edgeways’), while I enjoy an 180 minute hiatus from the strains of worrying about mater’s welfare.

For the uninitiated, ‘Trying to get a word in edgeways’ is a game partaken by all Yorkshire women from the age of 50 through until dotage.

Developed in the 19th century by Bradford millworker Mavis Cluck, it was formerly played by both sexes until scientists identified possession of a Y chromosome severely hampered chances of male success at the game. A discovery leading to men’s participation in the game dropping off significantly.

The rules of ‘Trying to get a word in edgeways’ are fairly simple. Participants brutally spar each others ears with as much gossip and soap opera storylines until one of the challengers lose their voice first (or the will to live).

If, after three hours, no one loses their voice, the victor is the competitor who’d drunk the highest volume of tea prior to requiring a toilet break….. If no toilet breaks are taken a draw is declared.

Anyone who knows Yorkshire women over 50 will immediately know my observations surrounding ‘Trying to get a word in edgeways’ are fictional. Tyke females who’ve reached this juncture of the ageing process, and further on into their dotage, never lose their voices and have bladders like elephants. Meaning if that game existed every contest would be drawn, making such events pointless.

Footnote – Penning an elephants bladder has the capacity to hold lots of tea is an assumption based on the fact it’s a bloody massive animal. Not from possessing informed knowledge relating to proboscidean pathology.

It’s good to be back writing at this WRSC coffee shop after COVID’s 18 month deprivation of visits to what was previously my ‘go to’ penning perch. During lockdown I particularly missed people watching from the centre’s mezzanine food hall located in the middle of the South Leeds retail outlet.

Looking down now from this lofted seat, my eyes are currently drawn towards a lad looking in his mid-teens wandering towards the now closed Debenhams store stands. Sadly, the former flagship store recently shutdown – Collateral damage of coronavirus’ arrival and people’s new-found lust for online shopping.

Clothed all in black with hood up, this youth exhibits the surly body language commonly associated with individuals of that age. A look making the kid looks like an apprentice grim reaper, minus the scythe….. Cheer up son, it might never happen!….. Unless you’re here to escort Debenhams off to its final department store graveyard in the sky; which will/is happening.

Anyhow, my three hours respite is drawing to a close. I best start making tracks back home before my glass slippers turn to dust in front of my very eyes when the clock strikes 3pm…… Back to the grindstone Cinders!!


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