Fears of confrontation at a cross-Pennine wedding on Saturday were averted when the groom’s family and friends failed to brag about Yorkshire or ‘Yorkshireness’ at all. The service and reception at the prestigious Blackburn House Hotel passed uneventfully, apart from some good-natured joshing as supplies of beer were suspended when two barrels had to be changed at the same time.
Conspicuously absent topics of conversation during the festivities included ability at cricket, strength of tea, thrift, honesty (including speaking as I find and calling a spade a spade) and the relative importance of birth place and upbringing.
‘To be honest, when our Maggie said she was marrying a Yorkshireman from Skipton, my heart sank,’ said the bride’s father John, ‘but Richard has been delightful from the word go. Nonetheless, the thought of a contingent of Yorkshire’s finest on the wedding day did give me some sleepless nights.’
Maggie’s mother Catherine described her disbelief when the Yorkshire guests all arrived wearing red roses, the symbol of Lancashire. ‘Richard's parents said the white roses hadn’t been up to much, and anyway the thought of perpetuating an ancient rivalry between two branches of the Plantagenet royal family hadn’t even crossed their minds.’
Things continued to go smoothly when the guests didn’t insist on sitting on Yorkshire-only tables but happily accepted the seating plan. The majority opted to order beer from the bar instead of the wine, but all who did commented favourably on the quality of the local Thwaites brew.
‘I was so delighted with the way the day went,’ said John, ‘that I didn’t even react when Richard’s father said at the end that while his opinion of Blackburn had improved, he still preferred Burnley. I’m sure he meant nothing by it.’
Asked to say what he had meant by that comment, Richard’s father said from his home: ‘I thought that would get right up his nose. Quite subtle for a Tyke, don’t you think? Aye, we had a grand day and didn’t pay a penny towards it. Lancashire? Wankashire, more like.’