Dorfy looking fondly back on her youth

OUR late dialect writer, Dorfy, grew-up at a time when the evenings were passed in activities such as reading, playing music or craft.

Years later, with the prospect of television making an incursion into the house, Mrs Dorothy Samuelson-Sandvid cast her mind back to those days, 50 years before, in a rather elegiac essay she called Entortainment.

This is an extract, but please print it out if you wish to keep it.

WHEN Aa gan alang the streets at neet an' see jist firelight flickerin' ahint the cortins, or the big oblong 'moon' o' television, Aa cannit help but feel that the human race's deteriorated since Aa wuz a bairn.

Nooadays the ondly social accomplishment bairns larns seems t' be tap-dancin'. In maa young days that wuz kept for the stage - wheor it belangs.

But in varny ivry fambly thor wuz one 'musical' bairn that wuz sent t' larn music.

An' the ambition o' ivry parent wuz t' own - not a television set - but a pianna.

An' if a pianna wuz beyond even hopin' for, then a fiddle wuz bowt, or a recorder, or a queeor, torpedo-shaped instrument that wuz called a ocarina.

In extra musical hyems - like mine - thor wuz aall these things an' w' cud aall play summack.

Nooadays it's fash'nable t' laff at 'drawing room ballads.'

But in the days when w' aall gathered roond the pianna an' sung Somewhere a Voice is Calling thor wuz nee Teddy Boys, an' w' had nivvor hord o' child delinquency.

An' it's ma form opinion that thor's a distink connection atween these two facts.

Not that aall wor evening's wuz tyuk up wi' music - far from it.

Thor wuz aall sort of jobs that had t' be dyun at neet - mendin', an' darnin', an' cobblin'. Sometimes w' sung as w' wawked.

But gin'rally one o' the fambly wud be given the job o' readin' aloud t' the rest. Monny a reed flannelette perrikit wuz featherstiched t' the accompaniment o' Oliver Twist or The Last Days o' Pompeii.

Or sometimes w' had poetry an' wor darnin' an' patchin' wud be dyun t' the solemn resonance of:

'Six feet in earth, my Emma lay,

And yet I loved her more -

Or so it seemed - than till that day

I'd ever done before.'

Tripe, of course. Ivrybody nooadays agrees that Tennyson is tripe.

But it myed a foondation an' a backgroond. Y' got summack in yor mind that didn't just wesh ower it!