The small village of Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe can be found nestling in the shadow of the Hills to the north of York, closer to the Moors and the sea than to the Yorkshire Dales. Typical of most Yorkshire villages of its ilk Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe’s roots go back through the centuries, though the angst and demeanour of life in the village is very much a part of the present day and not the past. This and subsequent stories are how village life and events are observed and perceived by Walter and Nimrod, two of the village’s more stalwart inhabitants.
It was Tuesday in Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe and black bin collection day. Nimrod was ensuring his wheelie bin was correctly parked at 90 degrees to the kerb. Satisfied it was he gave the bin a final shuggle and lifted the lid to check the contents.
“Lost summat, Nimrod?”
“Morning, Walter. Nah, just checking the stuff I should be recycling is hidden beneath the rubbish. I’m using the recycling bin to store logs. And there’s a bit of garden waste in there too. I’m not paying to have my green bin emptied.”
“They’ll catch you one day, Nimrod.”
“Then they’ll have to be up early.”
“Fit for the Arms tonight?”
“Is the Pope a catholic? I’ll be there, Walter. See thee later.”
Tuesday evening was dominoes night at The Whiteskelfe Arms. A game of penny a spot and five pence a corner washed down by a couple of pints of Brown Belch. And to round the evening off the Arms signature supper dish, a pork pie submerged beneath a sea of mushy peas covered in mint sauce. A proper Yorkshire aphrodisiac after a game of bones.
Nimrod was already hugging his first glass of Belch and staring into the flames licking the logs in the fire place when Walter slid onto the wooden pew beside him.
“I wonder what the origins are,” he said, eyes still fixed on the fire.
“Chinese I think,” replied Walter. “Then mid 18th century European.”
“No, not dominoes. Tuesdays. Where do Tuesdays come from?”
“Eh? What’s that got to do with owt?”
“I was interested, that’s all.”
They both took a sip of Belch and looked into the fire for an answer.
“Germanic gods,” said a voice.
Walter and Nimrod averted their gaze towards the newcomer as he scraped the legs of a chair on the stone floor and plonked himself down opposite before setting his glass down on the table to join them.
“Now Sid,” said Walter. “Hope you’ve brought some money. I want to be touching it this week.”
“Tuesdays,” said Sid.
“Oh, don’t you start as well. What is it with you two and Tuesdays?”
“If you’ll let me finish,” said Sid. “I was about to tell you about Tuesdays.”
“And Germanic gods” added Nimrod.
“That’s where Tuesdays come from,” continued Sid. “An Anglo-Saxon warlike deity, ‘Tiwesdaeg’. It all goes back to the Romans who called it Martis dies, day of Mars, after their god of war.”
“An apt night for dominoes then,” said Nimrod. “Least the way you two play.”
“Supposed to be a good day for getting married too.”
“You mean better than a Saturday if United are playing at home,” Walter chipped in.
“You’re a font of knowledge Sid,” said Nimrod.
“Well, if you want superstition, it’s a good day to have your hair cut or your nails. It’s supposed to bring wealth or a new pair of shoes.”
“I’d best make an appointment then, if I don’t take all your money playing doms, said Walter.”
“And don’t sneeze on a Tuesday or you’ll meet a stranger. And if he’s left handed…”
“Ey up lads. What’s thee gassing about? You haven’t got the dominoes unboxed yet?”
“Now then, Harry. We were just saying about strange left handed men who worshipped Germanic gods and got married on Tuesdays.”
“New boots, Harry?”
“Hope you clipped your nails before we start.”
“You’re crackers, you lot. Must be Tuesdays.”
Words and photographs Copyright © 2017 by Antony J Waller