‘Greetings!’

‘Now Then!’ is Yorkshire for ‘Hello!’

I love the different ways people say Hello in the different parts of the world I’ve lived in. It’s always the friendly form of greeting but it often conveys subtly different things to me.

When I was living in India, all those years ago, it was usual, when you met someone, to bow your head, put your hands together and to greet the person in front of you with a, ‘Namaste!’ And to my amazement, someone there told me that namaste means, ‘I see the God in you’.

How about that for a greeting, then??

Around most of the world, I guess, we all say, ‘Hi!’ or ‘Hello!’ or perhaps ‘Ola!’ or whatever your own language equivalent is but, other than knowing that ‘Hi!’ is more casual and informal and maybe even more friendly than ‘Hello!’ but I don’t really speak other languages well enough to know the subtle differences in those greetings that people use.

On the other hand, I am getting to know Laos quite well and whenever we’re wondering around in Laos looking like a typical pair of western tourists, everywhere we go children call out, ‘Sabidee!’ And with that word they shower us with a simple, uncomplicated and non-judgemental friendship and welcome.

In a country where the local people often don’t have a lot but where it’s normal to be contented and happy (and Buddhist!) it’s lovely to feel the kids reaching out to connect with us strange, tall, pasty-skinned ‘falangs’ as we wander around South East Asia on our holidays. That's one of the reasons we love being there: the lovely people!

At home, at least for me and my son, Ben, the usual morning greeting is, ‘Eh Up!’ Harriet is a bit posher than we are so I can't can't imagine that an 'Eh Up!' would come naturally to her, she's more of a 'Morning!' girl, but I grew up in Scunthorpe, in Lincolnshire, in the North of England, just a few miles from the Yorkshire border, so a childhood Yorkshire term, like ‘Eh Up!’ is very close to my heart.

To me, there's an added subtle greeting being communicated alongside the words. When I share an ‘Eh Up!’ with Ben or Harriet, it's an intimate acknowledgement of our shared presence and it's a little momentary celebration; the warm immediacy of us being together again. ‘Eh Up!’

I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Now Then!’ as a Yorkshire greeting . . . and especially when it’s delivered by a dour and very ‘grounded’, uncomplicated and typically down-to-Earth, matter-of-fact proper Yorkshire man or woman, in a proper slow Yorkshire accent.

What could be more relaxing? It’s as if someone is saying to me, ‘ Whatever nonsense you just happen to have been thinking about; forget all about it! We’re both here now, we’ve got all the time in the world and everything is just the way it should be!’

So, anyway, I thought ‘Now Then!’ would make a good friendly name for my new blog .... and here we are.


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