by Simon Henry @simlington
People in both the Lycra-clad cycling world and the less tight-fitting normal world were amazed when Yorkshire became part of the Tour de France.
The idea did seem a bit weird at first – after all, Yorkshire’s in England, not France.
And 62% of bikes in Leeds get nicked within a month of purchase.
But Yorkshire and France have more in common than you may think – a spooky similarity that goes way beyond both being inhabited by Homo Sapiens and having North Sea coasts.
Here are some very good reasons why Yorkshire is secretly French.
We’re both very good at shrugging.
As everyone knows, the French don’t actually say: ‘Je ne sais pas.’
They shrug it.
Similarly, Yorkshire folk are people of few words – ‘No’, ‘Can’t’ and ‘Won’t’. And a Gallic shrug is a more likely response to most questions than any of these negative monosyllables.
We both make a lot of cheese.
Wensleydale, Swaledale and Yorkshire Blue are only some of the crumbly and pungent masterpieces produced in ‘God’s own county’.
The French famously can’t be governed because they make so many different cheeses.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire people are famously constipated or ‘bunged-up’ because of the sheer volume of cheese they get down their necks.
My dad had fruit tea cakes with cheese inside for his ‘jock’ (lunch sandwiches) for 27 years until my mum asked him if he wanted a change in 1998. He shrugged – and has been on tuna mayonnaise ever since.
We have a very strong sense of our own importance.
Or arrogance – if you’re not French or Yorkshire.
You’re all just jealous you’re not us.
It’s a close run thing between Evian and Harrogate for the ‘best sparkling water in the world’ crown.
I don’t like to brag (much) but what I will say is that I’ve seen Harrogate sparkling water stocked in shops as far and wide as Liverpool, Nottingham and Clwyd (wherever that is.)
And it does have more bubbles in it than Evian. Just an observation.
We’re both gigantic
France is massive. It always amazes you when you look at a map and see how enormous it actually it is.
How did Henry VIII and all those kings and earls in history think they could conquer it?
This was before the ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ jibe had been invented. They probably had some ‘arrogant’ Yorkshire blood in them.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire is officially ‘England’s biggest and most magnificent county’.
When I say ‘officially’ I mean that’s the phrase Tourism Yorkshire made up.
But I like it. A lot.
We both like flat headwear.
The flat cap and beret are suspiciously similar.
The flat cap being marginally more stylish – especially if you’re taking a whippet or a ferret for a walk down the Champs Élysées
Flour and fat
The Yorkshire pudding is basically a savoury version of the croissant isn’t it?
I know Eric became known as Manchester United’s second best player ever after Georgie Best, RIP. And I know he did his best karate kick while wearing red.
But he came to Yorkshire first – a trial at Sheffield Wednesday was followed by a spell playing for Leeds United.
And he would have obviously stayed in the magnificent county of Yorkshire had certain alleged events not happened.
Always remember the French legend’s first choice was Yorkshire.
We both have white flowers as our symbol.
The Fleur de Lis and the White Rose both smell nice and last for around five days in tepid water before they start to lose their petals.
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My Posts about sport include lessons in losing from the World Cup, why marathons aren’t necessarily good for you and a Boat Race special.
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Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014