I well remember my grandfather describing a conversation between two rather dour wool merchants in Bradford:
“How’s business?” asked the first
“Terrible” came the reply
“Why, hardly better than last year”
“How was last year?”
“Best we ever ‘ad”.
When it comes to dourness Bradford wool merchants have got nothing on Cumbrian farmers. I’ve been fascinated to watch them at livestock auctions in the past and to see that they are on no account to show any signs of happiness, let alone contentment. If you ask a Cumbrian farmer, who has just sold an animal for a record price, how the sale went, his reply is likely to be “It’ll have to do”. I’m told that a farmer may, after making a spectacular profit, allow himself a private smile in the car on the way home, but that will be it.
As a Yorkshireman, I’ve never quite got the hang of it, which is no doubt why I’ll never make a farmer.