Wots he gorn on’bout? Meet the man on a mission to keep the Norfolk dialect alive
PUBLISHED: 15:27 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 07 February 2019
A Norfolk dialect lover is on a mission to keep the accent alive with the help of social media.
Cameron Self’s alter-ego Ole Henry Skipper has been bringing smiles to the faces of his Twitter followers since January 2012.
“Well, my neffew, he larn me orl about Twitface and he say tha’ss a gud way to git my thorts out thar,” he said.
Mr Skipper believes it is important to preserve the Norfolk dialect for posterity.
“I s’puse thar in’t too many people about now wot speak proper Norfolk loike wot I dew,” he said. “Some moight say good riddence. “Our wicar, he say thass orl about Norfolk culture and that shud be reserved for posterior, cos thass uneek. Though wot my Twitterins hev to do with cultur, I dun’t roightly know.”
Growing up in Little Waddingham, Henry worked on a sugar beet farm from when he left school at 15.
Mr Skipper said: “I hen’t bin outta Norfolk apart from when I went ter watch Norwich play Arsenal but we lorst seven-nil, so that wus that. Now um gittin’ too old fer gorn abroad and furthermore the ole tractor in’t that relyerble no more.”
Recently, Mr Skipper and a local parson have joined forces to create videos.
“At fust I din’t know wot the wicar wus gorn to dew with his phun,” he said, “Cos I hev one of them land lines misself.
“He sit me down and put his phun on one of them thar tripod things, wot they use at Carra Rud, and git me to speak some of my Twitterins. “Anyrud, he was also the person wot say I shud rit down me New Norfolk Annals, wot that Carmrun Shelf bluk put orn his literarture website.”
Mr Self’s website, Literary Norfolk, publishes poetry by the American 20th Century poet, TS Eliot, translated by Mr Skipper.
“A lotta peeple say that they carn’t understand wot Eliot is runnin’ orn about,” he said. “But once I hev translearted it inta Norfolk that become more clearer.”
As well TS Eliot, Mr Skipper is influenced by famous Norfolk performers such as Sidney Grapes and Sid Kipper.
He said: “I remebar them thar Boy John Letters in your pearper when I were young. And that Kipper Family, they used ter sing at Little Waddingham Willage Hall. Some people say I look a bit loike Henry Kipper, but I carn’t see at myself. That Singing Pustman, he were gud too. But thar wun’t nobody wot wus doin pootry and the loike, so I thort I’d give it a goo.”
Mr Skipper’s next project is already in the works.
“Well, I hev actuerlly bin riting a book,” he said, “About Norfolk squit wot our wicar say is wery gud, cos he say thar in’t nobody else wot know as much about squit as was wot I dew. But he say that’ll be hard to publish cos that is a small market. But then I say to him, look at orl those lucal books in Jarrolds wot nobody buy, they git publisst.”
With his Twitter page, videos and poetry translations, mr Skipper always finds the time to go to Carrow Road and watch his favourite football team and is very pleased with the clubs current form.
“That Danial Farke is doin a good jorb. Tho I carnt understand a bloomin word he say. He mearke Paul Lambert seem comprehensuble. Come on yew yellers.”
When his time comes, Mr Skipper has already been thinking about how he want’s to be remembered.
“Well, I wud loike to be remembared as someone wot wus still alive. But if that in’t posserble, I’d loike to be remembared with a statue in Little Waddingham – next ter the duck pond.”
10 lost Norfolk words
Henry Skipper’s favourite Norfolk word is ‘Teetermatorter’ which means see-saw. Here are 10 others that you may not have heard.
Troshin’ - mean to encourage or ‘keep on going.’
Mardle - to gossip.
Squit - talking nonsense.
Tricolate - to repair or spruce up.
Bishy-barney-bee - a ladybird
Harnser - a Heron
Jollificearshuns - fun and games
Mawkin - a scarecrow
Pishamire - an ant
Tempest - Thunderstorm