I fancy my boyfriend …until he opens his mouth and speaks in his horrible accent. What should I do?

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Chloë is our new ‘agony queen’. She invites you to take a chair, tell her your problems and await her judgement. Dear Chloë, I have a gorgeous new boyfriend. I have been seeing him for around a year now and he is everything I have dreamed of. He’s handsome, own job and car, buys me lots of presents and takes me out a lot, and on our many photos on Instagram he looks like a celeb. He is really nice to me and has a great body thanks to his job. There is just one big issue for me – his Birmingham accent. As soon as he opens his mouth I cringe and sometimes I am embarrassed to introduce him to my friends. I thought I was being extreme, but I recently met his family and his accent is actually quite tame compared to them! He has talked about getting more serious but this is a major issue for me. My friends say I deserve the best, and am wondering if its best to call it quits and continue the search for my Mr Perfect, or to ask him to learn to speak in a more neutral way?  Claire Ann, 29, London You poor princess! You have an adonis boyfriend who seemingly worships you, treats you like a goddess but speaks with a Brummie accent? Woe is you! Lose that zero and get yourself a hero, girl! Let’s take the express train back from fairyland back to reality town. You are in an otherwise fantastic relationship with a gorgeous fella who treats you well. That is enough. In fact it is more than enough. Yet your letter implies you see the relationship as being less than serious, despite you seeing each other for a whole year. His Birmingham dialect might not be the top of everyone’s lists of favourite accents but is that really a reason to call off the relationship? How will you cope if his hair starts greying or heaven forbid something more serious happens like him falling ill or losing his job? Everyone has minor imperfections and a sign of maturity is looking past those and seeing the whole person. Like the girls on TV dating shows who reject fit fellas simply because they are wearing a t-shirt they don’t like, you risk losing a fantastic guy simply because you cannot see the bigger picture. Look at this the other way round, how upset would you be if he told you he was having doubts about your relationship because he couldn’t get his head round dating someone with a double-barrel first name like yours. You would be pretty miffed I suspect? Do not hold too much value in your friends’ advice either. They either want you to secretly split up so they can start dating him or are flattering your ego. Will they be giving you the same advice in twenty years time when you are all alone in a dingy flat surrounded by cats, regretting you choice to split up with your current boyfriend, and still desperately hoping for the ‘perfect’ one? I suspect not. You therefore have two choices. Choice one is dump him and search for your ‘Mr Right’. Or choice two accept him for who he is and celebrate him, his body, his soul and his accent. My advice to you is the latter. Go out and buy the Peaky Blinders box set, watch it, then ask your man to dress up as Tommy Shelby. I am excited for you!
Would you dump this guy for speaking with a Brummie accent?

‘I’m inheriting what?’

“One day, this will be yours.” That infamous phrase used by generations of parents and grandparents whenever we make the fatal mistake of hinting that we like something in their house. Whenever we hear this, we have one of two reactions: excitement at the notion of inheriting a precious family heirloom or hesitation as we ponder where in the world we would put this in our home. I tend to be on the side of questioning due to my past experiences within my own family. When my great-grandmother was alive, she had a chair which had been in her house for years and had begun to show its age. When she passed, my grandmother inherited the chair, but she barely used it. She then passed it on to my mother, who has carefully restored it to its original form. However, despite my mother’s efforts to preserve the chair, I find we have run into a common problem amongst families who inherit these items: there simply is not enough room for it in our home. This problem is especially prevalent among people of the younger generation, the millennials, who are just starting out in their lives and cannot afford a flat let alone a house large enough to accommodate such heirlooms. When they hear that they will soon inherit something from their parents or grandparents they start wondering where they could possibly fit it, making them reluctant to accept these gifts. Another reason people of the younger generation might be hesitant to inherit these items is because the personal connection to these items becomes lost as it is passed down through the generations. Why does this happen you ask? The likely cause of this is due to the fact that as an heirloom is passed down through the generations, the emotional attachment to it is lost. A young person who never met their great-grandparents will likely not fully grasp the importance of an item in the same way that their grandparents or even their parents would have. The older generations knew the original owners of these items and may have an emotional attachment to them while the younger generation, who never knew their great-grandparents, may tend to feel less sentimental towards these items. This disconnect may lead to people of the younger generation to not want to care for the item as much as their ancestors may have hoped, and it may be left in disarray. However, it is important for the younger generation to understand that these items cannot be simply given away by the people who have an attachment to them. If your family is in possession of your great-grandmother’s chair or your grandfather’s clock it would be hard to justify throwing these items in the rubbish rather than passing them down to the next generation. Not only do these items serve as a reminder of and connection to the past and those who have gone before us, but they are also invaluable resources for genealogical research. I have discovered during my own genealogical work that perhaps the most important connection to our ancestors are the photos and stories that are passed down through the generations.  For several years I have been conducting research on my own family tree throughout the United States and Europe, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Hungary, and Belarus, where my ancestors lived. I also recently started my own freelance genealogy business, Greenland Genealogy. While conducting research on my own family tree and for clients, I have found these pictures and stories to be of incredible value to genealogical research. These photos and stories add the important element of humanising the ancestors that are being researched. While the records found during research provide important information about ancestors, these pictures and stories help to put a face with the name on the page. So where does this leave us in the inherited items discussion? Although the concerns of available space are important to consider when inheriting these items, it is also important to consider the value these items have in your family’s history. In many instances, these items are the only personal connection that we have to our ancestors and should not simply be disregarded. So how can the older generations help people of younger generations see the importance of these items? The solution is simple: tell them the stories of their ancestors. Sharing these stories provides them with information about why this item is important to your family. It passes on that personal and emotional connection to this item and helps them to see that this is more than just some chair in your grandmother’s house or a book of pictures of people you don’t know. These artefacts and the stories passed down with them will provide future generations with a tangible connection to their ancestors and ensure that they will not be forgotten. Bradley Greenland @GenealogyGreen

Welcome to Over The Hump!

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Welcome to Over the Hump! Fàilte gu Over The Hump! We are so exciting to be launching our new weekly magazine section of our site! Why Over The Hump? Well, every Wednesday people celebrate reaching the mid point of the week, and start to look forward to the weekend. We want to be part of that celebration by bringing you all the best stories from the WIL network, as well as some general interest ones of our own. We are not here to sell you anything. We are not here to politicise you. We are simply a group of writers, bloggers and journalists from Scotland, hoping to bring you fresh, interesting and thought-provoking stories from near and far. So take a look around, connect with us on Twitter and Facebook and join us in your journey.  

‘A’ roads, ‘B’ roads…why does Winchburgh now have a ‘C’ road?

The sight of an ‘M’ road will be known to all Winchburgh residents, with the village being close to both the M9 and M8. Any certainly the sight of a road sign indicating an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ road will be a familiar one to any driver. But the sight recently in the village of road signs indicating road closures with a ‘C’ designation has left many puzzled. So what exactly are ‘C’ roads? It is a road sign which has intrigued local road sign geeks, as it is a sign which in theory should not exist. Factually ‘C’ roads should only be found in local authority designation spreadsheets and logbooks but should not appear on road signs. They are typically rural roads and lanes with low traffic densities, and are designated as unclassified or ‘quiet roads‘ commonly using ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘U’ prefixes. Whilst it is extremely rare to see a ‘C’ road designation on a permanent road sign, the Winchburgh signs placed in the last couple of months are temporary to advise on a road closure, and therefore allowed by the guidelines. The Winchburgh sign shows the temporary closure of the C19. This road starts at the eastern end of Linlithgow town centre, at a signalised junction on the B9080 next to the railway bridge. At first, it heads west, alongside the railway, following Back Station Road, before forking left onto Manse Road which soon turns south, climbing steeply across the canal. Leaving the town behind, the route curves south east then east at Riccarton, reaching the B8046 below Tor Hill. The C19 continues over the B8046 (Ecclesmachan road) and ending at the junction with the B8020 in Winchburgh. However, the C19 and its ‘C’ designation is not a rarity in West Lothian, and certainly not in Scotland. According to Transport for Scotland, there were 117km of ‘B’ roads in West Lothian, compared to 116km of ‘C’ roads. (Aberdeenshire has the most ‘C’ roads, with 1540km. In fact, in Scotland as a whole ‘C’ roads make up 19% of our total road network. Which makes the rarity of road signage with their designation seem strange. More worryingly, if we are only supposed to see ‘C’ road signs when there are road repairs and closures, their condition means we should be seeing ‘C’ road signs much more often than we do. In West Lothian alone, as of stats in 2017, 7% of ‘C’ roads were classed as being in a red condition, 35% in in an amber condition. If you would like to find out more about ‘C’ roads, there are fan websites designated to British roads and their signage, such as SABRE and roads.org.uk. And if you want to find out locally in West Lothian where each of our C1-32 and U1-43 are located, you can do so here.