The third episode of my one-woman Yorkshire village sitcom Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays was released on Friday. As before, you can listen to it on Spotify or Apple podcasts, or at https://anchor.fm/jysaville where you should be able to play it in a browser without logging in to anything. Or you can listen to all the episodes right here in the embedded player:
In case you haven’t encountered the podcast yet, Lee-Ann’s been moved on to a four-day week at work and wants to spend more time with her portly black and white cat (Lord Salisbury) and research the history of the village she lives in. Unfortunately her interfering older sister (Gina) doesn’t think those are worthy pursuits, and Fridays are usually spent trying to thwart Gina. Lee-Ann’s Scottish neighbour Douglas isn’t on anyone’s side but his own.
It’s structured like a sitcom, but told as a monologue from Lee-Ann’s point of view. This Friday, Gina’s been inspired to a spot of decluttering and reorganisation, and since she’s still storing some of Lee-Ann’s belongings from her downsizing move a few years ago, those are the first items on the To Go list.
I have nothing against inspirational podcasts, and nothing intrinsically against Gina listening to them, it’s just that what they often inspire in her is an increased desire to interfere in my life.episode 3, Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays by JY Saville
Research for this month’s episode included jute production at the Dundee Heritage Trust website, which was a fun way to disappear down an industrial history rabbithole. I lived in Fife for a few years and I must have seen some kind of a display about jute which stuck vaguely in my mind and offered itself up in this context – possibly in Kirkcaldy, which I seem to recall was the home of lino. I am much more familiar with the worsted manufacture mentioned in connection with Lee-Ann’s Gran. Both my grandmothers worked in textile mills in the Bradford district, one of them was even a burler and mender, as was Sister Number Two until she was made redundant about twenty years ago. Some of the machinery from her mill ended up at the Bradford Industrial Museum, which is well worth a visit if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
One of the themes of the series is the class difference between aspirational older sister Gina and contentedly rooted Lee-Ann. A bit like childhood friends Terry and Bob in the fantastic 1970s sitcom Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, I suppose. Gina has left her working-class upbringing behind now she’s a forty-something lawyer with a solidly middle-class husband; Lee-Ann doesn’t see what there is to be ashamed of. Despite them both having white-collar jobs and living in the same village, they have different outlooks on life.
Gina said the word was ‘anything’, not ‘owt’, ‘Honestly Lee-Ann, you don’t live in a terraced house in a mill town now.’ Strictly speaking Upper Wheatley had a mill long before Bingley ever did. And technically the building in which my over-priced attic conversion sits is a house sandwiched between two other houses, which sounds a lot like a terrace to me.episode 3, Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays by JY Saville
While Bingley is a real place (I lived there for a short while in my twenties), Upper Wheatley is not. However, I have used Addingham to inform its size and appearance in my mind, so if you want to form a mental image of its buildings and surroundings you could do worse than use that as a starting point, while bearing in mind that Upper Wheatley as a place is not at all like Addingham – it has a station for a start, whereas Addingham’s closed in 1965.
If you’ve enjoyed any of Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays and want to support me as I make episode four, you can always buy me a cuppa…