~ It's a loff ~
Gornal and Black Country Humour.
The Gornal Lament
Oh dear o
me 'art 'angs low
an' how t' rise it
I dow 'no
To appreciate the local humour, an understanding of the local dialect is a must.
Gornal shares the dry humour of elsewhere in the Black Country, stories are delivered in a dead pan style with almost incomprehensible dialect and accent to some outsiders - the depth of humour being rarely appreciated.
Published in 1949, this omnibus edition combined volumes 1 to 5 (CDM collection).
Black Country Stories, T.H.Gough.
The first 'Black Country Stories' was published in 1934, this was a selection of stories and anecdotes some reputedly true and collected and presented by T.H. Gough, firstly in the Dudley Herald newspaper and a little later in a series of books, the last book -volume five was published in 1939.
There is some great humour, probably a bit tame compared to what is offered nowadays.
Some of these stories are related to Gornal and Gornal folk.
The Omnibus edition shown right, was published in 1949 and contains all five volumes.
The Black Country Society later reprinted some of the content in booklet form.
Here is a couple of quips from the book.
"Is your father in my boy"?
"No, he's in the pigstie claenin the pigs out -yow'll see which ones faether, es got 'is 'at on".
First Man: "I day know yore Jim was jed?"
Second Man: "Ah, if he'd a-lived till termorrer, he'd a bin jed a fortnit".
Published in 1960 by P.Sellers.
Two fictional characters, Aynuk and Ayli [Enoch and Eli] bear the brunt of storytelling, portrayed as a pair of 'half-baked' working class characters.
The stories and jokes are indigenous of the Black Country, some say Aynuk and Ayli are 'of Gornal' and many an argument started.
'Enoch and Eli' first appeared in print as a cartoon strip in the County Express newspaper, Stourbridge in the 1950s.
The typical quips and comic style illustrations were by P. Sellers of Stourbridge.
A couple of comic strip booklets were also published by this artist, 'Laugh with Enoch and Eli' published in 1957 followed by 'Laugh Again with Enoch and Eli' in 1960.
Many comedians continued with the tradition of the Aynuk and Ayli storytelling and jokes, always with a humourous slant on Black Country life.
Enoch and Eli cartoon strip by P.Sellers.
Typical Aynuk and Ayli:
Aynuk and Ayli are fishing in the canal....
Aynuk: "Me mates fell in the canal!"
Ayli: "Owd it 'appen?"
Aynuk: "I just took a bite ov me sanwich an the mate fell out"
['mate' being local 'spake' for meat]
The following story has been around a bit since the 1870s, and was published in various newspapers of the time, and possibly true, and this is virtually a verbatim account as published in 1876 including the original interpretation of the Black Country dialect.
The Bishop having held a confirmation in General, a woman in a respectable position who had three daughters, become impressed with the necessity of being herself and children confirmed.
She and they were therefore prepared, and ultimately confirmed.
When the mother, believing herself converted, became extremely anxious to proselyte someone else.
At length, after much consideration, she resolved to try her hand on Molly Stubbs, a woman who called every week with her donkey to sell 'lily white sond'.
'Well Molly,' she said, 'how bin yor?'
'Oh, tidy, missis, I bin. Never better. How bin yow?'
'All right, Molly. But I want to ax yer a question, Han you ever been confirmed?
'Lor, missis, why what's that I never heer'd on him afore.'
'Why, have the Bishop's hond on yer yed. Becos, if yer dow, you'r bound to go to hell.'
'You dow say so dun yer and whatever's a Bishop?'
'Why, a mon preaches on a tub at church on a Sunday and wears great big lawn sleeves.'
'Good gracious, missus, I never heerd talk of such a thing afore. But what's he put his bonds on yer head for?'
'Why, to convert yer, to be sure, and take yer to heaven.'
'Well, that's an easy way o doin on it, and I wish he put his honds on my yed. But how bin going to have it done ?'
'I dow know, without yow goo to Dr. Brown's the Vicar of Dudley, praps he'll dew it as well as the Bishop.'
'Dun yer think so? Then domm'd if I dew goo, and get him tew do it. I wants to go to heaven, I does, as well as anybody else.'
Accordingly, on the following Monday, Molly put on her best bonnet and dressed herself in what she called her Sunday Shoot and walked to Dudley, calling at Dr. Brown's and knocked loudly at the door, and said...
'Is the doctor a-whurm?'
'He is',
said the servant.
'Do you wish to see him ?'
'I course I does; I come on purpose.'

The servant then bade her walk into the library, and she would fetch the doctor.
'Good morning, my good woman,'  said the vicar.
'Good marning. Bin yow the mon what Bishops the women? cos if yow bin, I'm come to be bishop'd.'
'You mean confirmed, I suppose,'
  said the vicar.
'Ah; I mean confirmed, or bishop'd or whatever yer calls it. Honds on yor yed yer know.'
'Yes. I see; but it is first necessary that you should be examined.'
'Now, none o that, Mr. Vicar, I'm quite well, and I don't want no physic, and what's more I hain't a going to ha' none.'
'Oh!, I mean by examining, asking you a few questions.'
'Oh, dun yer? then why day yow say so at fust; you can ax as mony questions as yown a mind, and I con answer um.'
'I am pleased to hear it'
returned the Vicar
'Now how many commandments are there?', said the Vicar.
'Why three to be sure. You know that dow yer?'
'No, indeed, I do not, my good woman, I always thought there were ten.'
'Then yow oughten to ha known better nor that, for yown been a parson in Dudley to my knowledge a good many years, ha yer?'
'Oh yes, you are quite right; but that's nothing to do with it. I must tell you there are ten commandments.'
'Then I tell yow it isn't the truth, for I've liven at Gornal five and forty years, and I say there is but three, and I ought to know'.
'Well, well,'
replied the doctor, laughing, 'perhaps you will tell me what they are.'
'Course I ull if yow dow know. Why they'm Aistor, Wissuntide, and Sedgley Wake.'
It is needless to add that the astonished vicar did not recommend his ignorant visitor to the bishop for the next Confirmation.
Dr. Browne, was indeed the Vicar of St. Thomas's (Top Church) Dudley in the mid-ninteenth Century.
Although not from Gornal, we can't forget the likes of Dolly Allen, Tommy Mundon and Harry Harrison, who perpetuated the humour of the 'Black Country in their 'Black Country Night Out' shows from the 1970s onwards, sadly Dolly died in 1990, Harry in 2007 and Tommy in 2014.