Auntie Doris’s Book Club #13: “Me Sannies are Brannies” by John Brien


My nephew Michael bought me this book for Christmas. It’s a slim volume, just like his ruddy poetry book is. But it’s a good read. I really enjoyed it. But maybe that’s because I come from Hull, in East Yorkshire, England. (Not that Canadian one.) and the book is all about the Hull dialect, accent and words that are specific to Hull. If you know what “My sannies are brannies” means, the chances are that you either come from Hull, have lived there for a significant time, or know someone who does or has really well. I’m not going to tell you what it means though. Not yet anyway. You will have to guess in the comments box below. So there. Mind you, there’s a pretty big clue on the front of the book.

Any road, I liked John. He doesn’t come from Hull either, in fact, if the truth be known, he’s one of those ruddy southerners. But his heart is in the right place. And besides, he moved to Hull 46 years ago when he was 15 years old, and he has never left. People don’t, until they pass over to the other side.

He seems to be quite a brainy bloke. He talks all about language and dialect and verbs, bowels and constonants, none of which I could ever get my head around, but the book is an easy enough read, and full of funny stories., and words that I haven’t heard in donkey’s ages. It really warmed the cockles of my heart to read about diddlums (Christmas savings clubs) croggies (back seat lifts on a push bike) and bauking (retching or vomiting).

It’s a funny place, Hull. You don’t really go through it to go anywhere else, despite Withernsea being an ideal holiday destination for young and old alike, and despite them building the Humber Bridge, (which isn’t actually in Hull, but just outside and is only really a short cut for people wanting to travel beween Hull and Grimsby anyway. The Motorway runs out twelve miles before you get to Hull, and there are still some parts of the town centre that haven’t changed in living memory (such as that toilet block behind the library.)

Of course, by his own admission, John gets a bit carried away and claims some words and phrases for Hull that are probably used in a load of other places as well. But that doesn’t matter. They are still words and phrases that add to the character of the place, and fill anyone with a heart full of nostalgia and warm feelings (especially if they come from Hull.)

Even if you don’t come from Hull, I reckon it’s worth a read. particularly as Hull is going to be the UK City of Culture in 2017. I am very sorry that I will miss that, what with me being a deceased person. But then again. I might manage to manifest myself through my nephew’s body and join in the celebrations in some small way. You never know.

You can order the book from it is on the Amazon too. But they would send all the money straight to America without paying any tax on it.

Now tell me what you think “Me sannies are brannies” means.

8 thoughts on “Auntie Doris’s Book Club #13: “Me Sannies are Brannies” by John Brien

      • How terrible to begin the New Year as a failure. I’m tempted to use a word that Nephew Michael might use on occasions of angst when you’re not around.

      • Ohh.. Don’t be such a ruddy drama queen Bruce… How could someone in New Sodding Zealand be expected to understand a Phrase that is more or less limited to one small city on the other side of the planet. “My gym shoes are brand new”
        Like the year… And may your new year bring you all that you wish for. ( apart from the wicked and filthy things)

  1. Dear Auntie Doris.
    My wife, Lesley, has just found this. Thank you so much for such a knd and positive review.The book has been successful way above my wldest dreams and we are now on the second reprint. I am now working, albeit slowly, on a follow up book which I would love to have in the shops before the 2017 City of Culture. You were very kind to call me brainy but accurate when you understood my love for the City of Hull and the interesting but
    rather quaint way the the people there talk. Did anyone get what “Me Sannies Are Brannies” means ? Very kind regards – John Brien.

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