Tayisiya Hayes

Tayisiya Hayes

Interviewed on

Tayisiya Hayes was born in the Ukraine. She moved to Hebden Bridge in 2001 and is a care assistant. Tayisiya was interviewed by Tony Wright (11th November 2003) Taya’s husband Ian was present during the interview.

What is your name, when and where were you born and where do you live now?

My name is Tayisiya Hayes, my short name is Taya, and I was born in the Ukraine in a village so I didn’t live in a big town.

What was the name of the village?


My knowledge of the Ukraine isn’t very good, is it North or south….?

It is central but more south.

Is it a small village?

It was a small village, but quite big isn’t it?

Is it the size of Hebden Bridge or a bit bigger?

No maybe bigger, like a part of the village.

What did your parents do there?

In my country?


My father is retired. My mother is an accountant and soon she will retire. In my country women retire at 55 years, if you can work after that. This country it’s 60 years.

What did your father do before he retired?

He was a driver. Lorry driver. My uncle was a lorry driver, and my grandfather.

So when did you come to Hebden Bridge?

26 June last year( 2002)

Why did you come?

To marry.

Did you get married in Hebden then?

Yes in Hebden Church.

Which one?

The one past the Fox (ed:pub)St Stephen’s I think ( ed: St James’)

I know it, the C of E church?


How did you meet then?

Through the internet.

Aha, I know a few people who’ve gotten married through the internet. What were your expectations, what did you think it would be like to come here?

I don’t understand.

When you decided to get married?

In my country my husband asked me to marry when he first came.

What did you think Hebden Bridge would be like?

Ahh Hebden Bridge right? I don’t know. I didn’t imagine much. I’ve not been to other countries before. I imagined the same sort of people like me- the same nature.

Have you found that, are some OK and some not OK?. How have you found it?

When I first came here I met Ian’s friends, so English people were kind, friendly and very nice, but now in my mind it’s changed a little bit.

Ah, you’ve gotten to know us better! So have you had any bad experiences, have any bad things happened to you?

No, No, No. When I first came here I didn’t know the language, so language was a big problem. It was for me. So I didn’t understand nothing. So I just thought everyone was kind. But now I know it’s not true. People are the same really all around the world. I mean Ukranian people are just like English people, but different because of how they behave between countries.

I would agree. Have you met any other Ukranian people here?

Yes, of course. I’ve got a friend, she is from East Ukraine.

Has she been here long?

Yes she is married, like me, an international husband through the internet. She came before me maybe a year before.

Is she …...?( ed: someone known)

Ian: Yes.

It is. I know her boy. I taught him in school, you see. She has a little boy doesn’t she?


I can’t remember his name.

Ian: You know him?

I taught him in school, only for about a month about 2 years ago.

She doesn’t want to speak the Ukranian language.

What was your childhood like in this village generally?

I think I had a wonderful childhood. When I was a child we didn’t have problems with money like now. In the 1990’s the Soviet Union was destroyed, so the problems with money started. I had a wonderful childhood.

How did you feel about that? Did you feel Ukranian or part of the Soviet Union?

Yes, part of the Soviet Union.

Were you sad to see it break up?

I think we were happy in the Soviet Union. We didn’t have problems with money, like now when you go to a shop and the shop is empty.

Do you have any brothers and sisters?

Yes. I have an older sister.

Were you a close family, a happy family?


Is she still in the Ukraine?

Yes she married a Moldavian. They have a son, my nephew.

How do you like Hebden Bridge then, as a place?

Yes I like it because it’s a small town. Everything is together, the shops, it’s not all over. And I like it because nothing’s very far. It was unusual because where I come from it was a plain and these are hills. I love it. I can appreciate that I used to live on the flat. It’s not really as interesting is it? There you could see all around, but here it’s just a valley. Very nice.

Do you go walking out in the hills?

Yes. Oh yes. When we have time.

Do you work then?

Yes I work here. I work in a residential home in Halifax.

Do you like that work?

Yes. Different. Better than nothing.

I used to work in those homes an artist. What I used to do was have lots of photographs. This was in Manchester, so I would have lots of photos of different parts of Manchester in times back, most of the people I worked with were 60,70, 80, and the photo’s were of the 50’s or 40’s. And we’d get them to look at them and talk about the place and then get them to talk about their lives and what they were doing at that time. If they had children or worked etc. It was actually great talking to the older people, but I didn’t have to do the work that you do. It’s probably not so nice as what I was doing. You need a lot of patience.


Do you think you will stay in Hebden Bridge?

I hope so.

Can you see yourself going somewhere else?

No. I told my husband I like Hebden Bridge. But I don’t like, well, I don’t have a garden, that’s one problem, because in my country, if you live in a village, you must have a garden, not big, but as big as you can work. My parents, they have a lot of land. They grow potatoes, grasses, vegetables- a lot of things. They just used to do it. So when I came here, there was nothing to do. So I couldn’t speak, no work. I don’t know. It was very boring. So I went to college.

Oh! Where did you go?

Last year I went to college to study English, Maths and the computer. The computer doesn’t like me . I can’t do it!

Yeah, I know that feeling as well! My son who’s 15 is very good on the computer and I’m always asking him things and he gets very impatient with me, but that’s the way it goes. Does your family visit?

Not yet. Next year we’ve invited them.

To Ian So, you’ve been over there, How did you find it?

Ian: Very interesting. There’s still a lot of Soviet influence. I find it absolutely fascinating in the architecture, the trams, the trains, the great vastness, the flatness, a big, big country. The long steppes they call them.

When you came over did you bring any customs like special holidays, or food, or things that you used to do there, do you still do them here?


What kind of things?

I cook here my food. I tried English but! We have everything that’s English but it’s just different.

You cook it in a different kind of way?

Yes. But I think it’s all the same but we like fried food, meat, everything. It’s not hard work, it’s our kitchen.

Are there any other things, like Xmas? Any special things you do at Xmas or at birthdays, May Day, or certain times of the year. Are there things that you did there that you’d like to do here?

Ian: Well Xmas is a different time. It’s the 6th January. And you’ve got women’s day as well.

What’s women’s day?

It’s celebrated on the 8th March and it’s like every man gives a woman a present, often flowers. A son gives a present to his mother, husband to wife, boyfriend to girlfriend. I really liked this in my country because this hobby you feel every year by year, it’s just day by day, but this day is a special day for women. You feel women not a cook, or a dusting, hovering woman or anything…you are these things but this is a special day. In my country every woman cooks, but men don’t cook. On this day men cook for women.

That’s very nice. Is there a May day then?

Yes when it was the Soviet Union. We had the 23rd February. Actually, It was a long time ago, I’ve forgotten. They call it the day for the Soviet army like it was for soldiers, every man could be a soldier. But now since the Soviet Union was destroyed we celebrate the 6th December. We call it Cossacks’ day. It’s from a long time ago.

What do you do on Cossacks day? That sounds very interesting?

Nothing. It’s just for my brother and my man. We don’t feel it’s a special day. Women’s day is much more important than men’s day.

I wanted to ask about friends you have here- are they Ukranian or English?

I have quite a few friends here, a lot of Russian friends and one Ukranian woman, she lives in the residential home. She’s a cleaner. She came here during the second world war. The English friends are Ian’s.

In Hebden Bridge when you’re shopping can you get the things you want or do you go to Halifax or Bradford.

No I usually go to Halifax for food and everything because it’s cheaper and there’s more choice.

True. I wanted to talk about family. I don’t want it to be a bug bear, but would you like children? Would this be a nice place to raise children?

Yes, not, not, in the future…. because I’m not, I don’t feel confident here now without money, and if I’m going to bring up kids… I don’t know how long it will take, it all takes time.

There’s a Ukranian population in Halifax, there’s quite a few I believe?

Yes in Halifax there’s two Ukranian clubs.

Ian: There’s only one in Halifax I think and a Ukranian Church, and in Huddersfield there’s a Ukranian club.

Do you go to those?

No, I haven’t got time. The people there are older people and it’s their community. I think I’d feel lonely there. I don’t go because I have friends here, and we speak in college. I think it’s enough for me.

Do you socialise in Hebden Bridge or mainly Halifax?

I don’t know?

Ian: Where do you see your friends?

Yes, in Halifax in college. I work full time so I don’t have plenty of time. When it’s summer I might visit my friends in Halifax.

You’ve lived in Hebden Bridge for about a year?

Over a year.

Have you seen any change in Hebden Bridge in just that short time you’ve been here?


How do you compare Hebden Bridge to the town you were born and raised in. I know you said it’s a village slightly larger than Hebden Bridge- so they’re both country, but is there anything the same as in Hebden Bridge?


Is there anything that’s really different, either the same or different?

Everything is very different in my village there’s no supermarket, in towns yes, but not in the villages.

Is it largely a farming community where you come from?


When you first came you said you found the language hard, was there anything else you found difficult- you’re doing pretty well now, thanks.

No. I couldn’t speak with Ian’s family, it was difficult, but now it’s OK, just.

What are Ian’s family like?

I actually like Ian’s family. They were very patient with me and the language, and I like them very much because they’re very friendly to me. They understood between countries, the way people behave- you know what I mean? What’s equal. They were wonderful, I like them.

Where do they live?

Ian: My mother’s down in Wheathamstead, which is Hertfordshire, and the rest of the family’s from Shropshire.

Why did you come to Hebden Bridge then?

I knew Trevor Bridge and they lived here at the time. I was looking to move back from Ireland and it seemed a nice place. The housing was a bit cheaper than down south.

So one of the reasons you came here was because of the cheap housing?


How have you found it in Hebden coming from southern England?

Oh it’s very friendly here, the people are friendlier than down south. Economically things are a bit cheaper. It’s definitely cheap to live up here. I just prefer it really to the south.

So you think you’d like to stay?

I’d doubt if I’d ever be able to afford to move anyway.

When you married you were already living in Hebden, so how long had you lived here then?

For about 3 years now.

Have you seen any change then?

Only minor things really. Things like shops opening and closing, hotels closing, obvious things like that.

So you haven’t noticed house prices going up?

Oh I’ve noticed, but I don’t keep a track on it, because I don’t intend to sell the house so there doesn’t seem to be a real point.

If it did change what would make it a better place to live?

I don’t know.

For example, a large supermarket to be built here or the traffic to be changed, or more work available so you wouldn’t have to got o Halifax to work so you would just stay in Hebden Bridge. Would that be a good thing? I’m just curious really about what your views would be.

Yes, we don’t shop here because the prices are very expensive, so we just go to Halifax to Tesco.

I do the same as well.

Ian: Another thing is you don’t want to stay in Hebden Bridge all the time. You want to go somewhere different occasionally, so we’d probably still go out there even if they did open a supermarket in Hebden Bridge. I think we probably don’t want a big supermarket in Hebden Bridge

I’m fed up with Halifax, everyday it’s Halifax, Halifax to work.

Do you feel you’re part of the community in Hebden Bridge then?

I know it took me quite a few years, I’ve been here for 16 years to feel OK with fitting in here.

Do you have any feelings about being part of the community or are you still finding your way around trying to fit in?

It’s difficult to explain. I’m still trying to find it.

How about your neighbours? Do you get on with your neighbours?

Yes, sometimes.

I like all the pictures on the wall.

Do you like this one?

I do.

That’s my village.

Is it?

Just part of it. I lived on the bit of a hill down the valley.

On this side of the river?


I must get it in this shot. Are these Ian’s or yours?

They’re Ian’s.

Are they part of your business?

Ian: Oh No they’re just a hobby.

You buy them?

I haven’t bought much for ages. I actually collect cartoon drawings. I’ve got quite a few. The others are holidays- Australia, Poland Slovakia, bits and pieces.

So you’re well travelled then?

Well fairly.

Is that because of your business?

Not my business but when I was working I spent three months in Australia, a month in Canada.

What was that?

Software installation and support.

I see. I think that’s most of the questions I’ve got here. There’s one question- I wanted to ask a question about religion. Being part of the Soviet Union, religion was not official. In your family or village was there a tradition of carrying on any church activities at all?

Oh yes, before, but the Soviet Union just destroyed everything. Now my village has just opened a new church a few years ago. My grandma, she always went to the church. It was forbidden but she went. My mother she didn’t really go , just at Easter.

Only at Easter?

Yes, now in school they’re special lessons just for religion. During 70 years we knew nothing about religion. Foe me I believe in God but I don’t go to church, I just didn’t go.

I was curious about that because it’s very similar here.


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Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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