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Thursday, March 03, 2005

 

Speaking in tongues

I’m quite chuffed with myself today. Had to speak to a French Coach driver in his native tongue and didn’t make a complete hash of it. Poor sod had been deposited in the darkest heart of CHAVland with only one phrase. “Excuse please – do you speak French?”
“Un peu. Qu’est-ce cest vous desirez monsieur?” I responded in my best GCSE Franglais.
“Cette billet.” He waved it, not understanding what to do with a pay and display ticket.
“Ah oui. Mettre le billet dans votre pare-brise, c’et bien de neuf heur ce soir. Oui?” I told him. I was wondering if he thought the coach park was one of those pay when you go places.
“Merci monsieur.” He said, much relieved, and went to see his mate who had just turned up in another French liveried coach. What the hell they wanted in our neck of the woods I’m not quite sure. We’re not a real tourist hot spot round here. I know my job is more about being punitive, but it’s nice to be able to help some poor confused soul out now and again.

Glad he didn’t get one of my younger colleagues. They like to play tricks on Johnny Foreigner and show him why we British are bestest at everything. I like visiting France and other countries, and get very embarrassed by ‘Les Fuckoffs’ as the French refer to them. I usually claim to be Irish or Scots (“Anglais, moi? Non – Je suis Ecosse / Irlandais.”), just so I’m not associated with those braying jingoistic coach parties from some sink council estate in Anytown, England who are there to get cheap booze and harp on about winning World War 2 (Again).

To them I say; look guys, we don’t have an Empire any more. It was too expensive to keep, so we gave most of it away and sold some of the more salacious bits off. We’ve been at peace with most of Europe for the past sixty years – well sort of, but we don’t do the invasion thing any more. You can’t get the sound effects and extras, and no one can do a decent orchestral score for love nor money. You just can’t do it for the budget – not even with blue screen and CGI. We’re just a small country with not much money, not much international clout (Despite Iraq and all that.) and lots of low animal cunning. Oh, and some quaint customs and architecture. Good locations for period drama.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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