Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Many happy returns

The young people came home yesterday, unscathed and triumphant from their trip to Switzerland with my parents, and probably with a better understanding of what it was like to be me, as a child. (Please do not misunderstand, though, I am grateful to my mum and dad!).

They brought back chocolates, which now, oh joy, are GOOD FOR YOU.

British Airways managed to divert my oldest daughter's baggage to, well, nobody knows. However you will be pleased to hear that I believe her mastery of the spoken forms of French and German have improved enormously , and I am sure that she will be delighted that I haven't yet sent back to Amazon DVD rental Wings of Desire so she can guage her progress. (This is the first film I've borrowed that I have not seen through to the end - I cannot see why people say it's a favourite - I'll swap it for what is probably its rival in pathos, a birdwatching guide).

All the talking with the locals was done by Miss Clever because my mother is one of those people who forgets that in Switzerland/France etc most people's first language is not English. She immediately wades in speaking to them as if she were at home, pronouncing all place names with an incomprehensible anglicised slant: "Lowzan, Burn, Freeburg" etc. I suppose she has persisted with this method, mainly when askiing for directions, because most people she has approached do in fact have quite a good command of English. I just think I would find it rather astonishing or a least presumptuous if, say, a French person in the street in Britain asked me something in French without checking first that I spoke the language. My father stays silent, mainly I think because he's got NHS hearing aids.


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