Right, this may be brief as I have an appointment with the couch and TV for the conclusion of the Masters.
Along with an early summer, this week brought with it a German invasion of our little corner of the country. The preceding few days had seen a one woman attempt to reverse the retail spending figures from Louise, as we readied the house and the spare room for her arrival. I’m sure Kathl, our German, now thinks that all English bedrooms smell of paint and pot pourri.
By the time I got home on Thursday evening, Kathl was tucking into sausages and mash, and none of your Germanic nonsense, these were Asda’s finest, literally, and full of English porky goodness.
It soon became apparent that Kathl is a delight. Polite, multi lingual (German, English, Spanish and just to rub it all in a little Latin too) and a credit to her parents. Her one weakness does seem to be the ability to pack, as her case was the size of a small house, and almost needs its own room!!
As usual, with our girls, no matter what the nationality of the friend, without exception, we host all get togethers and events. Friday was no different, as I single-handedly oversaw a sleepover of mammoth proportions, with Louise out with work for a meal and drinks. Luckily, for most of the evening all the kids were out for a meal and then the cinema. Yep, that’s right these German kids are bright enough to sit through an English film at the cinema and understand enough of it. This meant they got home at around 10pm, and from there I retreated to my bedroom, watched The King’s Speech, and left The League of Nations to sort themselves out.
There was no disharmony that I could make out, and it was more football in between the trenches at Christmas than fixed bayonets over no man’s land. The noise subsided quite early with the German folk still tired from a long journey.
The morning saw the largest example of cultural difference so far, with a choice of bacon barms or chocolate brioche, not one of our foreign guests plumped for a bacon barm, and vice versa. When I asked them if they would like a bacon sandwich they looked at me as if I’d asked them to eat each other!! This is no doubt why they lost the war….oh, don’t mention the war!!!
Saturday was slightly easier as once we had all eight, yes eight females out of the house, we dropped them at the Trafford Centre and left them there for a good five hours. It was certainly good for me!
You will have noticed that we dropped everyone off, and yes we then picked them all up again later. Why change the habit of a lifetime. Thankfully, Saturday evening saw another parent host a BBQ, and we made the most of the chance and went out for a sneaky curry with my brother and his wife. A lovely night it turned out to be, with the amount eaten just being enough to start to cause me physical pain, which is always a sure sign of a succesful meal.
Today, we have had a wander around The Last Drop Village.
Then we bit the bullet, and despite the lovely weather guaranteeing that half of the western world would be doing likewise we took a drive out to the coast, and had a walk up the beach at St Anne’s.
It was very nice, despite the overwhelming amount of milk bottle coloured torsos on display, with the tell-tale pink shoulders of those who will regret it in the morning. Have chav will travel! We took Henry with us too, which is always a risk as he is truly awful in the car, but today he was OK and slept most of the way there. He did his usual trick of finding a piece of wood to carry around for half a mile and then insisting on burying the bloody thing with his hooter. No wonder he has cost us a small fortune at the vets with his snotty nose!!
Kathl did not know what a chav was, but after a loo stop at the local Toby Carvery, and five minutes in the beer garden, she does now. The benefits of these cultural exchanges cannot be ignored!!
So overall, things are not going badly at all. I have used my expansive range of German, much to Kathl’s amazement, and just to prove the point further, I ensured that our weekly shop included my entire repertoire of German knowledge, so that I could again slip that into the conversation.
Three years of German study was not wasted for me!! I know you will be surprised to hear that my one recollection of a German O Level would be cake related. I also today remembered the German word for pregnant, but I shall draw a veil over that.
As I type, we have a collection of children again, encamped upstairs, up until now peacefully. As long as they do not interrupt my golf and gateaux then there will be no need for cruel recriminations. For me, the weekend is over….
Oh and finally, this week’s title is a contribution from my Dad, who has a natural flair for international relations. He can speak any foreign language, as surely that is just English but louder? When told we were entertaining a German girl, his first reaction was to recount a tale of a bombed chippy in his youth, and this, along with a myriad of other reasons is probably why we shall not be taking Kathl to meet him!!
Till the next time…..