Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 19 June 2014
Bitte, one million beers, please
I'm one of those Brits who only speak English, but I can get by in quite a few European countries when it comes to ordering beer.
I find that I can count up to a million in German, so I don't have any trouble getting a refill, even if I am in the deep South where elderly people do not speak English.
When I reached a certain age at school, us 'clever' ones in the A-stream started to be taught French. I don't know why they left it so late, because the younger you start, the easier it is.
In a different class for a different subject, I turned to whisper something to my desk-mate, and was spotted doing so by the teacher, who was having a bit of a bad day. He told me to stand outside the Head Mistress's office (yes, that's what they were called), and wait there indefinitely.
Eventually, she came out and asked me what I was doing there, so I told her. She demoted me to the B-stream on the spot, because she just didn't like me.
I returned to the class in tears, and the teacher asked me what happened, so I told him. He was horrified, and went straight to the Headmistress's office to try and undo the damage. She was having none of it and refused to reverse her decision.
I had to pack up all my things and go to the class with all the kids who were deemed not to be as bright as I had been ten minutes before, and begin B-stream lessons.
They did not bother to teach French to the B-stream kids, so I only ever had two lessons in it before I was punished for whispering in class.
This is why I never learned a foreign language - I just went to a really bad school.
I never learned to swim either - at the very beginning of our swimming lessons, those who could not swim were asked to raise their hands. Me, a kid with pebble-thick glasses and a fat boy put our hands up.
We were told to go to the shallow end and keep ourselves amused while the sports teacher tried to improve the swimmers' techniques for the forthcoming Gala. He wanted good results.