I love to travel, even if only on the local-stopping train round England.
June 1998. I’d been to Gavin’s leaving do. I’d had a few drinks. I was merry, slightly drunk. I board the last train back to Bracknell from Reading.
I sit in one carriage. It’s nearly empty, with just me and a couple of other men. I start to flick through the newspaper for a few minutes. Meantime, I listen in on the two other men sitting opposite me.
I decide to spend the next few minutes listening to them. Time to kill before I reach Bracknell.
One fancies a girl off his course. The other had had a McDonalds for breakfast. Interesting stuff. A good chance for me to practise my language schools. (Three years at sixth form college and four years at university.)
Three minutes before Bracknell, I put the newspaper down.
One minute before Bracknell, Our Boris says to Our Ivan:
Попроси газету у этого толстого козла.
(For those not fluent in Russian: “Ask that fat bloke if you can have his paper.”)
Ginge in Germany, holding his copy of the Evening Standard replies very nonchalantly:
Почему ты сам не спросишь?
Translation: “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
Suddenly two very embarrassed and surprised Russians, their faces now as red as the old hammer and sickle flag.
My train stops. I get off.
One word: satisfaction.
Have a multi-lingual day, won’t you!