I woke early on the Saturday morning, made a black coffee and started writing. As the dawn came up I noticed that the Thames was like a mill pond, flat, calm and the chill air still. It was low tide. The sun was breaking on the horizon and flared over Battersea bridge. Unfortunately, I only have a mobile phone camera available at present as my camera and other kit is still in store. The photograph doesn’t do justice to the beautiful morning but, hopefully, gives you a sense of the scene this morning. The other view is up river.
A trip to breakfast at a cafe on the King’s Road – the usual 7.00 am patois of the builders, scaffolders et al, happily absent. When I say ‘patois’, I will give a taste of what I can hear most mornings…. it runs something like this:-
“B***ding hell… Frank… I could murder a F******g egg and chips….” … “Yes…. Dave…. I think I’ll have a F******g egg and chips as well, mate”… and so it goes on. For the few guys who actually bother to bring a newspaper in with them it is, inevitably, Ingerlands favourite newspaper The Sun. Football is, of course discussed, as is Page Three… punctuated with colourful anglo-saxon and if politics is discussed at all it is in terms of “Bleeding hell…. or “What has that C**t Brown done now?…. B******d!”… and, my favourite: “Mind you that tosser Cameron… he ain’t any better.” …. believe me, I do not exaggerate. I have never heard mention of any LiB-Dem politicians at these early morning political round ups. I enjoy it. Quite different from and far more amusing than the domestic minutiae and angst I used to have listen to from the middle classes of Chiswick when they took breakfast at my then local cafe.
I’ve started talking to a few of the guys in the morning. At first, in the English way, it was nods of recognition and then, gradually, a “Morning, mate / Guv etc..” and now a chat about what is in the news. It is a good way to start the day and can be very amusing. This morning, however, it was good to read the papers without listening to the masterclass in expletives going on around me.
Saturday disappeared in admin… necessary and tedious. I went on to Twitter to see if Infobunny, Geeklawyer and the usual suspects were on – raising the reputation of UK law blogging (of a type) throughout the world – and discovered Google Translate.
Google Translate… we can speak in many tongues nation unto nation!
I have a couple of German friends – both amusing with a sense of the bizarre. One, fortunately, is in London – so I could not resist a quick email to tell him that I had learned to speak german in only five days : “Guten Abend Hans. Ich schreibe aus meinem Boot nach dem Lernen zu sprechen Deutsch in nur fünf Tagen. Das ist gut … ja?”
I received an email back in German – expressing, shall we say, a degree of bafflement that I had suddenly learned to speak German. Of course, i was able to translate his German back into English and was able to reply that we British had surprised the Germans on many occasions over the past 100 or so years “Vielen Dank für Ihre E-Mail und zum Schreiben von mir auf Deutsch. Dies wird mir helfen. Sie sagen, Sie sind überrascht – aber warum? British haben wir überrascht, die Deutschen bei vielen Gelegenheiten in den letzten 100 Jahren.”
I have no idea whether Google translate is accurate – or how it works. I do speak very bad and limited tourist French, appalling Italian and it seemed, to my limited knowledge of these languages, that Google did a pretty good job of translating what I wanted to say into a form of French or Italian capable of being understood. The possibilities are endless. I shall email Prime Minister of Putin in Russian to ask him what his plans are to invade Western Europe and if I need to go short on Gas.
Unfortunately, my deception was rumbled when my friend emailed me back in German to say that he would telephone me to see how good my German accent was. I did not have the heart to talk English with a Max Mosley style German accent….. so I had to explain that I was going out and may never be able to speak to him again.
Splitting my postcard into two sections this weekend – more in Part II tomorrow. Now.. it is time for some vino rosso…
I shall end with this thought… just for lawyers… THANK God/ your own belief structure, if any… Google hasn’t worked out “Google LAW”…. we’ll all be doing a Lehman then.