Monday, August 20, 2007

Merriol is away for a couple of days. Some NHS wallah has just discovered a rich new seam of previously undiscovered paperwork and has called together doctors and practice managers from all over the country to dump it on them. So my poor missus is far from home tonight, languishing in a "not very good" room - somewhere in here:

Dunblane Hydro

I'm sure I've seen this place in a bejillion movies doubling for castles all over the world (OK, Europe*) and in every genre of movie (bar Westerns - I don't remember any Westerns with castles in them). This place has four stars and the 'Free' facilities include Indoor Pool, Jacuzzi, Sauna, Solarium, Gym, and 24 hour room service! How come when I go on the road I end up in windowless converted garages with mad landladies who decorate each room of their houses with three different, clashing, wallpapers and the sort of insanely ugly ornaments you only ever see in Bed and Breakfast places in this country? I work for the wrong people I guess.

I became convinced last time I was on tour that there was , circulated only with the closed and closely guarded ranks of B&B owners, a catalogue from which they could order the ghastly crinoline lady toilet roll covers, ugly gold-rimmed lampshades, strange ceramic and crystal sculptures of dolphins, bad paintings of Scotty dogs, and all manner of things decorated with frogs! By god there are a lot of froggy things in Bed and Breakfasts in Scotland. Some of this stuff was so ugly it makes Argos crap look tasteful.

My other fantasy about this was that Bed and Breakfast owners regularly sneaked (snuck?) into each other's houses at night and planted these ugly things to make the competition look bad, but because they had all been at it for so long they had totally lost any grasp of whatever critical faculties they had in the first place and didn't notice any more that all their own houses looked like the Land That Taste Forgot.



* and I was so tempted to Photoshop in a lightning bolt into that sky...

...and drape a few of those long red Nazi flags down the front for good measure like some bad 60s war movie with Lee Marvin in it.

A weird half-tank half-armoured car thing zooms up the gravel drive to the front door where it stops with a screech of well-maintained brakes. A uniformed officer of the Third Waffen Ubergrupenngschaftenmeinenzeit, steps down from the running board and slaps one leather gloves onto his crisp black jodhpurs. A uniformed flunky runs towards him from the house.
"I am Reichvicemarschallgesentinbumsfassenfuher Schmitt of the Third Waffen Ubergrupenngschaftenmeinenzeit," roars the new arrival, "I wish to speak to your Commanding officer."
"Yes, Reichvicemarschallgesentinbumsfassenfuher Schmitt!" The flunky salutes and hurries off.
Cut to interior. The office of Reichsmarschallinsebensschtummer Hans Faltermeister. The Flunky enters:
"Reichsmarschallinsebensschtummer, there's a Reichvicemarschallgesentinbumsfassenfuher Schmitt of the Third Waffen Ubergrupenngschaftenmeinenzeit to see you sir."
"What! Reichvicemarschallgesentinbumsfassenfuher Schmitt? Here?"
"Yes, Reichsmarschallinsebensschtummer."
"Well, Untermarschallinsebensschtummer, you had better show him in..."

Meanwhile across the channel, Somewhere in England, the same conversation was taking place in a different language.
"Captain! there's Lieutenant Dick Smith to see you, sir."
"What! Dick Smith? Here?"
"Yes Captain."
"Well sergeant, you had better show him in..."

You see where this is going don't you? The Allies won the Second World War not because of any spectacularly wonderful planning, or because the American had more money, or even because we were right and Nazidom was an evil monstrosity that had to be destroyed (still does), no, the Allies won the war because a great chunk of it spoke English. It took half the time to say stuff in English. The grammar was a great help too. Putting verbs at the end of the sentence is not a good idea in emergency situations

English: Shoot that tank, over there!
German: Over there, that tank shoot!

The English shells were half way to their target before the German guys had been told what to do. "Ah! You want us to shoot them!" Obviously that is a silly simple example but anything more complex - possibly involving clauses and the English speaker is at a natural advantage. Indeed the average native English speaker doesn't normally listen to the second half of any sentence at all, all the good stuff is in the opening.

By the time Reichvicemarschallgesentinbumsfassenfuher Schmitt had, later in the movie, finally finished saying: "For you,Tommy, the war is over!" It was over.


I've no idea what all that was about but I think I'm glad to have got it out of blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah.

3 comments:

pj said...

Wow. M *is* out of town, isn't she...

(btw LOL)

Beth said...

i think i'm going to become a regular reader of your blog. you're incredibly entertaining. i hope you're holding up with the girls!

Liam Baldwin said...

Thanks Beth.

How to build your readership tip for bloggers number 23. Invite people to travel 8,000 miles to sleep in a ratty caravan in your garden for a couple of nights. They are yours forever Mwahahahaha!

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