Thursday 13 October 2011


Success: the tiles arrived. So with that triumph at the forefront of my mind I skipped lightly to the bus stop in order to go to a meeting with other BBC Presenters and Senior Production staff which was to be chaired by Director General, Mark Thompson.

The way these things work is that the famous TV Stars stick together and I talk to Ken Bruce whilst sipping a glass of usually-not-very-nice wine.

There is usually a short-ish pep talk about the state of the BBC, then a couple of people we don't recognise ask a whole slew of questions which usually veer off the subject until everyone wishes they would shut up so that we can get back to the wine, as there is only usually enough for two glasses and in between the first and the second we have forgotten how rank it was

"Weris Hngrlane"?

Asked the foreign-looking gentleman also waiting at the bus stop.

"Hanger Lane"?

"Ys. Hngrlane"

He responded.

"You definitely mean Hanger Lane"?

"Ys" He assured me.

"Well" (using the old punchline popularised by Black Country comedy duo Aynuk and Ayli years ago)

"I wouldn't be starting from here"!

"WherHngrLane"? He entreated.

I have been a stranger in a strange land where my language was not the one spoken so I knew how he felt. Bearing in mind we Brits have a reputation for being kind to foreigners (providing they don't actually try and settle here!) it was my duty to help.

Firing up the GPS in my phone I showed him that at the very least he needed to be at the bus stop over the road as this was going in the opposite direction towards central London.

The wild pointing then started. This way, that way the other way and some directions that would take a rocket or a mole as a means of transportation or certainly as a guide.

"Hngr" he repeated for the umpteenth time. There is only so much help a body can give and patience was beginning to wear thin.

I was tracing the directions for him on the phones screen when I became aware of something: the bus had tip-toed up to us and at the moment I noticed it. It slammed its doors and drove off.

Well I now had another 20 minutes to wait so there was plenty of time to sort this chap out.

Trying to stifle my impatience I went for broke.


"Ys: H.E.N.D.O.N"!

He spelled with obvious satisfaction at this command of an unfamiliar language and the reaction of his new found friend.

"£$%^&*("! I spelled out slowly and carefully in my mind.

I pointed him up the street to the turning. He would be able to walk it and would be there before my bus arrived.

I was late. Half-an-hour late. However, not as late as a woman who also arrived late and to make up for lost time launched into a diatribe about staff quotas. No idea who she was. Obviously important.

So glad I am but a simple Disc Jockey!


Anonymous said...

Reassuring that foreigners can spell, unlike a large number of our compatriots.

I am not sure how he can pronounce Hendon as Hangr though.


Slyppery Syd said...

Do yer speekerish Ennglishh? Mmmmm it is when they get YES and NO mixed up causes difficulty,
ie. "Do you understand" .... "Yes". .... When you know they really mean "No, I don't have a clue!".

Slyppery Syd said...

Tis a shame our youngsters can't speak English either. They only use 15 letters in the alpherbet - with the letter T absent!
Oh why can't the English learn how to speak !

mwhite229 said... that the strange foreigner's foto at the end of your blog, ah bless, he looks as if he did need help, how kind of you to try to assist, Alex. :)