The English teacher here comes equipped with German punctuality. She doesn’t like it when people are late. This morning we walked in the door after the bell had gone. We were fixed with a stare that said, “Well, try talking your way out of this.” This was my chance – I could talk my way out of it.

“We do so apologise for the great inconvenience caused by our inconsiderate lateness, as a result of our morning time mismanagement and organisational incompetence,” I said.

I was asked to repeat myself slowly for the educational benefit of the class – I had done it: my apology had worked.

At the first break I was asked, in German now, whether that’s what we had to say in Australia if were were late to a class. “Of course it isn’t,” I meant – but whether that’s what I said in German I’m not quite sure.

“But,” the reply came (meaning my answer can’t have been too far off the mark), “it’s been made the apology we have to say if we’re late to class now.”

I do enjoy a spontaneous joke with legacy.



Paths here don’t come with that fear known to every Australian. Anything that moves on a path Down Under could kill you. Here, I am yet to see something move.

Today, I’m pleased to report on this blog of meandering ideas and half thought out attempts to be funny, I saw a squirrel.

“What’s that?” I asked excitedly (so excitedly my hands were extracted out of the pockets of my coat, where they were nice and warm), looking for the appropriate German word, which, naturally, I didn’t know.

“It’s an Eichhörnchen,” I was told.

I thought it was fantastic. I was told drolly, though, that they were pretty common and nothing to worry about – they were certainly not likely to cause death.

Now I have an insight into why tourists fall over themselves to see a kangaroo in Australia. But only an insight – I still don’t understand the full extent of the hysteria.

Other than this it’s a big change from the Bush Capital. There aren’t lizards in the library here, and nor are there kangaroo lawn mowers in the morning. Not such a problem – we’re in the city here and there isn’t too much lawn to mow; the task could be completed with a Swiss Army knife – or the German equivalent, which is probably over-engineered.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you told them that if you gave that excuse for being late to class in Australia you'd most likely get in trouble for being a smarty pants!!!

    Funny, isn't it, the things that excite non-locals. It won't take long and you too will have the same droll disregard for the poor old squirrel. [We fell for the same furry creature in Canada.]

    Sounds like you're having fun, Jasper.

    Warmest wishes from The Wigneys