An elderly lady friend, who usually drives her own car, recently had cause to to go to town on the 75 bus, which passes through Firth Park and Burngeave. Next time I saw her she told me she was traumatised by the babble of foreign languages from fellow-passengers.
“I felt a stranger, in my own country,” she said. “Why can’t they learn English?”
But aren’t we just as bad? Another couple of acquaintances were going to France for the first time, so I gave them the benefit of my grammar school French: Ca va (how are you), bon matin (good morning) etc.
On their return, I greeted them with “Ca va?” They looked at me blankly: “Oh, we haven’t spoken to any French people,” they said.
There’s no wonder foreigners think we’re insular!
Ron Humberstone, Ecclesfield