Back from Christmas in Slovakia


Long journey – 1,000 miles. Much enlivened by counting the number of Rumanian busses and other vehicles on the Austrian and German motorways. The newest members of our rich community of communities made quite an impression on the ferry earlier this evening. If I were to repeat what I overhead the Poles saying to each other, I’d go to prison.

About these ads

7 responses to “Back from Christmas in Slovakia

  1. Oh go on, Sean, tell us. It’s going to be -70f here in a couple of days……

  2. Warm enough in Eastern Europe to walk about uncoated. England chillier. A Latin translation of what the Poles said to each other might go “Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno.”

  3. Oh dear, I know what that says.

  4. Welcome home Sean. Sounds like a nice holiday.

    My wife and I stayed at home throughout the holiday this year but my daughter visited Prague returning home on Christmas eve. She said it felt more like Christmas there than it usually does here. We’re all meeting up ‘tomorrow’ for a little celebration in London before listening to Alagna (ex is the Rumanian soprano… AG) sing at the ROH.

    Anyway, does anyone out there know precisely why, or when, Romania becomes Rumania? For instance, I’ve never seen Poland written Piland, nor Lithuania Lethuania. Italia morphs into Italy for the English of course …and a thousand other places too, but I think something different is happening here. Why am I confused?

    I do know that a woman who worked in the house here for a number of years, cried out in alarm when she heard that unknown thousands of Romanians were heading our way.

    ‘Mr Warren, everyone in Poland knows about that country and please, those people are the very last people you should be allowing to enter England. They are not good at working you know. In the towns, stealing is very common; too much for the police to control.’

    That’s just about word for word as I recall hearing it. I repeated her outburst to Ken Clarke (the MP) but he said he thought it was simply an over-reaction on her part… but he didn’t sound particularly sincere. Unusual for him because he’s a great actor.

    Margaret, (that’s what she wanted us to call her) was a strong woman and what pilfering she did was well below the accepted threshold. Very good worker. Certainly not stupid. Good looking too. She became convinced the English had lost the plot completely and eventually returned to Poland.

  5. What happened on the ferry?

  6. David Davis – petty the damn press didn’t know what it meant when originally uttered! They’ve been mis-quoting it ever since.

  7. John Warren – I’m sure it used to be Rumania when I was a child, before reverting to the more logical Romania. Of more concern to my is the way places like Peking and Calcutta and indeed Bombay have been changed in their English trans-literation.
    In my view it’s like pub names – you can change them as often as you like but they’ll still be known by their ancient names.
    I know a little bit about Romanians. My father was an ethnic German from Romania. His people had lived there and farmed the land for a thousand years. During the war he ended up in Hitler’s army, then when Romania changed sides, all of a sudden he became a traitor to his country & everything he had was confiscated by the state. He couldn’t go back, of course, or he would probably have ‘disappeared’ under Stalin’s regime. I remember him telling me how after the war the Romanians came down from the hills and trashed the beautiful farms and houses that the Germans had built over the centuries. Useless, lazy people. They sit around drinking all day and go out thieving at night. We don’t want them here.
    This is of course a gross generalisation, and I must seek absolution from the many good people from that benighted country who come here. That doesn’t make it any the less true though. It’s the culture.
    Don’t know anything about Bulgaria except it has the most wonderful, amazing music.