Sad but true

I picked up two exceptionally well-spoken ladies, who had enjoyed an excellent play at the theatre.

We discussed the play, driving and traffic, satnavs, and the perils of being a pedestrian, amongst other things.

One lady asked me where I live. I told her, and mentioned how much my partner and I had enjoyed seeing a deer in our neighbour’s garden. I also mentioned that I had seen an otter while driving home, two weeks earlier.

“An OTTER!” the lady exclaimed joyfully, in her cut-glass accent. “How lovely! Oh, I love otters!”

“They are beautiful creatures,” I agreed. “It was a treat to see one.”

The lady continued, “When I was a little girl, my father was Master of the local Otter Hunt. It was great sport!”

“Oh, really?” I asked, feeling dismayed.

“Yes!” the lady continued. “I loved it when they found one! Such lovely creatures!”

“What happened to the otters once they had been found?” I asked, wondering if I was missing something.

“Oh, well, they would be taken to the vets, and… well, you know!” the lady explained. “They were considered terrible nuisances back then. Of course, these days, they are an endangered species.”

Funny, that.


I picked up two girls from the outskirts of Norwich, and returned them to their home in Dereham. The fare was £25. They had decided, on a whim, to come into Norwich for a few hours, by taxi. Their total expenditure on taxis for the evening was £50. The purpose of their visit? To have a McDonalds.

Am I in the wrong job, or the right one?!


I picked up a bubbly and very entertaining Filipino lady, who had been living in England for 3 months, working as a carer for the elderly.

We talked about her experience of England, and what a powerful learning curve it is to live and work in a country which has a different first language to your own native tongue.

Her English was good, and I remarked upon it.

“Oh, I am learning,” she replied modestly. “English has many difficult words.”

“Such as…?” I prompted her gently.

“Wobbly!” she enunciated carefully. “One day, one of my colleagues told me that one of our elderly ladies was feeling a bit ‘wobbly’ and I didn’t understand what she meant.”

I laughed, enjoying how she pronounced “wobbly” in her lovely accent. We discussed different contexts in which the word could be used.

Then, she said, “Sometimes I get things wrong, and I make my colleagues laugh a lot.”

“Go on,” I smiled.

“Yes,” she continued. “The other day, a lady at our home had a bad chest. She had a lot of congestion. My colleague said to me, “She might need a good cough”.”

“Ok,” I said, wondering where this might lead.

“But I misheard her,” said my lovely passenger, with a rueful smile.
“I was SHOCKED! I said to her, ‘What? WHAT?? She needs a good COCK?’!!”