Tag Archives: language

Lost audience, sight, and a Dutch cap (Rousse)

When responding to the question as to how I had met my boyfriend, my first job was to correct the enquirer. We were simply friends from University who had first met at a bus stop on the Bristol Road South … Continue reading

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A French language refresher course in Paris (Rousse)

I accepted the offer of a place in Paris to undertake a six-month long refresher course in French. Although downhearted at the prospect of a long time apart, TPR kindly accompanied me to France to help me settle in. The … Continue reading

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Ineffective Italian lessons (Rousse)

JC and I sat at the dinner table desperate to join in the conversation across the room. An Italian mother was making a hopeless attempt to teach her native language to her English-speaking children. Both JC and I could do … Continue reading

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University of Birmingham releases exam marks 29 years late (Rousse)

It was about 06:00am when I heard someone come in through the back door of the flat and make their way into the kitchen. I leapt out of bed, pulled on some pyjamas, and went to confront the burglars. What … Continue reading

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The Emperor of China, Tom Forrest, an absent wife, and a widower (Rousse)

Ancient tradition in China required the donning of a long black robe (similar to an academic gown) whenever the emperor visited. Every day during my imprisonment I was on standby for this eventuality. Meanwhile I joined in with the activities … Continue reading

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From igloo filmatography to sign language, by way of cliff-top croquet and cycling (Rousse)

“I’m looking for an expert in igloo filmatography. Do you have any recommendations?” asked CM, freshly arrived at the T family’s house after a long journey from Australia, where she headed up a major international charity. I suggested that she … Continue reading

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The chaos of rapid expansion in UK higher education (Rousse)

The expansion of Queen Margaret University’s portfolio of courses was so rapid that its building could not cope with the additional student numbers. Indeed something had gone terribly wrong during the extra construction work and now many of the institution’s … Continue reading

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Herman and his (twenty-first century) hermits take a trip to Manchester Airport (Rousse)

“It’s Herman the German” hissed AW when I asked who was at the wheel of my car. Now I understood why WB was chatting away in her native language in the passenger seat. Herman was driving us all to Manchester … Continue reading

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How to get (another) PhD (Rousse)

The Birmingham University reunion switched venue to Aberystwyth. There I caught up with SC, HW and CP and others – supposedly to reminisce about our undergraduate days, but in practice to moan about the deficiencies of the modern-day husband. Also … Continue reading

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Winning ways with the language of love (Rousse)

I was well aware that for over a decade my colleague A dismissed my work as completely trivial. It was well-known that he had no respect for me whatsoever. Then one day we happened to be assigned to the same … Continue reading

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