It just seems appropriate to recount this one small tale from a wonderful country called Switzerland.
I think it was back in 2010 and we find ourselves on a quite busy train heading to Geneva Airport, after a family holiday in alpine heaven. The Guard appeared and went along the carriage checking tickets. I’m always amazed at how effortlessly they switch speaking between German, French and Italian. When he got to us, I remember him looking quite sternly at us, then saying ‘oh from England, sorry my English isn’t what it should be. I will come back.” Sounded like we were in trouble for some reason, did we have the wrong tickets…..
After several nervous minutes waiting to be hauled off the train, he returned with an English Translation book in hand. He sat down in the spare seat next to me and with a smile said ‘The rest of the tickets can check themselves. I’m learning English so it’s good to get a chance to try it out”
Did he really say his English ‘wasn’t what it should be’…. For about 20 minutes he talked better English than I could ever manage. And what did he talk about, ask questions about. The Queen, he really respected her. Admired her dedication, her unwavering civic duty and respect for others. He hoped one day to meet her, maybe that was why he was so focused on learning another Language.
Finally he looked at his watch and said the next station is approaching. With that he left toddler Hawklad with a train badge and was off.
I wonder if he ever did get to meet The Queen. I hope so.