Eee 'eck und Himmel: we don't understand Eutsch

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The Independent Online
You may have read, quite possibly in this column, that there have been "cultural" problems between the chaps at Rover (British) and their owners at BMW (German). Part of the trouble is that the Brits are a little too flippant for the Germans, who take their business very seriously.

So I was glad to learn that Rover's director of corporate affairs is taking a thoughtful approach to breaking down the barriers. Bernard Carey has invented a language called Eutsch, which is a bit like Miles Kington's franglais and is designed to be understood by both sides.

The problem lies not with the Germans - the Bavarians think it is an excellent idea, I gather - but with the English. For Mr Carey comes from Oldham, where they don't speak quite like us soft southerners. Worse, he spent his early career in Lancashire men's clubs, where any connection between his language and mine was irreparably ruptured.

I illustrate with some examples of Eutsch. "So fit wie ein Hund der einer Butcher" means "as fit as a butcher's dog". "Ich bin nicht so grun wie ich bin kraut-looking" - "I'm not as green as I'm cabbage-looking". This, Mr Carey tells me, is loosely translated into southern English as "I'm not wet behind the ears". And "Ee. Ich wird nach dem fuss unserer stairs gehen" - which means "Ee, I'll go the foot of the stairs", or in southern- speak, "Golly, I am surprised".

George soros is that financial chappy who made $1bn (pounds 645m) when sterling went on the skids a few years ago. Governments apparently hold him in terror. I know how he does it now, having listened to a tape (I suppose of a book) called Beyond the Curve. In it, he reveals that early on he knew something was going wrong with his portfolio when he got backache. Who said the markets weren't rational?

Speedy return

It's world scoop time. I can exclusively reveal that car manufacturing has stopped on the Arabian Peninsular. Maybe you didn't know it had ever started, so here is the full SP.

Three years ago, Marcos, maker of hairy sports cars of Westbury, Wiltshire, signed an agreement to have its products built in Dubai. Much publicity followed, because this marked the birth of the motor industry in the Gulf (this is a cue for letters telling me I'm wrong; please send them in).

But I understand that there was a rather un-Japanese attitude to both quality and productivity, and the bosses in Wiltshire became bothered by the lack of progress. They stopped production eight months ago, and are about to start sending cars direct from England instead.

The Marcos is one of the many tiny British marques that have ensured that Britain has more car makers than any other country (this is an Official Surprising Fact). Chris Marsh, managing director and son of the founder, says he hopes to get production up to a stonking 200 next year. Mind you, the Mantara does sell for pounds 28,000, so the Russian who ordered 25 recently was clearly a Man of Great Skill and Enterprise, or something.

And another world scoop. Shipbuilding is coming back to the North-east - maybe. As we all know, Captain Cook came from Whitby, Yorkshire. We may also know that he had two famous boats: the Endeavour and the Resolution. The people of Whitby spent years trying to raise the money to build a replica of the Endeavour, in which he discovered Australia. But blow me weren't they miffed when they found the Australians had built one already?

Rubbing salt into the wounds, the Aussie Endeavour is coming to Whitby for 10 days next May. What could the proud folk of Whitby do but to redouble their attempts to build a Resolution? Not quite as famous, but the captain did find some very pleasant South Sea islands in it.

So now a group of Whitby businessmen is trying to outflank the Australians by building not just a ship, but a shipyard. They are trying to raise pounds 5m to buy a bit of land by the River Esk, and they have written to Richard Branson to ask if he will help. The speed and enthusiasm of his initial response has given them hope the project will come to pass.

My Yorkshire cousin, t'Bunhill, tells me that the affair is a good thing for Whitby, first because it will give visiting Australians something to look at there. And second, because it will be a poke in the eye for Scarborough, in whose district Whitby lies. It seems there is not much love between the two towns, not least "because all the money goes to Scarborough".

Mobile phone

Once a phone conversation was a phone conversation. Then it became a source of aural gratification (Beethoven's ninth while you held). Then it became a source of rage ("To complain about this voicemail system, dial seven").

Now, it seems, it is a car. "Your call has been parked," I was told when I rang my bank the other day.