A traveller's guide to getting the summer sports results

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The Independent Online
MOST OF you will be going on holiday soon, and are probably mugging up on those little phrases that language phrase books delight in feeding you with, such as 'Can I borrow a screwdriver?', and 'Can you show me the way to the nearest taxidermist?'

Phrases, that is, which you know in your heart of hearts you will never need.

What is needed is a list of phrases you will really need on holiday, whether you are in Turkey, Le Havre or some part of Asia that you haven't yet quite identified. So I have prepared a list of conversational phrases which you will almost certainly need. (I don't know what country you are going to, so I haven't translated them for you, but that shouldn't take you more than a moment with a dictionary.)

Travel

'Do you have rail strikes on Wednesdays in this country?'

'Then on what day do you have rail strikes?'

'If I get on this bus, where would I go to?'

'How would I get back again?'

'And where am I?'

'Does this sign say that I can park here or that I can't park here?'

'When can I park here then?'

'If I can park here tomorrow, can you suggest somewhere that I can park until then?'

Buying a newspaper

'I left Britain a week ago, and these papers were on sale then]'

'Do they get here by mule or some slower method?'

'Next time I come here on holiday, would you like me to bring out the latest newspapers with me?'

'If the paper has reduced its price in Britain, how come it has gone up here?'

'I have put pounds 500 on Ireland to get through the next round of the World Cup and I can't find out if they have won or not.'

'Ireland.'

'A small island off the mainland of Britain.'

'Yes, football.'

'Well, I'm very sorry if your country didn't qualify for the finals of the World Cup, but I don't think that's a very good reason to pretend the whole thing isn't happening.'

'Do you have a paper with the Wimbledon final results in it?'

'Wimbledon.'

'A small suburb of London.'

'Tennis, yes.'

'I am very sorry if no one from your country has qualified for our tennis competition.'

'Forget it.'

Hotel Breakfast

'Excuse me, but what is this brown stuff in the bowl next to the fried eggs?'

'Oh, aren't they fried eggs?'

'Well, if they are not fried eggs, what are they then?'

'They're what?'

'You mean to say you eat that for breakfast?'

'So, how do you cook it?'

'You don't . . .'

'You eat it raw]'

'Oh, my God . . .'

'I think I'll just have the brown stuff.'

'No, don't tell me what it is.'

Medical

'It's nothing much.'

'I get it from time to time.'

'My doctor usually gives me some pills for it.'

'Dr Junkinson of Putney.'

'He's very nice.'

'No, he has never given me suppositories for it.'

'No, I have never taken a suppository before . . .'

'Which end do you . . . ?'

'It hasn't got Ephedrine in it, has it?'

'Yes, Diego Maradona . . .'

'You don't happen to know the Ireland result, do you?'

'No, I don't think it's part of a doctor's duties to know the sports results . . . it's just that . . .'

'Yes, I will phone Dr Junkinson and see if he knows the result.'

Hotel Bedroom

'Can you get Radio 4 on long wave in the hotel bedroom television set?'

'My wife likes the Archers.'

'Archers.'

'A story about farmers.'

'Yes, we have seen your farms.'

'They are very nice.'

'Can you get Radio 4 on the hotel television set?'

'Alternatively, do you know the Test score?'

'Test.'

'Cricket.'

'New Zealand.'

'Small island off Australia. '

'Forget it . . .'

'Incidentally, if that's a bolster on my bed, I'd like a pillow, but if it's a pillow I'd like a bolster . . .'

More phrases soon]

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