Eurodan in English

June 30, 2003

I alone escaped to tell thee... I think I now have a good idea how it must have felt to have discovered the Marie Celeste, as I am the last occupant of the flat in the Bradford hall of residence where I have spent the year, my three flatmates having moved out over the last couple of weeks.

They each left various items in their cupboards and in the fridge and freezer, exhorting me to feel free and eat them if I felt like it. It's a very odd feeling, rummaging through someone else's food cupboards, seeing if there's anything interesting that you might like to eat. It's a bit like one of those scenes you see in disaster movies, where the hero(ine) somehow managed to escape a disaster which wiped out the rest of mankind, and now stalks the country's Costcutter shops, living on salvaged tins of spaghetti hoops and rice pudding.

Thank heavens for tin openers!

Posted by Eurodan at 5:47 PM | Comments (4)

June 27, 2003

I know, I know! I've been back three days and hardly written a thing! I'm sorry. It's just that an enormous translation job has just landed on me, and as much as I'd rather be writing to all (five) of you, my sense of responsibility (or is that financial greed?) has taken over, and I'm working hard!

But apart from that, nothing has really changed. I'm still waiting patiently for the exam results (next Thursday), and for an invitation to a test at the European Commission (some time this summer) and for my audition to become a regional weather presenter (next Saturday).

So, welcome to the waiting room! Please feel free to take a ticket and sit down. There are some lovely copies of the People's Friend and Readers Digest to thumb through...

Posted by Eurodan at 10:59 AM | Comments (3)

June 23, 2003

Normal service resumed

Hello again!

I'm ever so sorry for that break in transmission, but as you know I've been eating herring, drinking snaps and generally having a Nordic good time on an island, far, far away from the internet.

But now I'm back in Bradford, which is emptying itself of students as if it were a big bath and someone pulled out the plug. Amazingly, I'm a bit tanned, (well, alright then, a little bit red from staying out in the midday sun). Wasn't I meant to be looking out for the midnight version?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some serious sleep to catch up on... god natt!

Posted by Eurodan at 11:28 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2003

Over the next few days, the blog will be a bit of a roadshow, and I'll leave it up to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not.

I'm writing this from EasyEverything in London's Tottenham Court Road, on a PC with a dodgy spacebar. Tonight a few friends and I are going to take in a show - none other than the fabulous Marian Pashley (no relation) at London's Comedy Camp.

And then on Thursday it's off to Sweden for the annual herring-eating and aquavit-drinking festival that's known as Midsommar. Naturally, I'm already beside myself with the excitement of it all.

I'm taking a camera, and if you're *really* good I might just post some pictures on the website next week.

So that's me done. How are you?

Posted by Eurodan at 5:21 PM | Comments (2)

June 14, 2003

Occasionally in the great Monopoly game of life, you land on "Chance". That is very much what happened to me yesterday, when I arrived in Hull and opened a large, inviting A4 envelope, and discovered that I had been invited to take part in the BBC Talent Auditions to find new regional weather presenters.

I know! Talk about needing a cup of tea and a sit down! I'd almost completely forgotten putting my name down by filling in a form on the web a few weeks ago, as I honestly thought I'd hear no more about it.

And now I've an audition on the 5th July - heavens! Wish me luck!

Posted by Eurodan at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)

June 13, 2003

In a world of mission statements written in managementspeak, here's one with which I couldn't agree more!

Posted by Eurodan at 2:14 AM | Comments (4)

June 11, 2003

Hello there! And what a fine, sunny morning it is as I write this. (Can you tell my exams have finished?) Honestly, I feel like a new man! (No, I'm not going to make that joke!)

Anyway, the curious among you might be wondering what lies ahead for me now my stay in Bradford is drawing to a close. Well, to be honest, I'd quite like to know myself! It all depends on unanswerable questions, such as my performance at hurdles such as the eye-watering-sounding "Insertion Test" in Brussels later on in the summer. You will, of course, be the first to know...

As a consolation for not even knowing what country I'll be living in come September, I am authorised to tell you that I'll be in London next week, in the run-up to my trip to Gothenburg for the annual Midsommar festivities. June 17th is not only the 50th anniversary of the 1953 workers' uprising in the former GDR, but it's also my sister's birthday, and that evening I'll be watching her perform (she's a comedian, you know), in London's Bar Code.

And then Thursday morning it's off to Stansted to be whisked over to Göteborg by Ryanair. So I'd better make a packed lunch, then.

Posted by Eurodan at 9:31 AM | Comments (13)

June 8, 2003

Sunday was a momentous day for Europe. Not only did my French language blog go live, but also, and perhaps more importantly, Poland, the largest of the applicants to join the EU, voted yes by a massive majority to accession in its referendum.

I think it's wonderful that the European family is expanding to include countries such as Poland and Estonia, suppliers of such fiendishly difficult languages, stunning scenery and great music.

Now that trade barriers of all kinds are to be lifted between our countries, perhaps Poland might like to try their hand at exporting enthusiasm for the EU to Britain!

Posted by Eurodan at 8:31 PM | Comments (6)

June 6, 2003

After watching yet another documentary, this time presented by the wonderful Jon Snow and with contributions from John Simpson, about the murderous disrespect for human life, human dignity and international law perpetrated by the current US administration in the Iraq war, I feel more ashamed than ever to be a citizen of the UK, whose government, in its ceaseless appeasement of the Bush regime in an apparent attempt to civilise it, seems to me as discredited as Quisling's puppet government in occupied Norway.

The UK under Blair now has better relations with a country which doesn't even recognise the International Criminal Court, which simply invades the states it doesn't like, murdering their citizens as it sees fit, than it has with two of its nearest neighbours, France and Germany.

My long-held idea of one day surrendering my UK citizenship, and taking on that of the EU state where I eventually settle, probably Belgium or Germany, is becoming more and more of a serious consideration. It wouldn't ever really change anything, but, if global alliances stay the way they are, I'd like to stand up and be counted on the side of international law, rather than unilateral domination and shameful appeasement.

Posted by Eurodan at 12:17 AM | Comments (2)

June 4, 2003

I've just had a phone call with someone who gave me the feeling that she generally cared about my well-being. She was knowledgeable, well-informed, and really took the time to listen to what was concerning me, patiently asking all the right questions, and then providing advice in a reassuring, but not patronising way. I feel reassured and valued.

Who is this person - a concerned close friend? A member of the family. No - NHS Direct.

I don't know about you, but I absolutely hate going to see the Doctor. Maybe it's just my bad luck, but any GPs who I've managed to see in the recent past have exuded such crushing world-weariness that I could almost have imagined that every patient in their entire career had been to see them that morning just before I arrived. They were not pleased to see me. And that's once I'd got past the receptionist, to whom the following Victoria Wood lines are appropriate:

the receptionist: "Can I help you?"
me: "Well, you could put that machine gun down for a start!"

The whole experience has always been quite an ordeal for a sensitive soul like me. And so it is that I've let episodic knee pain go untreated for the last two years. Until now. After calling NHS Direct I was able to explain the whole problem to a nurse (who phoned me back!). Of course, the upshot of it all is that they advised me to go and see my GP, but now at least I've found a different way to get the sympathy and empathy which I believe is an essential part of the patient/healthcare provider relationship, so I can cope with the rigours of the next Dr. Brusque.

Posted by Eurodan at 11:41 PM | Comments (9)

June 2, 2003

Last night I saw a TV programme which reminded me of how TV used to be. It was Patrick Moore's monthly contribution to that genre which is otherwise as common as hens' teeth, the intelligent TV science programme. Yes, you guessed it, I caught The Sky At Night.

And what a joy it was! No menu at the start of the programme with a clever little piece of Goldfrapp for accompaniment. No cut-away shots during interviews using a gimmicky steadycam. Goodness me, we had interviews where the same camera shot was held for a full thirty seconds!

It was bliss. Not a house was valued, not a living room was "restaged", and nobody berated Patrick Moore about his choice of suit.

The sheer refreshingness of it reminded me of how unwatchable the rest of TV seems to have become. What with wife-swapping documentaries interspersed with Sophie Raworth reading the news written by J.K. Rowling (it's just so accessible!), I think I'll stick to Radio 4.

Posted by Eurodan at 10:42 PM | Comments (6)

June 1, 2003

In case you were wondering where the duck is from, and what it signifies, let me explain.

When I was planning the website, I thought I'd identify each different language page using a picture of a thing that I particularly like to consume when I'm in the country where the page's language is spoken.

No problem with Germany (Kölsch beer), Dutch-speaking areas (Chocomel - the nicest chocolate milk drink ever invented) or Sweden (it's actually the cow from the Swedish "Arla" milk cartons, whose smart, minimalist packaging I've always admired).

But when it came to the UK, I was a bit stumped. I just couldn't think of a food or drink item which was typically British, and that I was a real fan of, so I extended the metaphor a little and took the logo of my favourite British night club, the incomparable Duckie at London's Vauxhall Tavern. I hope they don't sue me now I've given them a plug!

Habitués of Bradford University's interpreting skills classes will know that simultaneous interpreting is often compared to shooting ducks at a fairground attraction, but I've never aimed at the one on my website!

Embarrassingly I now realise that Marmite would be the perfect item for the UK page, but I'll let, you, the viewer decide... Duck or Marmite? (Well, it beats being asked 'beef or chicken?')

Posted by Eurodan at 8:32 PM | Comments (2)

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