?Hablas Espanol?

For TLF the trials and tribulations of Champions League football continue (don’t worry not daft enough to think that this is something I need to get used to). Another month and another European city looms on the horizon, there are guidebooks to buy, tapas bars to research, non-attending Mr TLFs to placate and to add a bit of extra pressure pre this QUARTER FINAL trip, TLF has put, “make vague attempt to learn the basics of the language’ on the to-do list. This after our trip to Seville clearly highlighted the large gap in TLF’s knowledge that is ‘conversational Spanish’; apparently adding “–io” to the end of every word just doesn’t cut it.

Of course this being the 21st century there is no need to pick up your Berlitz phrase book or 20 learn-the-language CDs, now it is all about the App. Not that I don’t have fond memories of the old phrase books. At the age of about seven, TLF was given an Italian phrase book ahead of a trip to, well perhaps unsurprisingly, Italy. For some bizarre reason the ancient phrase, “He’s a trump” was offered up in the book and any fule from the Void kno that a trump is a fart. Cue seven year old giggles for pretty much most of the drive through France.

Anyway back to the app. TLF has now been engaging with Duolingo for the past week. It is free, gets good reviews and is user-friendly for your average luddite TLF. After only eight days TLF is apparently 4% fluent in Spanish. The app did offer to update my LinkedIn profile with this news but am not sure that this is a talent that will necessarily have a string of prospective employers headhunting TLF any time soon.

Still I am as a result of all this, feeling more prepared for next week’s trip. In the event of having to engage with the local constabulary I will be able to relate to others whether I interacted with a police hombre or a police mujeur. And should TLF and companions find that the locals are thanking us for our tuneful rendition of ‘when you’re smiling’ at 2am in the morning, we will be able to respond appropriately with a jaunty, ‘de nada’.

The initial lessons didn’t however fill me with confidence that this Madrid trip would prove to be a gastronomique success. Three days of leche, agua and manzanas (that’s milk, water and apples for those of you not as educated as wot TLF is) doesn’t really appeal. However lesson four moved into more encouraging territory and I think it is safe to say that TLF will “bebe vino y cerveza” all the way.

And thank goodness for the next lesson on ‘animals’. Everyone can now be rest assured that in the event of Madrid being overrun by marauding bears and lions, TLF will be at the front of the retreating crowd, yelling, “Osos y leones!!” just like a local. And should any dodgy looking ticketless penguins try and smuggle themselves into the away end at the game I will be the first to blow their cover, shouting “el penguino” at the top of my voice.

Never has a TLF been so well prepared to depart these shores.
El zorro perdido

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