“Ramblings of a retired tourist” – Did you hear that? It was the first day of April thirty-six years ago. Early that Sunday morning I was driving out of Tokyo to Hakonefor a lakeside view of Mount Fuji. As one does! As I emerged from the south-western suburbs, there was a report in English on the car radio that caught my attention.
Canada had purchased the US state of Arizona because it needed a province with a warm climate. I was amazed. It was half an hour before I realised this was April Fools’ Day, but even then I was not sure whether this had really happened. I had believed my ears and fallen for an April prank for the first time since childhood. Indeed there are many instances where our ears deceive us.
I remember talking to a friend about the great American swing bands of the thirties. “Chick Webb discovered Ella Fitzgerald” he said.“He had a great band. Tommy Dorsey took on Frank Sinatra.” “Sinatra was with Dorsey’s band?” “Yes. He had a very good one.” “Dorsey had Benny Goodman? I can’t believe that.”As we filed out of church one morning in 1962, a fellow congregant asked me “What a sermon! But, what did he mean: “Christ died on the Bosphorous?” I took two paces back. “I beg your pardon?” Then I remembered. What the vicar had said was “Christ died on the cross for us.”
I remember the two deaf football fans from the provinces down in London finding their way around the London underground to get to the match. “Is this Wembley?” “No. It’s Thursday.” “So am I. Let’s go for a drink.” “Since corona-virus, we’ve hired 250 people,” “That’s excellent news!” “Why do you say that?” “That’s good for so many people and their families”. “What? I said we fired 250 people, and you think it’s excellent”
Sometimes somebody makes a statement or says something that is beyond belief. I almost spluttered my porridge when I was watching the recent signing of a peace agreement between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, when Trump congratulated his corrupt (alleged) war criminal friend, Netanyahu, by saying “He is a great leader, just like me. I’m a tremendous leader”.
Maybe he was thinking aloud. I felt pretty ridiculous when I went into an electrical shop in Torre del Mar and asked for a packet of firemen. Unfortunately, I asked in Spanish. The shop-owner and the salesgirl looked at me as if I were Donald Trump (i.e. a nut case). I had asked a friend at the coffee bar for the Spanish word for a lightbulb. She had said “Bombilla!” I had heard “Bombero”.
Thank you for reading this column, “Ramblings of a retired tourist” – Did you hear that?”. For more from David Wroboys, visit the Euro Weekly News website.