3 thoughts on “Afloat? by Alan Townend

  1. Dear Alan,

    When I read an essay of you most times it is a scream. This essay is especially. I would like to copy, here again as I don’t want to change your composition. It can’t be change anything because it is perfect as it is.
    1. I like your self-irony as you explain why you didn’t like to fly.” your stomach above the clouds and then landing with a bump on the runway. Funny isn’t it? — you always land with a bump and a bounce. After you chew upon at least in the 21st century someone would have devised a method by which you didn’t have to bump and bounce when you landed.
    2. So, how else can you travel? There’s going by car. And you say in detail which is good to go by car.
    3. You set out for the port of Southampton allowing what we thought was plenty of time but it was only just in the nick of time, as you discovered later because it was one of those days when all the world and his dog had decided that morning to go on the same motorways as we did. (ha-ha) But all’s well that ends well. You reached the harbour: ‘Bags of time.’
    4. You’re even told us what style of dress you should wear – casual or smart casual or semi-formal or of course formal.
    5. Where you will sit for your evening meal—you are reminded an occasion the man you found yourselves sitting next to a couple at lunch one day and the husband sneezing at roughly one minute intervals. On the first night, you wondered who would join you. No-one did that night, the second night or the third night. It was at a time like that you imagine you have got some sort of personality disorder and are tempted to put up a notice reading: No, we don’t have the bubonic plague! Eventually, we joined another table that had two spare seats. The couple from London, no problem. The other couple (a charming pair I have to add) from Glasgow, a big problem. They both spoke with very strong Glasgow accents – she was understandable, but he (and I was the one sitting next to him) was virtually incomprehensible. I found myself in a situation where he would ask a question requiring a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ and I based my answer on how I interpreted the expression on his face. If he smiled, I tried a ‘yes’ and if he scowls, hazarded a ‘no’. I think it worked. In this part, I laughed heartily but meantime I imagined myself in your place with my husband who never would have believed to me that the mistake is in the strong Glasgow accent, but he had believed that I learned English, but I was unable to understand my fellow diner. It was the most surprising to me that you who thousands of students taught and understood you didn’t understand your compatriot. I remember when from Singapore a guy readout a text and asked every teacher that they found out from which country he was living. The answers were very different only you said very uncertainly I think he can live in a country Chinese. And .you were right.

    I could enumerate the details, but I don’t want that my answer would be longer than your essay.

    Dear Alan, I am very grateful to Torsten that he sent me this essay. I enjoyed very much and I spoke about the Skype session to the other students. They enjoyed.

    Best regards:

    Kati Svaby

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