Lost in Translation

Misadventures in English abroad

Dodgy English from around the world

Lost in Translation
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Several years ago somebody told me about a notice seen in a Tokyo hire car: ‘When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.' Shortly afterwards I found myself on a ferry from Tenerife to the island of La Gomera, reading the instruction: ‘Keep this ticket up the end of your trip.' And I found myself thinking, ‘There might be a book in this ...' There was. As it was very different from my other books, my agent suggested using a pseudonym. Charlie Croker has gone on to have a life all of his own. (Why the name? It's Michael Caine's character in The Italian Job.)


‘Too funny for public transport.’ Sunday Times
‘Very funny and beautifully illustrated’ The Spectator


London Bus

A London double decker bus can lean further from the vertical without falling over than a human can. What a great way of learning about centres of gravity. The reason a Routemaster can lean so far is that there's a great long strip of pig-iron welded to its base, keeping you top-deckers safe as you go round corners. If you want reassuring photographic evidence, click here