(Restaurant) English As She Is Spoke…

Pretty much the nearest restaurant to our Far Cotton mooring was a curry house called Baloo, in an unprepossessing street surrounded by convenience stores and Chinese  takeaways. The young Maître D was friendly, welcoming, interested in how we’d found the place, and spoke excellent English, as did all the other serving staff. Rather unusual in our experience of curry houses nationwide. As a bonus, the food was splendid, reasonably priced, and certainly deserving of the good Trip Advisor reviews.

On the other hand,  Andrea’s Restaurant, an Italian/pizza establishment in pretty much the centre of town, was staffed by two pleasant – if rather overstretched – waitresses who both seemed to come from Eastern Europe somewhere, with an absolute minimal understanding of English, let alone being able to speak it meaningfully. The food was fine, even if not what we thought we ordered, but with the communication difficulties we just smiled and said “Thanks”.

Even when travelling abroad, the staff in foreign restaurants regularly frequented by tourists usually have a slight grounding in at least understanding “restaurant” English (and/or French, German or Italian) even if you probably wouldn’t have much success trying to discuss the finer points of quantum electrodynamics or Jeremy Corbin’s rise to success. To have severe communication difficulties in English in a restaurant in the middle of a major English town seemingly catering to local English residents, it all seemed a bit surreal. Normal for Northampton, perhaps…

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