It’s fully six days since anybody interviewed me so rather than subjecting you to cold turkey I thought I’d stage a gradual withdrawal from the spotlight and interview myself.

So, Laurie, what keeps you awake at night?

Thanks for asking. Well, the Euro crisis, obviously. Creeping Islam, the decline of literacy, political correctness, my neighbour’s dripping overflow pipe, and this really weird burning sensation I have over my left temple that feels like it might be shingles but isn’t. This week though motion sickness is the main cause of any sleeplessness.

God knows the English language is littered with irregularities and potholes that must make a learner stumble, but in all my years of  learning foreign languages I’ve never felt so defeated as I am by Russian verbs of motion.

Here are the things one must consider before opening one’s mouth. Are you talking about a one-off trip or an habitual event? Is this a simple go-there-never-to-return end-of-story deal or is it part of some bigger multi-destination journey? See what I mean? I’ve booked international flights faster than I can get my head round this.

So there’s a verb for the fact that I go to Galway quite often, but there’s a different verb if I leave for Galway right now and never come back. But who would know? Would the the Verb Police be waiting for me in Athlone? There’s also a verb for if I’ve travelled in the general region of Galway and may do so again. And another one for if I were to be seated behind a steering wheel and say to myself, ‘Damned if I won’t drive to Galway this afternoon.’

Okay?

‘But do not use this verb,’ warns my teacher, ‘if you go by rail, air or water.’

As if travel isn’t fraught enough.  

What the rules are about horse-drawn troikas or sleds hauled by dogs I do not know. Time travel? A tricky one. Teleportation machines? Trickier still.  

Homework for this week. Translate the following sentences into Russian.

‘Beam me up, Igor.’

‘I’m afraid Igor beamed me up, again.’ 

‘Up Igor! I said beam me up!’

‘Anyone seen Laurie? Igor’s been beaming her all over like a mad woman’s knitting.’

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