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Transcript: Life’s small stories
David: In Britain Today, Colin Beaven describes how the Corona pandemic turned a chat with a friend into a storytelling competition.
It’s nice to to catch up with sb.mit jmdm. Neuigkeiten austauschencatch up with friends, even when you’ve nothing to tell them. That was often the case when the pandemic was keeping us all indoors: Hi! Have you been doing anything much during lockdown? No, neither have we. Bye!
Even then, it wasn’t usually quite that extreme. There are always stories to to swapaustauschenswap, even if they’re unlikely to make the front page of the newspapers. Like the one about the bag of spinachSpinatspinach a friend of ours bought. She took half the spinach out, and decided to weigh what remained. To her surprise, the half-empty bag still contained more than the weight that was marked on the packaging.
What a bargainSchnäppchenbargain! She got more than twice the spinach she’d paid for. A good story. If this were a tennis match, it would be 15–love(Tennis) 15 zu Null15–love.
It reminded me of some hyacinths I bought a while ago. The price had been reduced, and there was an extra discount if you bought several pots. So, technically, the shop owed me money. The assistant scratched his head while trying to think of a way to sell the flowers without paying me to take them away. 15–all.
Our friends with the unexpected spinach live near the coast and they often walk along the beach. For a while during lockdown, they kept meeting a sealSeehundseal there, which was equally unexpected. The seal even came out of the water to be friendly – to the point of ignoring social distancing. Another good story: 30–15.
It reminded me of the shoal(Fisch)Schwarmshoal of grey mulletMeeräschegrey mullet we sometimes see in the local marinaJachthafenmarina. They’re big, handsome fish. But seeing a few mullet isn’t exactly the same as swimming with dolphins. It counts as hitting the ball into the net, so 40–15.
Finally, our friend told us she’d recently walked out into the garden holding a flower pot (agapanthusAfrikanische Schmucklilieagapanthus, not hyacinths) and was greeted by the loudest bang she’d ever heard. A mega--bang. Had a plane crashed? Had a cliff collapsed into the sea? No! Louder even than that.
The evening news explained what had made the noise: a fireball meteor speeding through the sky across southern England that afternoon.
It reminded me of the story about my wife’s grandfather, who loved making things like jam, chutney and gingerIngwerginger beer. One of his bottles exploded in the cupboard under the stairs when the fermentation got too enthusiastic. It was a terrifying bang, but exploding ginger beer doesn’t really to rival sth.einer Sache gleichkommenrival a meteor.
If a conversation is like a rally in a game of tennis, the story about a meteor was like to serve an acemit einem Ass aufschlagenserving an ace to win the match. Sleepy English villages may have been in total hibernationWinterschlafhibernation during lockdown – but not when meteors were flying through the sky and making such a terrible racket.
That’s the real connection with tennis. In English, a “racket” is not only a very loud and unpleasant noise. It’s also what tennis players use to hit the ball with. And it explains why I lose when I play: I have such a terrible racket.
Source: Spotlight 11/2021, page 12
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