PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or Just So German

10/08/2010 15:45 | Updated 22 May 2015

You would be forgiven for raising a questioning eyebrow at this, but hand on heart, this conversation genuinely took place between my daughter and me today.

Me: "I can't believe it's raining again. Oh well, it's good for the garden" (I know, I actually said that!)

Finje: "Ja" (accompanied by dramatic sigh and raising of eyes to the heavens. No idea where she gets that from!)

Me: I hope it doesn't rain on Sunday for the Village Party. I haven't heard the forecast yet.

Now prepare yourself for this....

Finje: We will get twenty litres per square meter.

Eh??

So there you have it. A more blatant illustration of one of the many cultural differences between Britons and Germans you are unlikely to encounter. Twenty litres what per square what ?? She doesn't even know what a centimetre is, and she can't count up to twenty without missing out thirteen and seventeen!

Not that I expected it in this case, but solidarity from my husband was far from forthcoming:

"What's wrong with that? Quite impressive really. Anyway she's spot on. Helmut told us!"

I failed to hear the part about Helmut (our elderly neighbour), it was drowned out by the admittedly unladylike guffaws exiting my convulsing body. It was not only this description of Sunday's expected weather, but the bemused expression on both my daughter's and my husband's face. With more than a hint of haughtiness he demanded to know how exactly we measure rainfall in the UK. My explanation that when chatting with a neighbour about the weather in the UK you are highly unlikely to hear a description any more scientific that "It's going to chuck/pour/lob/wallop/throw it down" was met with a mixture of suspicion and pomposity.

Such wishy-washyness resulted in a tut-tutting shake of the head and a look of wonder and bewilderment at the inaccuracy and ineptitude of the British public. And that was just Finje!

Seriously though, where will this predilection for Teutonic exactitude end I wonder? I await the day with foreboding when I find Lego pieces organised into neat piles according to colour/size/shape/function and her books arranged neatly in alphabetical order.

Still, there was some consolation that evening. During the usual quandary about what to cook for supper, Finje piped in with her two-penneth.

"Can we have beans on toast and mushy peas and gravy?"

YEEES!

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