Roger Federer copped bad luck after he swore quietly during an epic match, not in English but in Swiss German so as not to cause offence. The result; a complaint and penalty from the umpire for it transpired the lines-woman lived in Switzerland.

This recalled an incident when I was leaving Warsaw for London in 1981. They were dark days then in Poland and the mood everywhere was tense.

At the airport an unpleasant Immigration woman kept barking at me in Polish then complaining to a fellow official in Polish about me not understanding.

“You would think if someone had the misfortune to be born as hideously ugly as this beast, they would try and compensate by being nice,” I said to my wife.

The result? A miracle (bloody God taking the piss again) for suddenly she could speak English. We were booted out and had to leave the next day.


Hahahaha, brilliant. I always remember his (first I think) book on travelling. It made me laugh out loud when I read it.

This reminds me of a similar incident (albeit in reverse) When I was younger and travelling in the middle east I was crossing in to Egypt from Israel, and was getting questioned as I have 3 passports. The immigration woman was a fabulously pretty Israeli girl in the IDF, who seemed unable to understand me. In a moment of frustration I said out aloud “Oh why do all the prettiest girls always have to be the most difficult”, at which point she laughed, and admitted she was from Kansas!! Seems as a security measure they play dumb hoping that people might say something incriminating

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