There are two answers that I keep hearing when I ask local Swiss people where they learned their English. The first is Australia, but the other is a much more specific response: Bournemouth!
I've enjoyed many a memorable night out in Bournemouth with my great mate Andy Bushnell - aka Bush - who now lives there, and it seems the Swiss encountered it in much the same way, albeit through different eyes. One of my favourite Swiss recollections is that of a young lady seeing a large group of policewomen enter a bar complete with uniforms, handcuffs and all. Thinking it rather unusual, she wasn't prepared for them stripping and cavorting in the middle of the bar and dancing on tables! Ah, Bournemouth hen parties...happy days!
Having spent the first 36 years of my life in the Worthing area, the seaside is in my blood and I don't think it's something that I will ever get used to living without. I can't watch the BBC programme Coast any more as it makes me homesick! There is a distinctive feel to an English seaside town with its ice-cream parlours, beachside cafés, and not forgetting the obligatory nightclub on the end of the pier! And there's nothing quite like falling asleep in the summer to the sound of waves breaking on the pebble beach. Bournemouth always reminded me of Worthing, but on a larger scale. And with more surf-dudes, which is probably why Bush feels at home there! I hope to return to the seaside one day, but preferably somewhere much warmer than England!
But why, if you are from Luzern, do you go to Bournemouth to learn English, I hear you ask? Well, Bournemouth is actually twinned with Luzern! There is even a traditional old red post box at Schwanenplatz in the centre of the city with a special plaque commemorating the union. I'm guessing most people don't even know what it is, let alone what it's all about, but if you're English, it stands out like a proverbial sore thumb. It always makes me smile when I see it and think of old friends and good times.