So, I'm off to Blighty tomorrow.
Haven't been there for about a year.
I know it sounds strange to anyone living in Britain but it really is like a familiar foreign country to me now.
It's hard, for example, to come to terms with people speaking English to me in a shop, say, or a pub.
It's not like I've gone native over here, in Jolly Old Germany; the majority of my friends are Brits.
But, that said, the preponderance of people with whom I have contact with, (workmates, business people, shopkeepers, the public in general) are all German and therefore German speakers.
The area where I live is VERY German. I have friends who live in Paderborn who only speak English to their workmates and friends. They work for the British Army and they drink in British style pubs. They watch English speaking television and enjoy a lot of things that my small sphere of Brit mates would give their right hand for.
Conversely, the area I live in is situated not far from the old Inner German border and a lot of the population are of Eastern European descent, so German obviously is the lingua franca. My workmates come from Russia, (and by Russia I mean what was once the collection of lands that constituted the USSR.), Romania, Poland, Croatia and Serbia and though they may try a couple of English phrases with me, we communicate in German.
To some Brits, who think the world speaks English; this may come as a shock. I know a lot of soldiers come to Germany with the impression that everybody speaks English; I know I did. My sister in law was somewhat taken aback to find that nobody in the shops could understand her when she spoke English.
"Well how do they sell anything then?" was her indignant reaction.
Which leads me nicely on to a subject close to my heart, namely The Division of the Damned.
You see, the problem I have is twofold. It's not only my massive lack of literary talent that sits in my way to being published, there's also the language barrier.
There are no agents or publishers in Germany that take on English manuscripts. None. Not one. Keine.
It's a given, really; which agent wants to travel to Britain or America to try and sell a book to a publisher from an unknown, inexperienced author?
Which publisher wants to print a book in a foreign language from an unproven, unheard of author for a reading circle that doesn't cover 0.1% of the population?
No one in their right mind, that's who.
The internet has made the situation tenable but that barrier between myself and publication just seems that little bit higher from my point of view. Not much, but enough to be telling.
"Why all the self pity, Reg?" I hear you ask.
No self pity, I just wanted to write something about my book or the situation in regards to that mighty tome I penned, rather than about my hopes that Barcelona smash Manchester United tonight.
See you in about a week or so.
PS. I'm looking forward to being a rich man in Britain. The Euro is amazingly strong against the pound right now, almost one to one, so I'll be buying pints of good British ale for about three Euros a throw… nice.
PPS. Manchester will win. I'm not happy about it, but I am happy that it'll be one in the eye for Sepp Blatter and one in the eye for Michel Platini's UEFA; who definitely would not have been happy if two English teams had made the Champions league final again, for a second year running.