Vytautas Vaičeliūnas come on down

They have salmon and trout at Eu Bloody foreigners back again Dot Evaldas looking confused In the château gardens The weir at Eu Along the seafront at le Tréport Vytautas and Elvadas That seat is ours
Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture I don't do picnics by halves Back up those steps again Up on the cliffs Inside the church at Le Tréport Left hand down a bit Le Tréport was damp Page 2

Vytautas and Evaldas

August 2010

On the 14th July 1410, Vytautas the Great, Grand Duke of Lithuania helped the Poles defeat the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald. On the 13th August 2010 Vytautas the Slightly less Great come to stay.

I hadn't seen my previous visitor, Anthony in twelve years. But in the case of Vytautas we reckon that we have known each other for about the same length of time - but have never actually met.

Many, many moons ago a young Lithuanian contacted me (via ICQ I think in those days) asking me if I could help him with some English translations. Ever eager to broaden my contacts with the world I said - why not.

As it was he was doing sub titling for videos and if you have ever wondered why the subtitles sometimes don't seem to marry up with what was actually said now you know.

The person translating them couldn't work out what they were on about.

Most of the time I could manage, though from time to time some of the subtleties of English were difficult to convey. As time moved on though and the end of the Soviet occupation brought new found freedoms - such as the ability to watch recent block busters my abilities to translate Black American Gangsta slang were really put to the test.

After all what does something like : Hey yo bro, whazza kumquat dun doin on mah patch - actually mean ? in English let alone translated into Lithuanian !

Vytautas is absolutely taken by English history and has been looking to go to London since he learnt how to pronounce Hampton Court, but finances and flights have always proved difficult and his own life has seen some ups and down as Lithuania has adapted to the evil capitalist way of life.

Fascinated by the live crabs

Fascinated by the live crabs

In the end those nice people at Ryan Air offered a chance to come to Paris on a direct flight from Kaunas which is just up the road from Vilnius. As the flights come in to Beauvais I said I would meet him and his partner and they could come up and stay for a couple of nights before heading to Paris.

Sods law of course said that the moment their flight was in the air the black clouds would arrive over France. I went into Auchan at Beauvais to do some shopping in sunshine and came out to a thunderstorm.

The most important thing of all was - the pair of them are really excellent. We were (Well I was anyway) a bit worried that face to face we might hate each other but far from it.

As we came north on the autoroute in the pouring rain we prattled away. If my French was as profound as their English I would be a very happy teddy. Lithuanian has a very unusually sound to it and this according to Evaldas was because it is only linked to Estonian and old Prussian (which died out hundreds of years ago).

I had noticed immediately that I could pick out very few words and nothing sounded Slavic - they might have been occupied by the Russians for much of their history but you wouldn't notice from the language.

That was something that I did remark on, Vytautas is old enough to have been required to learn Russian; Evaldas didn't. Youngsters today, they just don't know they're alive.

Actually I must ask Oleg and Aleksei because I think they did their military service in Lithuania - I am certain it was one of the Baltic States.

Getting back to the house quite late I made up some Flammekeuche - in effect Alsace pizza - and they filled the table with things they had brought over from home. I have half a dozen Lithuanian beers to try.

They also gave me a very large carved oak box. Evaldas suggested that I could use it for my jewellery but as I could almost fit my shoes in it, I can only suggest that he has been watching too many western fillums with gangsta kumquats messin' with their bling-bling.

If the following day was reasonable I would do a mini re-run of my trip over to Normandie with Anthony. If Vytautas couldn't see the white cliffs of Dover he could at least see the ones on our side of La Manche.

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See also

Jon's 60th Birthday

Quend Plage

Anthony's visit