It is the 8th anniversary of the passing of my translator John Woodcock’s older brother Roger Woodcock, who as you may know was also uncle to the every lovely actress Jo Woodcock star of a number of films and television dramas.
Roger was not only one of the funniest people ever to have enthralled an audience, from the stage or in the centre of a group, he was also a marvellous writer, journalist and author. It has to be said here that without his help and inspiration none of my books would have been written/translated. Although sadly he wasn’t around when I wrote my first book I know that he worked with my translator on a number of TV projects over a long time.
A lot of you will know Jo Woodcock, Roger’s niece from her appearances in ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles,’ ‘Powder,’ ‘Torn,’ The Royal Shakespeare’s Theatre’s production of ‘Great Expectations’ and in so many more films and shows in the cinema and on TV.
It’s quite a family isn’t it? Small but talented! And this Cat is happy to be part of it, and as it is the Jubilee extended weekend bash, I suppose you could say I am a bit like the big diamond in the Woodcock Crown! Couldn’t you?
But that takes nothing away from Roger Woodcock who shone in his own right. One of the best stories I have heard about Roger was when he was in Hamburg in the late 1960’s, Germany doing some research for one of his many book on Ocean Liners. He was sitting having a coffee in a roof top coffee bar that over looked the very famous Blohm and Voss shipyard.
Of course we all should know that over the years Blohm and Voss have built a lot of ships for some very famous clients, loads of oily billionaires from Russian to Saudi Arabia and all ports in-between. Mind you there is one client who they don’t seem to mention in their corporate brochure these days and he is Herr Hitler, you know, the chap that led the Third Reich – a real song and dance.
Roger was sitting minding his own business rehearsing in his head the only German phrase he had committed to memory – “Entschuldigung, wo ist die Toilette?” which roughly translated means “Excuse me, where is the toilet?” A phrase that he knew would come in handy after several coffee’s or better still his preferred beverage several beers.
All of a sudden Roger’s train of thought was interrupted in the middle of the tongue twisting word ‘Entschuldigung,’ which he often remarked seemed to be a long and complicated way to simply say “excuse me,” by a rather heavily built Frau, who was apparently even more heavily built than most of the other Fraus who tend to block out the light in Hamburg.
For those of you who may not know German women are err… well let’s call them ‘statuesque’ to be polite, because although I didn’t mention them in my second book ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ quite a lot of Germans have bought my first book “Getting Out Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary” and they too believe it is a “Meisterwerk der Literatur feline” mmh I wonder if that needs translating?
Oops sorry I seem to have veered off the point and we were so near to the joke – sorry. Now back to the roof top café with Roger and the fat German lady, who by now had transferred her stein of beer to his table and sat down.
“I see you are interested in the shipyard!” She said. “I work in Blohm and Voss, I’m a welder,” she continued with considerable pride. “We built the Bismarck, the most powerful battleship of the war” She boasted in a tone that only Angela Merkel has ever imitated.
Roger who was not too pleased at being interrupted replied, “oh yes the Bismarck! I’m English, we sunk it!” A comment which apparently went down just like the Bismarck itself, slowly! Tee hee.
I wonder what Roger would have made of the sign below which I discovered on my last trip to Berlin? I have a feeling that he wouldn’t have been that interested in a tour of the toilets of Berlin, but he would have been delighted at the nonsense on the sign and the fact that after thirty years of practicing he would have been able to pronounce “toilette” perfectly in German and indeed many other useful words.
About the Author
The Cat is one of the most successful feline authors in the history of Catkind. His sharp elegant wit has produced the bestselling book ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and of course the much plagiarised gag of the same name which appears on all of the funniest joke sites on the internet.
Copies of the Cat’s masterpiece of feline literature ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and his latest wonderful book ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ can be purchased at a bookstore near you or from the internet at Amazon.com and here for the Travelogue The Cat’s Travelogue Paperback Edition or at what The Cat calls his www – wickedly wonderful website here www.thecatsdiary.com where you can not only learn more about me the genius Cat but also play my games they are all paw picked by me and have been described as “exactly what free on-line games should be, fun, free and fantastic.”
Cat, Cat Diary, free games, free on-line games, Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary, The Cat, The Cat’s Diary, The Cat’s Travelogue, www.Amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.com, www.wickedlywonderfulwebsite