When I was eleven I went to stay with a family in Paris for two weeks. It was a great holiday and they spoiled me rotten - took me to all the sights - although it might have been a bit wasted on an eleven year old. The father was a friend of my dad's (Gerard) - a fellow air traffic controller - that worked at Orly Airport. I travelled from Gatwick to Charles De Gaul as an unaccompanied child. I think this just meant I got to sit at the front and the staff checked up on me now and then - although I did get to go into the cockpit too - as my dad was 'air traffic contolling' the plane! Very 1980.
Prior to the trip I had been given really, really clear instructions from my parents about behaving well and being really polite and grateful at all times. I was NOT to disgrace myself.
Gerard and his family were waiting at the airport to pick me up when the plane landed and everything looked great. They had two sons (Arno and Antoine) and a daughter Alice. I was excited by the idea of two weeks with this family....... that was until I got into their car. From the moment Gerard turned the ignition key until we arrived at his lovely home in the Parisian suburbs, he was all 'fu*k you', 'wa*ker', and 'cu*t'. As an eleven year old I had never been exposed to quite so much aggressive swearing. My eyes were popping out with shock and I actually remember feeling quite scared, wondering what my parents had sent me to and thinking I wanted to go straight home.
It was only later that evening that it suddenly occurred to Gerard what he had done. He could not apologise enough.
'I always swear in English when my children are around...I am ever, ever so sorry!'