The English Abroad

In our nomadic existence, we sometimes tell the locals we’re American or Australian – that stops them categorizing us as insular snobs.

Here’s a development in the tragic case of the Brit toddler kidnapped in Portugal:

Expat Des Taylor, 78, a retired architect, said he tried to call police twice when he saw on television that Murat had been detained to warn them of special features in the house which may go undetected.

However when he called police headquarters…he says he was told to ring back later because they could not understand English

He tried again to no avail, and finally had to ask his house maid to call two more stations before anyone took his details last night – 48 hours after the search began.

Mr Taylor said today: “The Portuguese police are useless.”

We lack experience of Portuguese cops, but surely people who relocate to a foreign country and decline to learn its language are “useless”.


3 Responses to The English Abroad

  1. Jay says:

    I have to take Taylor’s side. It says his house maid, presumably a native, had to call *two more stations* before anybody was willing to listen, so it’s clearly not a language issue. Given that, I wouldn;t be surprised if somebody at the first station knew english but simply didn;t want to be bothered.

  2. gandalf says:


    Maybe, but my point was the uselessness of this guy retiring to Portugal and not learning the language.

    What’s he going to do if – for example – he sees the house next door being burgled, he’s in a car accident, his wife falls down the stairs?

    On the wider point, he should have jumped in his car and driven to the police station – Southern Med people are not good on the phone.

  3. Jay says:

    So he learns Portuguese, then drives to the first station, then the second, then the third then the fourth . . .

    They obviously weren’t interested. And personally I wouldn;t live in a country where people couldn;t deal with telephones (not in this century or the last anyway).

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