Last night I wandered into what I thought was a quiet bar/restaurant, looking for something quick and good to eat. I had been there for a few minutes when in wandered a small group of young friends, no more than 21, two girls and two boys. They had guitars in cases and an accordion, and they were very warm towards each other in a most unBritish way.
They were slightly swarthy, seemed excited to be here, had obviously been busking on the street and spoke in a language that was quite impenetrable to me. I thought maybe Romanian, because of their looks, or something slavic. So I asked them where they were from.
“Bilbao”, they said. “Spain”.
They were not the world’s most successful buskers. They only knew three songs and were retiring upstairs in the Youth Hostel (for this, I discovered, is where I was) to learn some more.
“Are you staying in Britain?” I asked.
“Yes,” said one of the girls. “We are students. At the university.”
“But what language were you speaking?”
“That’s a hard language.”
“Not for us.”
And then we all laughed.