Waltzing Matilda in French and Spanish
Valerie Barnes

Waltzing Matilda in French and Spanish

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Valerie arrived in Geneva to work for United Nations in 1948 and soon became a simultaneous interpreter in English, French and Spanish and a Russian translator. There were few conference interpreters in those days and they were treated like film stars, pampered and indulged, and very much in demand. The profession has changed enormously since then, especially recently with the advent of Covid-19 when conferences take place via Zoom.

This book describes her life in the old days of cocktail parties, evening dress and jewellery. It also describes what it was like in Australia in 1979 when she came to live here, having fallen in love with an Australian UN delegate. In Melbourne she met the most handsome man she had ever encountered, who came to repair her gas stove. In Sydney she fell in love with the didgeridoo and in Darwin with Mindil Market and the sunset. She was dazzled by the beautiful, brightly coloured birds and the magnificent seascapes but found barbecue etiquette a challenge.

In this book, she explains why being able to do headstands in the shower is important, why taking a bath is unhygienic, why flowers are sinful and unfaithful and why planes and boats are unable to travel faster.


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