Hola! More of which later. It was George Bernard Shaw who once said that Britain and America are two nations, ‘separated by a common language’. Of course, each country believes that it speaks more correctly, but I suspect that English people do so in a more patronising fashion – and that’s patronising, not PAY-tronising, by the way. I was reminded of this when I failed to ‘mind my language’ in my sermon on Sunday. I was speaking about choosing the right route in life, but my congregation were probably wondering why I was talking about the importance of eating vegetables. Whereas ‘route’ and ‘root’ are homophones in English-English, they are not in American-English, where ‘route’ is pronounced ‘rout’. Another lesson learned, but there are many more. One problem is that Texans don’t all speak the same – like Britons, I suppose. In west Texas, words tend to get shortened, so that ‘help’ becomes ‘hep’. In contrast, east Texans have more of a drawl and words get drawn out and grow extra syllables. So, ‘arrest’ becomes, ‘arREYust’, ‘hair’ becomes ‘HAYur’ and ‘beer’ becomes ‘BEE-er’. I have a little book called ‘Speak Texan in 30 minutes or less’ and in its spirit, here is a free lesson on how to order a drink in Texas. “Suede Eyes Tay, MAY-am” Now you try. Of course there are also the usual place names that are not pronounced as they look – much as Leominster and Worcester in the UK. There is a town in Texas called Mexia. A couple were travelling through that part of the world unable to agree on the correct pronunciation. They stopped at a fast food restaurant there and asked a server how she pronounced where they were. As if talking to a particularly slow child, the woman replied “Mac-Don-ald’s”. The correct pronunciation is Ma-HAY-uh, in case you were wondering. Mexia is not in south Texas, but its name is a reminder of this state’s Spanish heritage. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I was in San Antonio, home to the Alamo, the site of the famous 1836 siege in which Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and around 200 others died at the hands of the Mexican army. The subsequent defeat of the Mexicans at San Jacinto freed Texas from Mexican rule. The Alamo was one of a number of missions built by the Spanish in the early 18th century. While the mission now known as ‘the Alamo’ is the most famous, I found one of the others a more attractive building. The mission of San Jose was built in 1720 and is still a place of worship for a Roman Catholic parish south of San Antonio. 1720 was the date that the previous Dagnall Street chapel was built. Twelve men who were British by birth fought alongside Crockett and Bowie at the Alamo – the second highest number from any one territory. In a Bible study group of twelve people that I led this (Wednesday) evening, there was a lady who had lived for a year in Hitchin. Sometimes the world seems very small. Love Simon