Never has this been more obvious, nor indeed more regulated, than here in Germany. After a coaching this morning, I looked out of the window to the lowering grey sky, and remarked to my repétiteur how depressing the weather was, becoming distinctly colder and wetter every day. True, he replied; then a grin spread slowly over his face. But what a perfect time to drink Glühwein, he said.
Those who have an interest in the language-learning aspect might be interested to note that today I turned on the television whilst absorbed in something else, and only gradually noticed that I understood the gist of pretty much everything that was said without diving desperately for the dictionary. I have of course a long way to go, but four months after moving over here I have reached a basic level of competence that is somewhat reassuring. Absolutely bugger-all use in practice, of course, in a city where the accent is impenetrable, and in rehearsals where even I can recognise that the director has a terribly strong accent, but uplifting nonetheless!