It’s been a genuine regret that I have been more than a little tardy in trying to learn some Croatian words. I know ‘thank you’ and have forgotten everything else. Today, that regret is deeper than ever.

Even with air conditioning, it’s tough to sleep at night due to our reckless decision to go on holiday in the summer. This morning, at 7.00 am, it got even worse when a bunch of men arrived in a minibus in the next field to continue with the erection of a wall. The Croatian I wish I had known would have been along the lines of “What fucking time do you call this?”

It would, I know, have been pointless, since they would have replied in Croatian and I wouldn’t have understood a word of what they said, although I doubt it would have been along the lines of “Oh, right away, Sir.”

That ‘s the trouble with being abroad and trying to speak the language: people replying. It is all well and good speaking a line from a phrase book you have memorised. That’s the easy bit. My next line is invariably, “Sorry – do you speak English?” which inevitably they do. It gets things done but it’s hardly the actual point of being abroad, is it?

Having said all that, the Croats are among the friendliest, politest and thoughtful people I have had the privilege to meet. Nothing is too much trouble, including having to put up with dumb Brits who couldn’t be arsed to learn the lingo.

We’re going home tomorrow, so thanks for having us. Even the wall builders who appear to have finished for the day.