It has already been recorded that when Martin Newland, editor of the new daily newspaper due to launch in Abu Dhabi, rang to offer me a job, Mme Salut spectacularly misheard my end of the conversation,
"Merde!" she famously thought but didn't say (she is, after all, a well brought up French lady who would never stoop to uttering les cinq lettres), "he's not thinking of taking me to Derby."
There have been times, during our accommodation nightmare, when the East Midlands has seemed implausibly alluring. But then we remember rain-sodden days when I've been at football and she has been wandering around the unappealing city centre.
But now we head off to a much more attractive corner of Britain for the latest example of similar confusion between here and elsewhere. To, of all places, Snowdonia.
After an absence of many, many years, I decided to get in touch with Barry Skinner, a folk singer fondly remembered from his frequent visits to the North East around 1970.
This involved first asking at a folk music discussion site whether Barry was still with us, and then whether anyone had contact information.
In, with impressive speed, came the e-mail from a chap called Bill giving me a phone number that he thought was about 10 years old.
Today, I tried it. And it worked. I explained that because of where I was calling from, the call should be short; I noted his e-mail address and arranged to reach him again using that.
Barry was perplexed. Why, he thought to himself, should anyone worry about the cost of making a phone call from one part of Snowdonia to another?
The follow-up e-mail explains it well enough:
Nice to hear from you. I honestly thought you said Aberdovey, though I think you've got the better bargain.
There was also a Twain, arranged Skinner gag about reports of his death having been greatly exaggerated ("that's what happens when you get old!"). But I am just left wondering where next the location of my new job will be mistaken for. Aberdeen has to be a contender, along with Aberdawe.
And since my first contact with Barry Skinner in 20 years or more clearly unnerved him, let me bring you up to date on his life and work, work that extends far beyond folk without ever having completely replaced it. This is from his own website:
Barry Skinner has lived in Beddgelert for the past 20 years. He was born in Coventry and started walking and climbing in the mountains of Snowdonia at the age of fifteen. After a spell in retailing and interior design, he left all behind in 1964 and for the next sixteen years toured Britain, Europe and America playing guitar and singing his own and traditional songs, recording several albums and appearing on television and radio. He was one of the founding members of the first Coventry Folk Club in 1962, is still involved in performing and writing music and is available for folk club, concert and festival bookings. From 1979 until 1985 he worked for the Coventry Education Waterways Scheme, running narrow boats for school groups. During this time he wrote a large number of songs about the canals. In 1985 he came to live permanently in Snowdonia, initially building custom made doll's houses to commission and also painting and enamelling.