If anyone ever needed an excuse to learn German it was a Chinese backpacker who went to report his stolen wallet to the police but, speaking neither German nor English, ended up in the Stuttgart office which handles asylum applications. He unwittingly signed a form applying for asylum, had his passport and fingerprints taken and was held in a refugee shelter for two months until staff decided he was unusually well dressed and sought help at the local Chinese restaurant. The truth was established and he calmly set off to continue his trip, planning to walk through France and Italy (and speaking neither of those languages). Some of us walk to our German group meetings but so far without such dramatic incidents! Sylvia Mountford.