From a young age, I was fascinated by language. I grew up in Chester, to Merseyside-born parents, with Welsh and English heritage. I absorbed the Welsh words my nan taught me and parroted my relatives’ scouse accents.
I remember a holiday in Spain, aged seven, when two boys asked if I spoke Norwegian. When I couldn’t respond, they ran off, leaving me sad. Back home, I’d search shops for old language books and enjoyed trying all these different words to express what was in my head. I thought it was amazing, and still do.
The first language I learned was French, at school, aged five. I got top marks each year. The teachers wouldn’t let me study German too, though, and I was devastated. In high school, I joined a geography trip to Germany, just to be around the language.
At sixth-form college, I completed Spanish GCSE, then A-level. From there, it became a way of life. I did a combined languages degree at the University of Hull, studying French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. I sat in on Swedish and Old Icelandic lectures, and did language exchanges for Romanian and Catalan. I went to Lyon, playing darts with the French gas and electricity trainees who were sharing my accommodation, then to Málaga. I spent time in Verona, where I read the Bible in Italian (I had never even read it in English).