Twice a week I have a Czech language lesson. They say it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and as I struggle with my new language I realise that this dog is definitely getting old!
Now in most languages you often start with learning to count. Pity the poor souls who take this route when learning Czech. One is jedna, two dve, three (not so easy - it has the soft r) tři, but then you hit four - aaarghh! Four is čtyři - phonetically (or as near as I can get it) chteeeezrzree.
Okay you think, I'll give up on that - I'll try days of the week instead. Bad idea. Again you start ok: Monday - pondeli, Tuesday - utery, Wednesday - streda, and then you hit the fourth day in the week - čtvrtek. And don't even think about telling the time - not only is there čtyři to cope with but also quarter past - čtvrtek - and quarter to - tři čtvrté. The worst time of all is quarter to four - tři čtvrté na čtyři.
My secret is always to buy three apples or five and make sure my watch is telling the correct time. The old dog may not be able to do the trick, but there is more than one way to skin a cat!