Tonight will be fine

I don’t remember how, but a while back I came across a woman called Samantha Power on twitter. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t known about her before and have followed and read her avidly ever since. I was more than thrilled to hear that Joe Biden has given her a position in his government, as…

An Unkindness of Ravens

Over the million years of teaching English to adult Germans, what most surprised me was how interested they were in learning things which were absolutely pointless. One of my biggest successes was teaching them the vocabulary ‘Haberdashery shop’. They loved it, and even worse, remembered it! I don’t suppose any of them had ever been…

A Moth of One’s Own

Recently I heard my lovely husband laughing as he read his copy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Now, that German newspaper is not known for laughs and so I wondered what had tickled his fancy. He showed me the short report, accompanied by a photo, “Moth named after Donald Trump.” You can see the unfortunate…

White wine with the fish

I loved French at school. My first French teacher was Mrs Gaskell, a Frenchwoman married to a Brit. We sat in two rows in a dark room and looked at pictures on a filmstrip which Mrs Gaskell rolled to and fro and then watched and listened as she spoke the text. I particularly remember the…

THOMAS

In the afternoon of December 29 1170, four knights stormed into the sanctuary of Canterbury Cathedral and murdered the Archbishop, Thomas. Thomas was born in London on the feast of St Thomas, 21 December, in 1120. His parents were Normans and whilst not nobility, they were well-connected and could afford to give Thomas a good…

Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt

Here we are on the fourth Sunday in Advent, with the fourth candle lit on our Advent wreath. Like many lovely Christmas traditions, this one originated in Germany: Our understandings of what Christmas really is emphasize the differences between my two countries, starting with which day is considered the most important. In Germany, presents are…

The Real MCoy*

Many years ago, when I started living with my own personal German, who later became my lovely husband, I offered him a McVitie’s Digestive biscuit. Bearing in mind these were unavailable in Germany at that time and had to be specially imported, I thought it was pretty kind of me. It was like offering my…

The Carnival is over

It was always clear to me that I wanted to be a teacher. It was just as clear that Germany would not accept my British qualifications, and so in 1984 I had the idea that I could teach English to German adults in our local Volkshochschule, one of over 900 in Germany. ” The task…

DIY: Do it yourself

At this point in the year I am usually up to my neck in Christmas Buffet recipes (for my ‘Volkshochschule’ students) and British TV Christmas spots for my participants in companies. Both have become a tradition over the years, the buffet starting from very humble beginnings back in the 1990, because I was fed up…

The windmills of my mind

When we bought our house in 1996 it was practically empty. Heaven knows what had been in here, or where it had all gone, but I can’t blame any of the chaos in the attic on the previous owners. At that time the attic wasn’t an attic, but a hayloft, full of very old hay.…

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