Sunday, 22 April 2012

reading between the 'e' lines

"You told me you'd never do it" my friend admonished me during an evening out in Bristol recently.  "You were absholutely adamnt", she ranted; the wine I noticed, gradually beginning to take effect. "No, you told me... I was sitting right here.." she continued, " and you said you would never....."
"Okay, Okay",  I said, I admit it,  I did say that, but I've changed."

Since that encounter with my friend that evening, I've thought about it for a while and decided that it was about time to own up and put the record straight.
Helen and Rachel - my CELTA college friends at a recent lunch in Norwich
It's been something that's been gnawing away at my conscience for many months and is something that I just couldn't keep from doing for much longer.

I'll let you make your own caption for this one.( It was the middle of the afternoon in Reggio St Emilia in Italy!)
So, here it is: I've gone over to the other side! I am now a confirmed e-reader! The temptation was just too much. Travelling as much as I do now, I couldn't resist the 'on offer' window display glaring out at me one evening when passing WH Smiths in Liverpool Street railway station.
Oxford Canal - Warwickshire
There it was; all small and compact, bordered by a simple white surround with a purple, cushioned-effect back and the word KOBO clearly and unobtrusively printed at the top of this slimline, electronic wonder. So, like a shifty Miss Jekyll cloaked in envy, I slipped into the shop, averted my traitorous gaze from the towers of books stacked like disapproving sentinels on the shelves, and with as much deftness as a stealth fighter plane, I weaved my way around the aisles avoiding the book radar and grabbed my first e reader. Being the traitor that I was, I made a quick exit (after paying for it I might add!) and I took my guilty pleasure away to a quiet, dark corner, out of reach from those beckoning paperbacks and started to e-read.

After years of snootily rejecting this new technology, I finally succumbed when I remembered the emptiness of travelling without anything substantial to read. Even the the smallest book in my cycle panniers added too much weight to my bike and I missed reading so much when I was away in Europe.
Seeing double- Rugby Library
Of course, the e-reader never can and never will replace a book. There's nothing so wonderful as having a real paper book in hand, with those musty, comfy-smelling pages to get lost in. But
e-readers are a godsend for travellers like me; not only when I cycle but also because of the strangling weight restrictions and the piggy-bank-emptying excess luggage charges of flying. Being able to store over 2000 books on this little white marvel (it comes in black, and other colours too!) and being slim and small enough to take up no more room than having an extra large map in your bag, is a joy.
You'll never be out of work if you're a Brussels window cleaner!

One to watch- Thai student jockey trying it out on a recent outing to
 Newmarket Horse Racing Museum
There's a choice of free books to download, although I tend to ignore those now (after all, there's only so many times you can read Pride and Prejudice in a lifetime!) But there are some good cheaper priced books as well as the latest releases and other bargains to download. The Kobo e-reader even allows you to download from your local library! e-credible!

Arrow flights
My mode of travel dictates that I can never be a great souvenir collector but I will pick up one here and there. Space and weight restrictions when I travel means the largest souvenir I can handle is a bookmark. They are cheap, small and something to remind me of the places I've been to and useful into the bargain. I always pride myself on finding small, useful momentos, so I was especially pleased the other day when I bought myself a lovely leather bookmark, complete with gold embossed design and the type that has those soft, leathery fringes on the bottom that you can never stop fiddling with when reading. An intelligent choice for a Kobo e-reader!   

Ruins of Pella near Thessaloniki in Greece - Alexander's birth place
and where he grew up before setting out in his early twenties on his conquests

But I feel more complete when I travel now with this e-marvel in my bag. I hope real books will forgive me - I haven't eschewed them altogether - I've just diverted for a while - I will be reunited with them one day. Whether the staff in my local bookshop will ever forgive me is another matter. When having my regular coffee in Waterstones, I now have to dodge the suspicious and admonishing looks of the staff, as I snatch a quick read of my Kobo under the table while pretending to do up my shoe laces; their dissaproval evident when they discover what I'm doing by slamming the coffee cup down on my table in disgust. 

steps to a house in Renoir's home village of Essoyes in France
Talking of reunions, I met up for a girlie lunch with two of my CELTA course colleagues, Helen and Rachel, a little while ago. A group of us have kept in touch and Galina, one of our Russian 'family' from the CELTA course, has been keeping in touch too. We chatted for so long over lunch, we completely forgot the time - we were there for 4 hours! But then that's what girlie lunches are all about!
the obligatory sunrise photo - Sunrise in Suffolk
Kobo is an anagram.


(all photographs and text are the copyright of Deborah Anne Brady (c) all rights reserved: 2012)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Learning Teaching

Since passing my CELTA in March, I am now teaching full time at a local language school, BLS English, here in Suffolk. A few weeks in and I'm getting to make the classes and lessons my own, teaching Thai and Spanish teenagers, who are a delight with wonderful personalities.

My Thai students enjoying a lesson task
But it was a baptism of fire as when I started, along with one or two other new teachers, we arrived on the Monday, were handed a few worksheets from a course book and told to go and teach! As terrifying as it was, it couldn't have been a better introduction to teaching. Thinking up an instant lesson plan meant that as a new teacher, I didn't have much armoury to draw on for interesting ways of teaching the lesson. But it's amazing how much you can draw on your course for ideas and weeks into the job, it's getting easier. My days now are spent reading newspapers, magazines and any reading material I can get my hands on; a pair of scissors never far away!

students facinated with an English Bobby
a trip to London with my Thai students
Embankment London   
While I search around for more texts and pictures to cut up for future lessons, I will leave you with a selection of my recent photos, including some general shots taken in the last month.
the students punting on the River Cam in Cambridge

Chasing giant soap bubbles in London Embankment
The London Eye
My Thai students busy in class
sunrise in Suffolk

(all photographs and text in is the copyright of Deborah Anne Brady (c)
all rights reserved 2012)