Monday, November 09, 2020

Back home / A new home

Eventually I get into my new home. a place I have passed through dozens of time in my life on the way to Whitby or to Runswick Bay to the seaside usually. Easington. Knowing nothing at all about the place,it's a new adventure. SO the exploring begins with a walk along the cliff to the next town, a fantastic fishing village called Staithes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


What happened to this year?

I find myself writing my Blog, that I promised to write regularly, almost  6 months after my last post in January.
But then the world has gone mad hasn't it!
Life here in Russia has been nothing if interesting. What do we do in this situation? Well I was always taught to , do as I was told!
Not applicable to everybody and not to everywhere it seems. Lockdown rules are for those who, like me, do as they are told. British politicians are as bloody stupid as they look, yes! that is possible in this case!

It is beyond belief, the stupidity of some people as they flaunt the simple rules of lockdown. I sit in amazement as people in the UK flock to places that are closed, for God's sake!  Whitby and the seaside is closed!
And here, well the lockdown started slowly and then,  Boom! The Muscovites flocked to their country houses and dachas, therefore spreading the virus everywhere and before long Russia was the second most infected country in the world.

Lovely, I felt stuck, trapped ! I contacted the British Embassy and ,there were no flights, I wasn't trying immediately to return ,but it seemed as though I was marooned among the Russians.

What to do? My first children's book 'Kirill the Kostroma crocodile',  book was finally ready to publish after some amazing help from two of the most wonderful Russians I have had the pleasure to meet. You know who you are! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Now all I need to do is sell it! Of course there is no chance even now on May 26th to organise a book signing event, but I am plodding on selling a copy here and a copy there!

One of the advantages of being at home all of the time is working out what the hell you are going to do all day.
I decided against sleep!
I had much more time to spend on my Creative Writing Master's course . I also was able to chat to Bob Beagrie and Hilary more often than I probably would have.been able to.

An interesting outcome is also that, I have ended up with my next collection of poetry and writing which is called;

'A window on the yard'. 

I have been able to write this alongside reading and learning about wonderful writers and poets, introduced to me on the course.
A window on the yard is a mixture of poetry and prose. I wanted it to reflect my experiences in Russia and indeed during the pandemic. It is a mixture of feelings , experiences and emotions,  whilst living and learning this language and more about this culture and the people of Russia. and for that matter how an Englishman managed in this land.

So now, Online learning has come into its own. Moodle and VLEs seem old fashioned and out of date. Technology has naturally taken a huge step to be a common part of everybody's lives.

We used to laugh at Moodlers and moodling , but now we have Skyping and Zooming introduced to the ever expanding vocabulary of tech. jargon. As if text speech isn't enough! It drives me crazy! LOL!


That's a phrase I like!  FFS! Oh and another!

'Que le monde est petit!'

Is a phrase that has never been truer. I have been teaching English to children in China regularly, from  here in Russia, also regularly teaching French to my lovely clients in Guisborough in North Yorkshire, U.K., Italian to my student Steve in Ingleby Greenhow, North Yorkshire, U.K.. Who is working with Laura our partner in the city of Milan and yes it's true they are singing from the balconies!
. I have a young student in Germany now learning English with me. Of course I have all ages and levels of students here and especially my classes with OK ENGLISH here in Kostroma. I am starting a new project with students in MOSCOW which is a really exciting new project.This is with a French -partner living in Russia, who was recommended by our friend Conor, an American also living here in Russia, our partner in Italy will soon be working with more of our students . And I regularly hear from my lovely friends in Venezuela. this is alongside the fact that we are always thinking of our  friends and partners in Bourges , France and of course La Coruna in Spain. 

Keep safe and healthy.
A plus
Any enquiries for courses, books or online classes, please get in touch through Facebook, Cafe Pierre Languages.

2020 What will it bring?

2020.  What will it bring?

Well the start of another decade, that's for sure, A lot of decision making and decisions to be made. Travel! for sure, strangely enough I will hopefully be also travelling back to the UK more than I anticipated. I am hoping to be involved with a language school in sunny Scarborough! At least two trips are on the horizon. 

The first pf which will be in May 2020 and then another trip in July. Other travel projects that I would like to make include. a trip to Volgograd, a trip on a ship to Nizhny Novograd on the Volga. And more exploration of the Kostroma Oblast.also more exploration of the Volga if possible. Especially along from Krasny na Volga.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Spirit of the New Year

Meet Spirit, he is a character in my next Children's book. 'Kirill goes to the USA'. In the background of the scene I have painted, El Capitan' a magnificent mountain in New Mexico in the range of the Guadalupe mountains in the South East of New Mexico. This is my first effort using oils and I am delighted with the result. Thank you , yet again to Raisa for my 'Masterclass'. I am already sketching the next image for Spirit and the other characters for the next episode of Kirill the Kostroma Crocodile, as he searches for the truth and his family.

Using oil is a completely different experience from the watercolours that I have been using for my illustrations. The techniques are fascinating and I would like to explore more.

To do more drawing and painting are one of my New year's resolutions. It helps me relax and chill out. I went into the session with a massive headache after the stress of an online English class with a group of 3 x 5 year old Chinese kids and a neighbour who decided to start drilling the moment the class started!

Oh the joy of living in a Kruschovka block of flats!
Paper thin walls and neighbours from Hell!

A start to a decade that I will begin very soon as a retired person ' officially in August 2021. How strange to think that I will be of retirement age anyway!

But then again isn't it what you are supposed to do when you are retired~? Paint , draw, write and do things you never really had time to do before?

Lets see if it happens! I will probably work for the rest of my life! I certainly hope so anyway, at least to the point of doing what I want to do and not what everybody else wants me to do!

Quite apt that I was wearing my Texas t shirt. A visit to the USA that I will never forget, an amazing part of the world!

January is a month that I will visit one of the most famous Russian cities in history.  The city of Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd,
An adventure I am really looking forward to and writing about.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

York St John graduation

Abigail's big moment, I am so proud of her!

Poetry pamphlet information

My first pamphlet of poetry is now available in Saltburn.

At the Saltburn book shop.

24 Milton Street 
Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS12 1DG

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New class information

New English class at Kostroma library. Link to the previous post for more information here


Richmond is one of my favourite places, anywhere in the world. It is in North Yorkshire, England and is another typical market town with its cobbled market square.

The lovely old King's Head Hotel, one of the few places I have lived and worked. A place where I was part of the team catering for the banquet in honour of the King of Norway as he opened the Green Howard's regimental museum opposite the hotel. I was in charge of caviar!

Hidden treasures everywhere in this ancient town

Secret courtyards and alleyways

The magnificent River Swale thundering over the waterfalls below the town.

The former railway station which os now a fantastic cinema and arts centre.

Richmiond Castle, a real castle with towers and dungeons, I have spent hours as a chils and as an adult wandering around its turrets and walls, imagining the enemy below under fire from bows and arrows and crossbows. an adventure playground!


Here are some photos from a trip to Pickering with my two brothers Roy and Gordon. 

A beautiful old Market town in the heart  of North Yorkshire

With traditional old hotels, Inns and pubs

And home to the North Yorkshire Moors railway

Every boy's dream

Even named after me!

This how the evacuees from Teesside would have arrived during the second world war.

Among them my mother and her older brother Arthur

Two brothers reliving the memories

Windswept moors

English conversation
урок английского языка
Wednesdays          по средам
18: 00-20: 00
Start date Wednesday 2nd October
Information and enrolment
Thursday 26th September 18:00-20:00
Дата начала среда 2 октября
Информация и регистрация
Четверг 26 сентября 18: 00-20: 00

Course dates. Wednesdays
October 2nd 9th,16th,23rd,30th.
November 6th, 13th, [20th no class]. , 27th.
December 4th, 11th.
Fee 400₽ per session 

Даты курсов. По средам
2 октября 9, 16, 23, 30.
6, 13 ноября, [20-го класса нет]. 27-го
4 декабря, 11 декабря.
Плата 400₽ за занятие

Monday, August 26, 2019

Edinburgh 1 and 2

My first trip to Scotland this year was to get my visa sorted , but it is the Edinburgh Fringe and I couldn't resist a trip to the theatre! the fringe is something special with an atmosphere unrivalled in any place I have ever visited. Singers, jugglers, fire eaters and acrobats all performing to the backdrop of the sound of bagpipes and this wonderful cosmopolitan city.

Here in the Grass market, a new area of discovery for me, a street artist performs another crazy feat of wonder.

Characters from around the world wander around this amazing city only a 3 hour train journey away from home in North Yorkshire. the Edinburgh fringe is an essential visit to make if you are visiting the UK in the summer. The whole of August sees the city invaded by students and tourists, all having fun and witnesing some of the most innovative and creative music, theatre and art. Along with the Edinburgh tattoo, the military musical and marching phenomenon.

On my second visit to Edinburgh in August 2019, I managed also to explore the city a little more, it is the only way to do it, little by little.
 Bobby of Greyfriars is a famous strory of a loyal little dog, a Skye terrier who guarded his owner's grave for 14 years until he died himself, he is fondly remembered with a statue and a grave for him in the grounds of historic Greyfriers cemetery.

 The festival is spread across the centre of the city and farther afield. There are random stages with excellent  acts available free and hundreds of shows, so plan in advance the choice is unbelievable.
I'll be back next year for sure, I will try to spend a couple of days at least,if I can find a hotel room!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Going home 2

 The cenotaph in Middlesbrough and the gates to Albert park. My adventure playground as a child, we played football, tennis, cricket, we went roller skating, fishing and we rowed boats on the lake, We played in the playgrounds on the slides and swings,we climbed trees, we ran away from the parkie and we had ice creams and ice lollies, it was just perfect and only 5/10 minutes walk from home. I have been jogging around the park early on a morning and a million memories have come flooding back.
 This statue is new to me, it is a statue of Middlesbrough born Stan Hollis a Victoria Cross holder from D. Day.
I like it, he should be remembered.
 Another son of Middlesbrough, this statue is just inside the park. Brian Clough, 'old big head' as my dad used to call him. a prolific goal scorer bor the Boro, Sunderland and England. He went on to be one of the most successful managers in English football with Derby County and Nottingham Forest. without doubt should have been given a chance with England, but it didn't happen.
And the Dorman museum, a wonderful place, with wonderful memories, as a boy I was a member of the museum club on a Saturday morning for a while. I loved it and the displays and I always visit the museum when I can.


Skinningrove, a seaside town in East Cleveland. This place is hidden from the tourists and at first glance, I would imagine people would turn around and head for Runswick Bay or even Whitby further south on the Yorkshire coast.

Wild, the North Sea, this is something that I really miss. The waves beating in onto the beach and the cliffs of the Dinosaur coast as it is also know, this is due to the amount of fossils that turn up when the cliffs subside in the shale.
Skinningrove is still hanging on to its Steel industry, only just at the moment. on the wonderful Cleveland way, a walk down from the cliffs remind  you of its industrial past, I think it is a real treasure.
The fishing boats of North Yorkshire are called cobbles and there is a good stock of crabs and lobsters for the local fishermen. Even Spidercrabs are caught, but then they are sent on to the markets in Madrid and Paris. English restaurants don't know what to do with them and the price is probably better abroad anyway.

Going home

This photo was taken at Gisborough Priory, a landmark in the North Yorkshire market town of Guisborough. One of the few places in which I have lived.

Two images of my university . the University of Teesside. the campus now covers a large part of the centre of Middlesbrough. including the area where I was born and lived for 15 years. it is a wonderful addition to my town and we are very proud of it.

The University is on the site of the former Polytechnic and Constantine college, my mum was a former student.