Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Phantom of the Opera

My name is Shiori Saito. Now,I will tell you about my weekend. Two weeks ago,I went to London on Saturday to watch the musical (The) Phantom of Opera but before going there, I had to book the ticket because it was a very popular musical.

The day before I watched the musical, I tried to book the ticket on the internet. But they'd already finished (selling)tickets on the internet so I had to call them. But of course I'm not good at calling in English,so I asked the teacher, whose name is Ian, to help me. It was awful. I didn't understand almost anything. Since I had this experience, I decided to improve my speaking skills.

Eventually, I had booked my seat which was very good.When I went to the theatre, I had a problem again. I showed my ID card because the man who was (on the phone) to me told me that I have to show my ID number. But when I showed my ID number,the man who was working at the theatre said, "You have to show your plastic card." But unhappily, I didn't bring (it) there. So I had to refund that ticket and then I had to pay with cash. Fortunately, I had enough cash to pay (for) that and that cost was a little bit cheaper than before!

Anyway, the musical was fantastic! Sometimes,it made me sad because the story was not (a) happy ending. But their voices (were) amazing,and (really) attractive but the problem was, it was (a) little bit difficult to understand all of them, because they were singing although that is very good for us to improve our English. So,I would like to see (the musical)again.

I won't write the details because if someone who is reading this blog wants to go to the theatre, it could be boring! Anyway, this was a good experience. I (discovered) that I have to book in advance,otherwise I have to call them.

Shiori - Japan

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

Nightmare Journeys - The Authors

This is my morning class. It's Friday and they have been writing a story about a nightmare journey they have had. The aim of the writing task was to use the travel and transport vocabulary we had been learning this week and also to use past tenses (past simple - past continuous - past perfect simple) and linking words like 'so, but, because, although' etc. In the picture, from left to right, we have: Christina - Shiori - Eduardo - Marta - Jiri - Giacomo. You can read their stories below.

Nightmare Journey l

Hi, I’m Marta, I’m from Spain and I’d like tell you a story about a journey I did some months ago.

After many months working, I decided go to Sicily at Easter to see a friend. It was the second time I (had been) there. I bought a flight to Trapani Airport and I knew my friend (would be) waiting for me there. I remember my flight was early that morning so I left home and arrived at 5.00 a.m at the Airport. At the check–in desk everything was alright and in the passenger control too.

Suddenly, while I was waiting to board I saw (that) the boarding screen was not showing Trapani, it showed Palermo but the flight number was right so I didn’t think I was wrong, I thought possibly the screen was wrong and, in fact, when the flight attendant saw my boarding pass she didn’t tell me anything.

Anyway, the flight was perfect. I slept for one hour but when I arrived and looked through the window I didn’t (recognise) that airport and for some minutes I was afraid so I decided to wait for the plane to land and later ask where I was.

In the airport, while I was waiting for my luggage, I didn’t recognise that place and when I went out I noticed I had never been there before. (At) that moment I called my friend to tell him I was in another airport and he told me “Don’t worry.” because he was coming.

In the end, at the other airport, the flight agents told him my flight (had been) diverted and I (had) arrived at Palermo airport. On the way my friend had to speed on the road to be on time at my new airport.

Later, when I was (at) home I read my email and I had (received) one in which the company told me the flight will be diverted because Trapani Airport is sometimes used by the Italian Army and the plane will land in Palermo airport.

Luckily, everything was fine because my friend lives there but I don’t want to imagine if I had been alone there.

Nightmare Journey lll

Hello, my name is Christina and I’m from Germany. I’m 19 years old and this is one of my nightmare journeys.

I don’t know (exactly) when it happened but I think it’s some months ago, maybe in April. It was a Friday evening, when I was driving to the cinema with my mother. Since I have had my driving license I have always driven the car.

On this evening, it was very dark but it was not very late. We had been talking a lot about different things and had been listening to the music when this terrible accident happened. I love animals and, of course, this is one reason why I’m a vegetarian and don’t want to eat animals anymore. There are some more reasons but they are not so important for this story.

So, while we had been laughing and I didn’t keep my eyes on the road, I saw a cute rabbit on the street. It was only a few metres in front of my car. It was looking at me, but instead of going back to the meadow it hopped to the middle of the street. I will never forget this moment. I didn’t recognize it at first so I couldn’t push the braked to stop the car, so I ran it over. After this awful noise I stopped the car and asked my mother to drive the car. God bless her, she agreed and we changed seats. I was so upset about this accident; it took a few hours to realize what had happened.

The next morning, when I got up my mum was telling the story to my father and he asked me, why we hadn’t brought it home with us. Yes, you can (imagine) my reaction to this. I wasn’t very happy about it, of course.

Nightmare Journey lV

Dear reader, I’m Giacomo Vazzana, a young Italian man at the time of the story I’m going to tell you. This story is about the worst journey in my life.

More or less two months ago, I was driving a little van, and with me there were three other friends. We were bringing a sofa to a homeless person when (ahead of) us we saw the police. Suddenly we decided to stop the van to permit one of us to get out of the vehicle. In fact, it is only for three people.

After that, we restarted and immediately the police stopped us. They ordered us to get out from the vehicle and began a detailed and accurate investigation because they were suspicious about our behaviour, so the policeman asked us “Why did you stop the van and afterwards, restart? Maybe because there was another person with you?” We answered that it was because we heard a knock in the box of the van so we stopped to open the tailgate.

These reasons didn’t convince the policemen who called reinforcements and suddenly another two police-cars arrived. It began to be late, the sun was already gone, it was night and I hadn’t had dinner yet. The police ordered us to follow them to the police station where they could continue the interrogation. So we were escorted (there) as criminals.

On the way to the police station, we agreed a common version of our story. In fact we thought they would perform individual interrogations. In fact, when we arrived only one of us was called by a new policeman. The first thing that my friend said was ”For everything you must ask Giacomo Vazzana, I don’t know nothing!” I thought to myself ‘What beautiful friends I have!’.

I spent a long time explaining to the police our volunteering activity and I gave them a ‘popular name’ who (had) asked us for a collaboration in the past (for example the director of Caritas rather than the bishop of Como), they finally let us go apologizing for the mistake.

On the way back we met the friend who had previously dropped out from the vehicle. He wanted to get in the van, but we were too afraid about the possibility that the police would follow us, so we went home, left the van, took the car and came back to pick up the last friend! At the end of the story, I arrived home after midnight, without having dinner, with a police report and all this for trying to help someone!

Nightmare Journey V

Hi, my name is Shiori and I’m from Yokohama in Japan and this is my nightmare journey story. Almost eight weeks ago, I came to England by plane. This was the second time to come to England because four years ago, I went to Cambridge for three weeks. I took a direct plane which took 12 hours, the route was from Tokyo Narita to London Heathrow but this was the first time that I (had gone) abroad by myself, so I was really nervous.

The night before the journey, I couldn’t sleep because I was worried about my luggage. If I forgot to take something, of course I can’t go back to my home so I would have to wait for luggage to be sent.

When I went to the airport, I found my colleague who wanted to say good-bye to me. We talked for almost thirty minutes and after that I went to the baggage check counter because I was afraid of missing my plane. When I went there, I had got enough time to do everything but I think this is the personality of the Japanese, I was still terribly nervous. Some of my friends said, “You’ve got enough time to check in. Don’t worry.” Now, I agree with them but then I couldn’t hear that!

When I arrived at the baggage check counter, there was a short queue. I thought there (would be) a long queue so I was really surprised and after I passed the check counter the things finished so quickly. I regretted what I did because it was not so difficult.

After finishing all the checks, I got on the plane. My seat was good because it was next to the window, so I thought I could sleep well. But, unfortunately, the person who was sitting next to me was very talkative so I couldn’t sleep well in the plane. But I liked her because she was really kind, but the problem was (that) I was so sleepy, so it was not (a) good situation.

When I arrived at Heathrow Airport, that was the beginning of the nightmare. I had already booked the taxi before I came to England so I got a taxi. After one hour, I didn’t feel well because I hadn’t slept much. (At) first, it was not so bad, I could control myself, but unhappily, it was getting worse (but) I kept silent otherwise I would throw up.

When I arrived at my new host family’s house, I thought I was in emergency, I felt awful. Finally after finishing the tour of our house, I ran to the toilet. Then, I thought after that long journey, I have to sleep at least eight hours if I can. That is my awful, but good, experience.

Nightmare Journey Vl

Hello, My name is Eduardo, I’m from Spain and I’m going to tell you about the worst journey in my life.

My nightmare journey began when I was preparing to come back to Spain from Monterrey airport in Mexico; the story was four years ago. The airport staff said to me that the flight from Monterrey to Madrid was delayed, but they didn’t tell me how long I was going to wait. I thought that it was horrible. None of the staff gave food to anyone or me all night. I think these flights aren’t cheap and they could give something to us in the night.

After I had been waiting all night, more or less eight hours, the plane was ready to fly to Madrid. The delay was because this plane came from Japan to Monterrey and now it was ready to take off to Spain. In the end, I arrived in Spain after eight hours waiting in the airport and twelve hours flying, for me this flight was the longest in my life.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Eastbourne Air Show 2011

Eastbourne is a town just along the coast from Hastings and every year they have an air show which is quite spectacular. The main attraction for most people is the RAF display team called The Red Arrows but there are lots of other planes to entertain the crowds, as you can see from this YouTube video.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Milestone

In the days when people travelled on foot or on horseback or in carriages pulled by horses, there were stones at the side of the road on which was carved the number of miles to the next town or city i.e. London 56 miles - Hastings 24 miles. These were called 'milestones'. Today, we don't use these stones (although you can still find some of them if you look carefully) but we continue to use the word. The meaning has changed now to mean an important event in the development of something (see the OALD dictionary entry below). Today we have reached the figure of 20000 unique visitors to our blog so you could say it was a milestone.

Milestone (n)
1 a very important stage or event in the development of something
This voyage marked an important milestone in the history of exploration.Today we have passed another milestone on the road towards peace.2 a stone by the side of a road that shows how far it is to the next town and to other places

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Mogwai in Bexhill

To begin (with,) it’s been a long time since I wanted to see Mogwai live. They are one of my favorite bands and I discovered them when I was 18. So when I learnt that they were going to play in Bexhill, ten minutes by train from Hastings, I got my ticket immediately!

They are one of the most influential and famous bands of the post rock scene; real seekers of all kinds of sounds, their music is almost only instrumental. There are five of them in total, with three guitars, bass and drums, plus violin who was a guest invited for the show.

The show usually begins with only a guitar line which is completed with lots of different sounds following the variations of the theme. Like at the bright dawn until the end of the day, by way of a huge storm. They make it full of spirit and energy, which takes you into a dream.

So when I saw them in the De La Warr Pavilion, which is a quite small area, it was absolutely brilliant, their show was awesome. I could feel their music’s effects and distortions closer, I was for an instant stuck in the sound!

The De La Warr Pavilion was the perfect place to see Mogwai. Moreover there is a wonderful terrace facing the sea and on the roof we can listen to music every week-end.

Emilie - France

Friday, 5 August 2011

First Certificate in English - Exam Results

In June, five of our students sat a Cambridge exam and we are very pleased to announce the results which have recently been sent to us.

Andrea from Switzerland obtained a grade B1 (PET) - congratulations to you Andrea!

Debbie, who is also from Switzerland, joined the exam course a little bit late but she worked hard and passed with a grade C (FCE) - well done!

And from South Korea - Ji Yoon, Ji Eun and Myung Seon who all passed with grade C (FCE) - congratulations to you too.

Congratulations again from everyone at HELC.

What Students Think of HELC

When students leave HELC, we ask them to complete a feedback form where they can comment on the school, the teachers, their host families and anything else they want to comment on. Many students just tick the box 'Satisfied' and don't make a comment but some students have taken the time to write something. Here is a selection of comments from our ex-students.

'I have nothing but compliments for HELC. The fact that (it) is a small school with not many students and HELC's efforts to make everybody know each other, with the little tour on the first day and also the Welcome Party, creates a friendly ambient (ambience). I'm going to miss being here. The weeks passed so fast.'
Carmen from Spain

'HELC is a fantastic school that's why I'm back here and also my boyfriend came here four months ago. I'm going to miss it but I'm sure that I'm going to be back one day.'
Elisabetta - Italy

'I liked the school I'm very surprised because the English people are very funny and nice people.'
Virginie - France

'The school is perfect to learn English with a great atmosphere.'
Miguel - Spain

'The staff in this school is very friendly and they have not problem with help to anyone. It is pity because I could not stay more weeks.'
Eva - Czech Republic

'In Hastings I have had one of the best experiences of my life. I liked very much the school and the activities that Debbie prepares. We have a lot of information and a lot of things to do so I have never been bored. Since I came here to improve my speaking, I am happy because the classes are focussed on speaking.' Marina - Spain

'This is my second time at HELC and again I had a wonderful time.'
Petr - Czech Republic

'HELC has got great staffs, students and education system. I really enjoyed my stay here! Thank you very much! I'm thinking of coming back here from this fall (autumn). See you around!'
Kazunori - Japan

'Not used to this kind of trip, I had a lot of apprehension at first, but the atmosphere of the school and the teachers' friendliness makes it very reassuring and comfortable.'
Marc - France

'This school is very friendly and good to study because we use only English and the class is very small.'
Naoko - Japan

'It's the best school I've ever been (to). I've spent my time here really happy, it has been a wonderful experience, which I love the most is your friendliness.'
Andrea - Spain

'School staff was very friendly and I enjoyed my time in school. Hastings is quiet (quite) okay, in the surrounding area is a lot to explore.'
Sonja - Switzerland

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Takako Travels to Ireland

Have you been to Ireland? If you haven’t, you should go! Last week, I went to Ireland by myself. I’ve never been there before, but I’ve been attracted by Ireland. I went to Dublin and (to the) south of Ireland called (the) Dingle Peninsula.

In Dublin, I visited some cathedrals. In one of them, there was an Irish music concert. It was great and I was fascinated by the music during the concert. At another one, I went into the crypt and shook hands with a mummy! Even though I had a strange feeling, I was told I would be lucky, so I’m waiting to win (the) lottery someday! I also went to pubs and enjoyed listening to Irish music and drinking. I didn’t use to like Guinness, but suddenly I thought Guinness was Irish beer and (so) it must be good. So I tried (it) twice and guess what!! I still don’t like it!

Although I enjoyed (myself) in Dublin, It was almost (the) same as I had expected. But (the) Dingle Peninsula was absolutely fantastic! Despite (being) (a) small town, it has (a) great atmosphere, beautiful mountains and islands. I planned to take a ferry (to an island) but unfortunately the weather wasn’t good and the sea was rough. The ferry was cancelled. So I called a taxi driver who had driven (me) from my hostel to the town centre and asked (him) to drive (me) around (the) Dingle Peninsula. He accepted. Not only (did) he drive but (he) also brought me to some heritage (places) and explained the stories. The nature was awesome! It was so huge and (so) green. I was very impressed and can’t forget the feeling still now.

I met some Irish (people) in pubs, hostels and (on) the train from Dublin to Dingle. They are all kind and open-minded. I don’t know whether I was just lucky or (if it was the) Irish personality, but one of the reasons why I could (was able to) enjoy (my journey) and travel safely was that I met them. In my case, I feel like going back to some places where I’ve been to because of the people whom I met there. So now I really would like to go back to Ireland again.

After travelling in Ireland on my own, I feel I’m stronger than before. In addition, I fell in love with travelling as a backpacker!! I will plan another trip soon!!

Takako - Japan

Writing about Sport

My class is working at Pre-intermediate level (3) and the topic of the lesson was sport so after doing some vocabulary work and studying a bit of grammar we went into the computer room and everyone typed up a short article about a 'sport' from their country. Personally, I think I would prefer to do the 'plum dumpling eating' to 'running with the bulls', but my favourite one is definitely 'Sand Racing' in Saudi Arabia. I hope you enjoy reading the articles below, don't forget to vote [ funny - interesting - cool ] if you enjoyed reading it.

Here is a short video of a sport from a part of England called 'Gloucestershire' where they make cheese.


Plum Dumpling Eating in the Czech Republic

In (the) Czech Republic (there) are two most important sports. Football and ice-hockey. Many people discuss this in the pub, at work, at home, everywhere. We say: “Every man can be (the trainer) of (a) football team”.

Football fans support their local team and in (at) the same time there are two groups - the Slavian fans and Spartanian fans. Sparta and Slavia are (the) two oldest and most famous clubs in (the) Czech Republic. When Sparta and Slavia play we call it (a) derby. It the same like (as) El Classico in Spain.

When (the) Czech national team play in (the) European or World cup people go to the square and watch the game on the big TV together. They paint (the) national colours to (on their) faces and they have national flags. A lot of people meet in pubs too.

This (is the) same when (it) is (the) World Cup in ice-hockey. For example, last year (the) Czech national team won (the) Championship and in the final (they) won against (the) Russian team. It was not expected. Many people celebrated the gold medal in the streets and squares and in pubs to (until) late (at) night.

I would (also) like write about a one special sport. It is eating sweet plum dumplings. This famous competition is in (a) small village on (in) the eastern part of Moravia called Vizovice. Moravia is (a) department on (in) the east (of the) Czech Republic. The winner on (of) this sport is the man or woman who eats more (the most) dumplings. I think that all (the) competitors have stomach-ache (the) next day.
Jan – Czech Republic

Tamatori in Japan

It is the Japanese traditional festival. (which is called) Tamatori. This festival takes (place) on January 1st every year in the shrine.
The people taking part in it run away (up) to the top of the shrine to get a ball,
I think they wear (clothes called) ‘Fundoshi’.

The person can became happy in this year if they get the ball but this festival is so dangerous because they (really) want to get it, they run so fast and attack people and many people break their bones.

I haven’t seen it, I have (only) watched it on TV. When I watch it on TV (it) is fun, but I don’t like it because fortune (says) I must get myself to do (make an) effort.
Kanako - Japan

San Fermin - Running of the Bulls

I’m going to write about a very famous party in my country. The party’s name is San Fermin, this event is known around the world. San Fermin is celebrated all the years (every year) in Pamplona, (on the) 6th of July. Pamplona is a small city in the north of Spain.

The party lasts for seven intense days, when the people enjoy the party and have a very good time. The most important event in this party is the Encierro. People from all the world go to Pamplona for(to) participate in it. In the Encierro the people must run in front of the bulls, it is very dangerous because the bulls have got big horns and also the streets are very thin (narrow) and there are a lot of people running.

In order to run, (it is) only necessary that the runners are on foot and that they wear good trainers and clothes for run (running). The typical clothes in San Fermin is a (are) white trousers, (a) white T-shirt and (a) white and red handkerchief around the neck.

I (usually) see (watch) the Encierro every year on the television because if you (would) like (to) see the Encierro from (a) balcony you’ll need a lot of money. But I was very fortunate because five years ago I could (was able to) see (watch) the Encierro on the (a) balcony, for me (it) was a great experience and I have never forgotten it.

I think that the San Fermin is a very good tradition, and it must never disappear.
Idoya - Spain

Tomatina in Spain

Tomatina is an unusual party in a town called Bunol, in Valencia, in which the participants throw tomatoes at each other, the party is in the streets of the town and most of the population from the town go. On this day, there are in the centre of the town some trucks full of tomatoes and the people can take them free. At the end of the party everyone can wash in some public fountains. It’s on the last Wednesday of August each year. I’ve never been to the party, but I would like to go some year.
Jesus - Spain

Ice Hockey in the Czech Republic

The most interesting sport in (the) Czech Republic is ice hockey, which is played in the stadium. Six people play and five of them change in the game. Czech people are good at this sport. We won the Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998. (The) Czech team won (the) national championship 12 times.

The most famous ice hockey player is Jaromir Jagr. He is 40 years old and he comes from Kladno. He (has) played in NHL (for) many years and he played (for) two years in Russia. This year he went to NHL again. He wants to stay (for) one or two years.

When (the) national championship happens, many people in my country sit before (in front of the) TV and hope we will win. When we win, we celebrate our triumph on (in) the square in Prague. It is (a) big celebration. When we lose, we are sad and we ask where is the mistake?

Jaromir Jagr says, that our ice hockey is not so good today. We have to rear young players but our team hasn’t (doesn't have enough) money for this and it is our problem. We have to find sponsors. If we can’t rear young players, it will be (a) problem in the future for us. I hope our ice hockey will go up and not down.
Alena – Czech Republic

Baseball in Korea

I think Korea’s most interesting sport is baseball. There are seven Korean baseball teams and the teams are professional players.

Everyday except Monday they have competitions and (the) baseball place is (called a) stadium. Every year April until October is (the) baseball period (season). Winner (The winning) team is decided on (in) October. (it) depends on (the) winning average..

Baseball is a very exciting (game) because nobody knows (the) winning team and (the) people who prefer (a) baseball team is (are) very different. This depends on (their) region. For example, Busan people like (the) Lotte team but Incheon people like (the) SK team. It’s (They are) very different, this is because each team has its own song (which) is very interesting and very strong (and when the) people (are) shouting (it) is really exciting! I have never seen it (one) yet but I really want to see (a) baseball competition.
Da Hyeon – S. Korea