Posts

Al Yasmina

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I seem to be getting more and more TES messages from teachers who want to teach in the ME. Well, this gives me an excuse for included some old photos of RAK. Dear Mr K, Yes, of course I will help you, as much as I possibly can. In fact, you could call me on SKYPE. You can also e-mail me. No, I do do not know anything about Al Yasmina. Generally speaking, I would want to avoid schools with Arabic names. I am sorry that if that sounds appallingly racist, but Arab-owned schools have a very poor reputation. H owever, let us be positive. The obvious place to start is the school's own website. That will give you some clues about what sort of school it is, how big it is and so on. My guess is that quite a few of your students will not have English as their first language, so obviously there might be some questions related to that. Then you could have a good old rummage around on the Internet, to see if you can find any reviews or anything that anyone has said about Al Yasmina. You could a

Fryer Tuck

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  Christmas has come a bit early this year and my amazing present has arrived: an air fryer. I read about them on Amazon and I saw a couple of videos on YouTube, so of course I wanted to get one, even though they are not made by Bosch. It really does what it is supposed to do and the Philips air fryer produces very hot foot that tastes as though it has been fried, even though it used very little oil or no oil at all. It is easy to use and it also seems to be quite safe, as the outer plastic casing hardly gets hot at all. It is a bit noisy, as the air fryer makes a hum or a buzzing noise, a bit like a hair dryer. But who cares, when you can eat CHIPS that are actually quite healthy, for once?  

A Short Cut from Mushrooms

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Yes, you should be very careful when you pick wild mushrooms, whether in Bulgaria or anywhere else. You should be even more careful when you cook and eat them. They were very tasty, with a lot more flavour than the standard (and rather dull) ones you buy in the shops.  About an hour or so after lunch, I started to have a bit of a tummy ache and then Irena came downstairs and she said that she had been sick. As you can imagine, this was not good news and I started to feel a bit worse. By about five o'clock, I had also started vomiting and Irena was in a very bad way, shaking and hardly able to stand up. The ambulance was pretty quick, considering that it came all of the way from Veliko Tarnovo. The medic who came with the ambulance driver seemed to know his stuff and straight away he gave us both an injection and some horrible black liquid to drink. It mostly seemed to be a mixture of charcoal and water. Irena went to the hospital in the ambulance, while I drove our car, at breaknec

Dear Ryan

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Dear Ryan, Congratulations on the Hangzhou jobs! If it is an American-style school, then I hope that it will pay you both some American-style salaries. Now I am trying to search my memory for all of the things that I wish that I had known BEFORE we went to China... First of all, Mandarin. Yes, Mandarin. You need to be absolutely sure that Mandarin is the language that you (and your children) will come across in China, as there are in fact several (rather different) languages. Cantonese is spoken in Guangzhou and HK, whereas most of mainland China speaks Mandarin. Just to be awkward, the people in Shanghai have their own language. Yes, there are some similarities between these different languages, but you need to be absolutely sure which one you are going to need before you start learning it and you definitely should make a start immediately, as soon as you have finished reading this e-mail! DON'T try to learn all of the characters (there is no alphabet). Mandarin has about

Winter is coming, Part 3

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The woodburner in our sitting room is a ravenous beast, gobbling two huge buckets of logs every twenty-four hours. The good news, I suppose, is that the ash is meant to be very good fertilizer for the garden. We have heavy clay soil, so lots of ash should make things a bit easier next Spring. Was it really a sign that Winter is on its way? Or was it really a last hurrah for Autumn? Well, a few days ago, Irena roped me into another mushroom-hunting expedition, so we set off with our bags and little knives. We collected about 4 kilos of mushrooms and I was delighted with one huge specimen, about the size of a loaf of bread. When I first saw it growing in the field, I thought that it must be a big stone. Most of the mushrooms we collected will be marinated, but some were boiled and then fried for lunch. The secret is to be very careful when collecting your wild mushrooms. Irena always tells me that each year, whole families in Russia are poisoned after eating the wrong species of mushroo

Winter is coming, Part 2

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Maybe it is not too clear in this photo, as the mountain is so far away, but a few days ago Bulgaria's third highest peak was covered in snow. It was a beautiful morning, with blue skies and lots of sunshine, but decidedly chilly. Irena loves collecting wild mushrooms and that is a bit strange, as she is not as keen as I am when it comes to eating them. We had lots of rain yesterday and she found these while taking Tina for a walk.  

Back in Daveri

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What is happening in the UK? Every time I switch on the BBC news, it just seems to be getting worse and worse. The “second wave” is a lot worse than the first one and everybody is getting fed up with lockdowns and more lockdowns. And a vaccine? Next year, perhaps.  Here is a photo of our restored, upgraded and fully-functioning fireplace and you can actually see it in action. Yes, our central heating system is now working properly. The pump comes on automatically, when the water temperature gets to thirty degrees. The bad news? Yes, there is some. The woodburning stove takes absolutely blooming ages to get the whole house warm, but the upside is that then it does stay warm once you have had the heating on for long enough. Although the fireplace does not make lots of nasty smokey smells, it does use an awful lot of wood (and then some more). Even though he did take so many good things with him, Allan did leave behind a big pile of dry wood for us to use and that is very fortunate beca