18 Jul

The Flying Legends

A couple of weekends ago, I was at the Flying Legends Air Show at IWM Duxford, as one of the lucky guests of Brémont, the amazing British watch company. It was my second time there, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Duxford airfield is part of the Imperial War Museum and, on top of very interesting displays around various WW2 machines, houses many fantastic airplanes, as you can see from the pictures.

From a piece of the original Wright Flyer to the supersonic American SR-71 Blackbird, via the fastest ever Concorde and the Avro Vulcan bomber, they are all there, with some of them ‘open to the public’. I found it fascinating to spend my morning aboard some of those marvels of engineering, and to see how air travel has changed over the years. And let me tell you that it isn’t necessarily for the better as far as comfort is concerned! But I guess modern planes are more economical, faster and safer, so you have to be grateful for that.

After my little museum visit, it was time to settle in the VIP lounge to admire the display from the Red Arrows, the British equivalent of ‘la Patrouille de France’ (the “French Patrol’). Impressive as that was, my heart was racing a little bit faster when the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Hawkers and other Corsairs took flight. You have to admire the dedication of the men and women who keep those legends flying, for our pleasure. I actually found it quite emotional, to tell the truth.

But nothing could reach the beauty, elegance and sheer presence of the de Havilland Comet, the famous DH-88, which won the England to Australia race in 1934, suffered untold accidents, but has been lovingly restored to fly again… Its elegant lines, its rutilant colour and the noise of its finely tuned engines, it was all too amazing for words!

So thank you to all the good people of Bremont for allowing me to spend such a splendid Sunday. I hope to be back next year!



Il y a quinze jours, j’étais au meeting aériens des Flying Legends à IWM Duxford, en tant qu’invité privilégié de Brémont, l’extraordinaire horloger britannique. C’était la deuxième fois que j’y allais, et je m’y suis beaucoup amusé! L’aérodrome de Duxfield fait partie du Musée Impérial de la Guerre, qui, en plus des expositions intéressantes autour des machines de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale, abrite beaucoup d’avions fantastiques, comme vous pouvez le voir sur les images.

D’un morceau du Flyer des Frères Wright au jet supersonique américain SR-71 Blackbird, en passant par le Concorde le plus rapide de tous et le bombardier Avro Vulcain, ils sont tous là, et quelques uns sont ‘ouverts au public’. J’ai trouvé ça fascinant, de passer ma matinée à bord de ces merveilles d’ingénierie, et de voir comment le voyage en avion a changé au fil des ans. Et je dois vous dire que ça n’est pas nécessairement pour le mieux, en ce qui concerne le confort! Mais j’imagine que les avions modernes sont plus économiques, rapides et sûrs, alors on doit bien en être reconnaissant.

Après ma petite visite au musée, il fit temps de m’installer au salon VIP pour admirer le passage des Red Arrows (les ‘Flèches Rouges), l’équivalent britannique de la Patrouille de France. Aussi impressionnant que ce fut, mon coeur battit un peu plus fort quand les Spitfires, Hurricanes, Hawkers et autres Corsaires quittèrent le tarmac. Il nous faut admirer la persévérance des ces hommes et de ces femmes qui gardent ces avions en l’air, pour notre plaisir. J’ai même été très ému, pour dire la vérité.

Mais rien ne put atteindre la beauté, l’élégance et l’exceptionnelle présence du de Havilland Comet, le fameux DH-88, qui a gagné la course Angleterre-Australie en 1934, et souffrit de nombreux accidents avant d’être réparé avec soin pour s’envoler à nouveau… Ses lignes élégantes, sa couleur rutilante et le son de ses moteurs bien réglés, tout était trop beau pour être décrit!

Alors merci à Bremont pour m’avoir permis de passer un si beau dimanche. J’espère être de retour l’an prochain!

07 Oct

Another guest!

Dear friends and readers, we have another guest on the blog. I asked the very clever, über tech-savvy and all-round fab man that is Rob to tell us about his experiences as a language learner, and after you read his wonderful piece, you will want to watch his vlog or contact him on Twitter… Here he is :


Being asked to write a blog as a non-blogger is a little difficult. Yes I create video content but it’s mainly an escape from my bad spelling and punctuation, plus it also enables me to ramble. The written word is something I have always loved but never been too eloquent with.

So enough of the excuses, I suppose I should get down to my story. Who am I? Well my name is Rob, and I am a self confessed language learner. I have been learning French now for over 2 years and although I am not yet to a level that I could call fluent, I am quietly confident that if dropped into the middle of a French speaking nation I could make myself understood.

My love of language started as a small child, one of my first memories of being fascinated with language was sitting in the Happy Eater (a very cheap 80s restaurant in the UK) and pretending to speak in a foreign tongue. This is something that carried through my childhood and I remember loving to listen to languages I couldn’t understand although I didn’t really know why.

Then I started high school at 12, and started having German lessons. Unfortunately this is where my story takes a dive, as because of low self image and lack of self belief, I thought, and had been told, that I was pretty bad at English, and so when difficulty hit I was never one to push through. I just gave up.

Now my English was always on the low side, the education system at that time in the UK taught nothing of basic grammar and then when grammar was discussed in English it was something I always thought was well over my head.

This all worked against me when it came to learning German! When you are taught a language, things have to be explained and those things are normally explained via grammar terms. So I fell right back into the black hole of “I don’t understand because I am stupid”. Truly believing I would never understand I started to flounder and unfortunately I missed out on a great opportunity to learn German.

So what happened? What changed? Well I grew up. I realised the things I believed about myself were not true and, because I am actually quite a logical person I reasoned that I could actually do it and would like to… So after a few dips into other things like BSL, Greek and Hebrew I finally took up the challenge of French.

Other than being able to count to 10, I had no knowledge really of French, but I started out on the intrepid adventure! 2 years later I have learned more than French, not only did I get a stronger base in the dreaded grammar, I actually found that it was one of the most fascinating things about the language learning process.

So what are my reasons for learning? If you follow anyone with an interest in language learning or someone who has learnt one or more languages, they will tell you that motivation and persistence is what makes your language learning successful, and I would have to agree. My motivation started as the dislike of the apathy for language that most English speakers have. There is a very big case of “well, the world speaks English, so why should I learn x”. This ignorance really saddens me and so what’s the best way to do something about that? Well it’s to do something about it yourself.

After that initial feeling, I love learning about cultures, I love the fun of idioms and grammar. I love food, I also love realising why people who have learnt English sometimes say things in what seems to be a strange way. Using one’s own grammar structures in a new language always brings a smile to my face and really shows how the brain is hardwired in its native tongue.

Language learning is part of my soul now, I have big plans to learn as many as I can for as long as I can – I’m not looking to become the best polyglot on the planet, but I am looking to grow in knowledge and understanding of people and cultures and to hopefully inspire people into learning new languages by showing them that if I can do it, anyone can.

We live in a vastly colourful world of expression, through our advanced tool of language. And what an amazing place to explore!

09 Sep

The story of Arnaud

Dear friends and readers,

What a treat!! I have the privilege of featuring as a guest in our friend Leila’s blog. Known on the Web as A Polyglot Mum, she is a language lover extraordinaire and a student of French and Spanish, on top of being a mum of 2!

You can read it all here.

Please, visit A Polyglot Mum’s Twitter and Facebook page and give them a follow and a like.

Happy reading!


Chers amis et lecteurs,

Quelle chance!! J’ai le privilège d’être l’invité d’honneur sur le blog de notre amie Leila. Connue sous le nom de A Polyglot Mum, elle adore les langues et apprend le français et l’espagnol, en plus d’être la maman de 2 bambins!

Vous pouvez lire le blog ici.

Et s’il vous plait, rendez visite à la page de A Polyglot mum sur Twitter et Facebook, et suivez-la donnez-lui un ‘Like’.

Bonne lecture!