Learning English in the North of England
It just might surprise you!
Take a look at life in a Yorkshire village
Our blog about Fleetham Lodge gives you a picture of life at the Lodge and in the surrounding area. You can find out the latest about courses here and we hope that by following the story of Fleetham Lodge as it unfolds, you will be encouraged to come and study here with us.
We hope that you will enjoy the descriptions and be inspired to learn English in North Yorkshire and take a total immersion English course here with us.
The Great Floods
The Great Floods
You may have seen on the news that the UK was hit by heavy storms at the beginning of 2014 (in fact it all began prior to Christmas 2013). Thankfully, although we had a great deal of rain, there was no flooding in our region.
Unusually we had no snow this year and very little frost and ice - it has been unusually mild. Having said that, we did encounter snow when we went out for the day into the Yorkshire Dales - however we did go to the very highest point - so it is understandable.
The first English course here was at the beginning of February and was an IELTS Intensive Workshop.
We worked tirelessly for around 6 hours each day making sure that each part of the test was practised each day as well as extra writing. It was lovely to sit by the wood burning stove working together.
When the working/studying day had ended it was good to sit, eat and chat - really great for fluency.
We managed to get out in the middle of the week to walk around the town and have a traditional English afternoon tea.
Then on the Saturday after going through the writing we headed off for the day. All the IELTS Immersion have one day of site-seeing after all siting for 6 hours a day is not so conducive to health and it would be a pity to come all this way and not see anything!!
Our first stop was the amazing Bowes Museum. This is a wonderful place - a French Chateau in the middle of the English countryside and not only that, it has a wonderful history and an incredible history - connected to the late mother of our Queen.
After that we drove to the highest pub in the UK to have lunch - the Tan Hill Inn.
The weather got colder as we drove and soon it was snowing. There was a little snow on the ground as well - this is the only snow we have seen all of the winter.
7 Mar 2014 19:07
The Diamond Jubilee!!
This year we have another great celebration (as well as the Olympics) as a nation, the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen Elizabeth.
All across the country there were street parties, barbecues, picnics and other celebrations. For a whole weekend (we had extra holidays) everybody forgot their troubles and enjoyed the event.
A Jubilee outdoor concert - my daughters' school
Here at Kirkby Fleetham we had two village events. A special dinner at the pub where everyone wore red, white and blue and then a village picnic on the green on the Monday afternoon.
The Jubilee Dinner!
Even though the weather was mixed over the weekend (the Saturday River Pageant in London was a washout but people braved the rain and joined in!! REal true grit!) we had a good time and marked this important occasion.
The picnic on the village green
we had a competition for the poshest picnic!
It was a great turnout and the weather was kind!!
So to experience all of these kind of events as part of your English course think about coming and staying here to study. I don't know anybody who offers the same range of experience and chances to use your English as we do here at Fleetham Lodge. Will I see you here soon?
11 Jun 2012 13:14
English immersion - farm visits and supermarkets!
After the amazing March weather we were hoping for a bright, sunny Easter but it was not to be. April came with lots of 'April showers', however it didn't stop us from getting out and about with our next group from Holland. Here expertise ranged from food technology, through finance to agriculture so there was activity and content to suit everyone.
One of the classroom activities which I like to do at the beginning and end of the programme is to get everybody to make a short presentation about their work. Usually at the beginning this is a way of introducing oneself and it is quite informal. However, at the end of the programme it is a more formal affair and everybody prepares a short talk about some aspect of their job (or sometimes it's a hobby or interest) and then makes a presentation to the group.
Ton tells us all about the Dairy Cow
Charles has a go at explaining Economics
Given the mix of the April group our lessons included a diverse selection of language and vocabulary from business language and agriculture to food. We also spent time every day on improving speaking and listening skills and of course some grammar too!
One great exercise given the group was a series of activities in a local town. They each had 3 tasks to perform in the town centre from finding out the price of a 2-night stay in a local hotel, to finding out opening times of a tourist attraction. One student even had to buy a specific type of coffee! All of these tasks were done individually and with the actual people who were working in these shops and organisations. This is one great advantage of being in a small place as my colleague who set up the exercise was able to prepare this activity with the various people and the exercise was really authentic yet not too scary.
We also visited the brewery for a fascinating tour - we almost got swept away by the rain on the way! We went to a local organic farm - it was lambing time so we learnt a lot of up-to-date information about this really important period in the farming calendar
Mother and babies
We also visited supermarkets with the food technology students looking at how things are displayed, how the produce looks, comparing prices etc.. Who could have thought that a supermarket visit could be interesting?
Although many of the visits and activities are related to work or interests some are also connected with local history and culture. Places we often like to visit are York, Durham and the dales and moors all of which are within 30 minutes.
The Shambles in York with my daughter & Francesco from Italy
The seaside is often a favourite visit too and only 1 hour away. Whitby is especially interesting and a great place to get fish & chips!
As the pub (although not as much as feature of British life as in the past) is something that all our students want to experience and so inevitably we will find ourselves on at least one evening in a pub (our own village one is a great place to relax and meet English people). It is often a good way to spend the final evening before leaving and whether summer or winter pubs always have a welcoming feel - by the open fire or outside in the beer garden.
In the pub again!
So it's goodbye to another great group of students and now we await the next. One more then a break and after that the summer will soon be here and the long evenings when so much more can be packed into a day.
So if you want to be part of the Fleetham Lodge Experience and really perfect your English skills in this beautiful corner of the UK then contact me and we'll make it happen!!
7 May 2012 15:00
A Great Example of a Fleetham Lodge Immersion programme
I spent 3 weeks in March with a young product design student from France. This was both a challenging and exciting programme for me to out together. The English language side was no problem but what could I include in the programme that was related to the field of product design?
Victoire and Berni
We are blessed here (this is true of most places in the UK) to have access to several galleries, museums and other places of cultural and historic interest so finding art works to explore is not difficult - what to include?
The Angel of the North
The Angel up close!
In the end we included visits to The Angel of the North (famous Antony Gormley Sculpture), a new installation on the river Tyne - The Flow, a visit to the Baltic Art Gallery (which held this year's Turner Prize exhibition) - a day with a professional photographer and lots of discussions on design lectures in our lessons.
The Flow in the River Tyne
For general English there were films to watch and discuss, TV programmes which yielded lots of vocabulary and new language and time spent with other non-teacher native speakers to have real-life speaking and listening practice. These can sometimes be scary moments but always a great test of ability and you only need a little confidence to begin.
In fact this programme was everything that a Fleetham Lodge Immersion English programme is - a combination of great English teaching, useful and interesting visits and activities, time spent simply immersing your self in the language around you and absorbing this almost effortlessly and as many opportunities to meet and speak with other people as possible!
Newcastle quayside - a fun run was in progress
There is so much value on offer that it will make your head spin - I know it does this to me!! But, you can be assured that you WILL make great progress and you WILL have a great time and YOU will be amazed and what you are able to do very quickly.
A local event - a chance to meet people & use your English!
3 Apr 2012 12:07
Winter's last blast!
February saw our second student of 2012 - Michael and lots of work on the language of meetings and business. Our mornings were spent cosy by the Aga which was the warmest place in the house but we braved the elements in the afternoons for visits to York, Bowes, Rievaulx, The Dales and Moors and enjoyed a tour of a local Brewery - complete with a tasting session!
Here we are on the top of the Yorkshire Moors.
A snowy day in early February
Looking at the ceramics collection at Bowes Museum
Dinner in the village pub, me Michael & Horst
Soon after we said goodbye to Michael, March was upon us and oh what a change to the weather!
'In like a lion out like a lamb' is often a phrase used to describe the month of March but this year we seem to have skipped the end of winter and spring too and jumped straight to summer!
The big problem when freak weather like this happens is that we may just have had all the summer we are getting for the year!!
February and March were busy months here at Fleetham Lodge with five weeks devoted to students and all including challenging content as well as interesting visits to prepare.
More of this in the next instalment!!
6 Mar 2012 13:11
New Year - New Promise!
Our first group of 2012 arrived promptly on January 23rd.
We collected them at the airport (just 30 minutes away and such a small airport that it only takes 15 minutes to get through passports and baggage) without any hitches. The only real problem with this little airport is that there aren't many flights but if you can get to Amsterdam you can fly here instead of London so much easier!!
We arrived back at the house in the dark - always a feature of winter programmes - you have to wait until the next morning to see where you are!! This place is really dark at night! There are no street lights so the only light is from the moon and stars (which sometimes can be surprisingly bright!). We had a roaring fire going so as soon as everybody had unpacked we met for tea and cake by the fire. Very cosy and very English I think :-)
In our lessons we concentrated on fluency practice - trying to get lots of speaking practice and a little grammar to tidy up mistakes and misconceptions.
Dinner in a traditional pub before going to the Panto
As speaking is an important feature of all Fleetham Lodge programmes we spent a lot of time in discussion and engaging in speaking games as well to make sure that everybody had the chance to speak as much as possible. As well as these formal speaking exercises there were other opportunities for speaking, chatting at dinner or by the fire and also going out and getting the chance to speak to other people too!
Coming in January has another advantage too - it is the Panto season! Pantos are very traditional in the UK around Christmas and the New Year. They re a particular kind of theatre, very old where the actors take a traditional fairy story (such as Snow White or Cinderella) and perform it i a very particular way. Men take female parts and women take male parts and there is a lit of political commentary (in jokes) and other news commentary this can be local and/or national. We went to York for a performance of Swiss Family Robinson.
On our Fleetham Lodge English programmes we try to include a visit to someone who is connected with the profession or interests of our students. Our visit during this programme was to a local farm (we had students involved in agriculture) other visits have included local food producers, accountants, people involved in renewable energy, designers and photographers and those in various types of business. The value of these visits is the chance to speak to someone on your profession about the work that you do.
Celebrating the end of the course in the local village pub
So January was the start of a very busy few weeks here at Fleetham Lodge!!
31 Jan 2012 19:02
The Days draw in!
October and early November were very kind to us and we almost forgot that it was getting on for winter. As the past two years had been very cold we were bracing ourselves for another cold spell but this year the weather was kind to us and apart form one or two days of snow and cold we didn't see much of winter.
Singing Christmas Carols
There were no students in December (a pity as there are things to see and do around this time) but there were activities around for Christmas and always lots of other things to catch up on and prepare for the festive season as we often call the period around Christmas time.
In the village we always have a 'Santa Special' when we create a grotto on the back of a trailer, load it with festive lights and tinsel and loud Christmas music and then drag it around the village giving out sweets to the children and Christmas cheer to other local residents. It is one of the village highlights of the year and everybody comes out to see the procession. We also collect money which we use to provide the classes in our summer Feast for all the local children to enter (these are craft, baking and other fun items that the children make and they can win prizes).
Dinner on Christmas Eve
The days around Christmas were fairly quiet for us after last year where we had 22 people for lunch. It was just the close family, only 7, with a larger party on December 27th. Still we did all the traditional things - stockings, Christmas trees, traditional Christmas lunch, some games and activities, carol singing and a fantastic Boxing Day walk in the Yorkshire Dales ending up at the highest pub in England by a roaring fire!
New Year's Eve was rather quiet too with just four for a very special dinner and then waiting to see the New Year in. Again there is a tradition - one of the household (usually a male who has dark hair) must go outside just before clocks chime with a piece of coal. At the stroke of midnight he is admitted to the house and given a glass of whisky! This is to bring the New Year and all its luck into the house!
It is good to keep these little traditions going it connects us with the past and gives a focus to our lives in small but meaningful ways!
So, after a lovely break we will be preparing for our next group in the middle of January.
29 Dec 2011 00:00
What a year it's been!
Our wedding of the year! Such an amazing day!
Not William and Kate's, but our very own!!
As well as several groups of students, we have hosted a very BIG event this year - the wedding of our eldest daughter. As you can imagine this has taken a few months of preparation and now that the day, beautiful as it was, is over we are feeling saddened but also energised about the next groups of students!
So a quick look at some of the highlights in spring and summer
Our students in April and May had the great surprise of some incredible weather! April particularly was like the middle of summer and so we were able to take coffee breaks outside in the sun, go for walks and play tennis!
We had a sales manager, a finance manager, an accountant, a doctor or two and a group of food designers all of whom studied hard and enjoyed the country solitude and the chance to use their English on the visits and social activities we arranged.
Whitby - a favourite place of all our students
Visiting a micro brewery and interviewing the brewer
Looking for Dracula - Whitby is mentioned in the story
Sampling the beer from the brewery!
Interviewing a local cheesemaker
A relaxing dinner with local friends after a hard day's study!
The end of April saw the big event of the UK year the wedding of Kate and William. To celebrate this we had a village dinner and dance with the wedding theme. This was a great success and our German student Martina who was with us for the week of this event managed to get herself interviewed by a local journalist and we had a photo in the local newspaper!
Third down from the top left; me, Martina and our group!
So in one year we've had students on stage at a local theatre and now a local celebrity in the society column! Not bad!
Life is certainly never dull here on a course at Fleetham Lodge.
The beauty of these events is that you are in a position where you have to talk to lots of people in English and without preparation so great practice!
Berni, Martina and Amanda
Martina, the Royal couple and Berni
Traditional Scottish formal dress
More unexpected guests - Prince Philip and the Duchess of Cornwall - of course!
The weather sadly changed after a glorious spring and our poor summer visitors had to put up with a somewhat more traditional English summer. Still that didn't deter us and we included a visit to Whitby for traditional fish and chips and also a day at the Yorkshire Show. This is a big agricultural event held in July every year.
Friends from the village with their prize-winning pig!
Looking at the prize-winning sheep
From August all attention was on the wedding so Fleetham Lodge was full of people coming and going to prepare. A marquee went up on the front lawn and then preparations began. This was my eldest daughter Madeline so a first experience for me but the buzz of the not insignificant preparations made the whole period before the wedding a time of great happiness and fun.
A blank canvas
Coloured balls from China!
The evening before everything is transformed and ready
A cup of tea is essential at any English event!
The BIG Day arrived and everything was ready. Now all we needed was to fill the space with friends and family. The weather was a little unkind and we had some rain at the beginning of the proceedings but not enough to dampen spirits or spoil what turned out to be a wildly emotional day! Everybody cried and everybody laughed and everybody had a great time.
The ceremony was non-traditional ( the legal part at the registry office was done earlier in the week and also with some pomp and celebration) with an exchange of vows and then readings of poems and other pieces of literature (some written specially) by family and friends to mark the occasion. It ended with a beautiful song sung by the youngest sister.
We then made our way into the marquee for celebration, lunch, cocktails and dancing well into the night!
Berni reading a poem
Guests in the garden
The Happy Couple
Some of the poems were very funny!
Relaxing in the evening glow
Lighting candles on the pond
And even though this was very much a personal and non-traditional wedding, some traditions just have to be included!
Lots of confetti!
Making a noisy escape from the wedding ceremony!
and Colourful Bridesmaids
Wedding Cake (s)!
Funny, emotional and heartfelt speeches!
So now we're done and can again focus on YOU our amazing students who come here to stay with us, improve and develop their English skills and experience Fleetham life!
As autumn comes upon us with it's wonderful colours, mellow days and crisp mornings I can't imagine a better time to experience the glorious countryside of England and get that immersion in the language that will really give your English a great boost!
Choose from one of our weekend courses below or come alone, with friends or colleagues (we have 4 rooms). Stay for a week or a fortnight - it will be an experience in learning English like you've never had before!
Courses this autumn:
- IELTS Intensive weekend course
- English for work intensive weekend course
- Teacher Professional development workshop
22 Sep 2011 17:18
2011 has been busy so far!!
Happy New Year 2011
January 2nd saw the arrival of 6 teachers for our second teacher workshop. Everybody arrived on a cold winter day for a week of sharing teaching ideas and experience, learning new techniques and another look at the Bronte sisters and their work.
As well as full days exploring the use of technology in the classroom, looking at techniques for teaching language skills etc.. we also managed to have a great 12th night celebration together with a Mummers play and lots of parlour games.
Freezing on Haworth Moor!
We visited the Bronte museum and watched films of their great stories. We packed a month of study into a week laughed a lot and really enjoyed each other's company.
The icing on the cake was the day it snowed! For our teachers from Brazil and Greece this was very exciting and the morning session was all but abandoned.
Playing in the snow
Two weeks later our second group arrived.
Discussing things rural
This was our biggest group yet - 8 students. All were teachers in rural subjects so we were ideally located for visits to farms.
After our morning English sessions we donned wellington boots and took off for walks, on a farm visit or for some - horse-riding in the Dales.
The weather was kind so although it was cold we avoided any snow!
One of the highlights was the trip to a traditional pantomime in Bradford. This was a hilarious evening with all the traditional 'it's behind you', 'Oh no it isn't/oh yes it is' banter. We all joined in with great gusto. We also managed to have a curry there - Bradford is very famous for its curries.
|We had another busy week with serious study, lots of activities and a great group of students who soon located the teapot and coffee pot to help with refreshments and also helped with the washing up which was very much appreciated. We encourage all our students to 'make themselves at home' and we are very happy when they do this. It not only helps with English but it makes the experience more relaxed and friendly for us all.||
A relaxing dinner
February was student-free but not work free. There is always work to do i the garden, hens to look after, dogs to walk and children to sort. There are also blog posts to write and other work to do.
You can find out more about our students' experiences in some of the comments they have written and their blog posts.
Some sad news
Our little dog Duffy who has appeared in some of these posts was very sadly knocked down and killed in February. We miss him dreadfully and many of our students have sent messages as they enjoyed his spirit while they were here and many of them took him for walks.
Duffy was a big part of our family - we miss him a lot
We were fortunate enough to be able to bring him home and bury him in the garden in one of his favourite spots.
As we move into spring we hope that the harsh weather is behind us and look forward to daffodils and tulips and more groups of students to enjoy these with us.
If you've enjoyed reading about life at Fleetham Lodge and would like to come and study here with us then please contact me and I'll send you all the information you need. I'm happy to speak to people on the phone too.
We're looking forward to meeting our new students soon!
15 Mar 2011 17:52
Autumn heads into Winter - and very early!
Winter has come very early to Kirkby Fleetham this year!
As I write this the temperature is -150C which is not very normal. The snow arrived in November! It seems that the last two posts have shown a lot of snow - but we are not Narnia, although it may look like it!
Fortunately all our students managed to get away (just) before the heavy snow arrived. So now we have time to reflect, celebrate Christmas and prepare before early January when the next group arrive.
The Autumn was busy with students coming and going and we were out and about exploring the area and intent upon improving all their language skills. The word I will use to sum up the last two months - FUN! We all had a lot of fun even though we worked hard.
Being in the countriside helps with study as there are very few distractions.
At one point we had a total of five students here - this was when the real fun started. Two teachers and two classes and outings every day.
Consulting an atlas
We visited Richmond, Durham, Bowes Museum took walks and spent a lot of time in the kitchen eating, chatting, washing up and learning - every minute of the day!
In the evenings we watched movies.
In the middle of one student's course we had to head south for a 90th birthday party. She came with us and was thrown into the deep end with a large group of native speakers. It was a great experience and she managed very well (even though only a beginner) during the evening. This is the value of such courses, you never know what you might be doing!
Take heed of this! One group ended up as part of a comedy performance and then on to the stage with the actors - an amazing experience!
The Georgian Theatre Richmond
in Richmond, Yorkshire is the oldest theatre in the country and very well preserved - well worth a visit!
On stage with the actors!!
As October gave way to November we said goodbye to one group and hello to another. The house has been full of joy and interesting people and we have learned much from each of them. I know they have learned from us too and I hope that they will now build on that knowledge and keep developing their English language skills.
One thing is certain - the visits will be memorable for all of us!
Relaxing over afternoon tea
Hard at work!
(used in the Harry Potter films I understand!)
So, as winter approaches what better way to improve your English language skills than relaxing in front of an open fire while the wind howls outside! Peace, quiet, interesting places to visit, good food and total immersion in English. Book now for January February and March.
We're waiting for you with a hot cup of tea!!
3 Dec 2010 16:51
Entry for 13 Sep 2010
The Year so far at Fleetham Lodge
It is already September and I can't believe how the year has gone by so quickly and I have neglected to write anything on this blog for you.
It has been a busy year with visitors and students and lots of fun activities - so I will do my best to give a round-up of the main events!
The beginning of the year was fraught with a great deal of real winter weather
|Beautiful - but it went on too long. We went into hibernation!|
|We experienced some interesting and long forgotten things about winter - the dogs ran daily across this frozen pond to no ill effect! We stayed well clear!|
Once we had emerged from the depths of a long winter the spring arrived bright and warm and we enjoyed the first of our guests for 2010.
|Enjoying the Easter sunshine! We all enjoyed a walk around the garden before lunch. There was an Easter egg hunt too!|
|A day out by the lake - skimming stones. Who can get it the furthest?|
May arrived bright and but not so warm and we just had time to catch our breath before the next wave of students arrived at the end of June.
|The students were dedicated and keen to improve.|
|We worked hard and played hard with lessons, homework trips, tennis, cycling and lots of walks.|
As each group came and went we enjoyed their company, helped them to progress with their English and presented the delights that our corner of Yorkshire has to offer. We worked hard, had fun, learnt a lot and enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings with walks, outdoor meals and much camaraderie.
|Posing outside the Bronte Museum. This was a day for following in Charlotte, Emily and Anne's footsteps. Tough going!|
|Having breakfast in the cosy kitchen. We enjoyed our chats at meal times.|
|Hard at work again! This time the teacher workshop in August we had a great time together! Working, eating, watching Bronte films and out and about!|
|Getting blown away outside Bolton Castle at Redmire! We brought along our own 'expert' guide (in front)|
|The weather in mid-August was warm enough to eat outside!|
|Relaxing over coffee a great way to practise English!|
We managed to fit in Kirkby Fleetham Village Feast which was an amazing day out!
|The summer season ended with a crazy 70s disco.....|
|...... and a wonderful Turkish dinner (recipe book courtesy of Eva & Culya) - to celebrate a birthday!|
|We dressed up, played games and watched movies.|
|Happy Birthday and thank you to all our summer students for a wonderful experience! Hope to see you all again!|
After a few weeks break we are preparing for our Autumn students. More hard work, fun, sharing and fabulous English skills!!
Why not come and see for yourself!
13 Sep 2010 16:28
New Year, New Decade!!
As we enter 2010 it might be good to reflect on the past year, collect our thoughts and then look to the New Year and New Decade!
A few random thoughts on 2009
- On balance it was a difficult year - we are not alone in this!
- Some bizarre weather - a hot sunny early spring and a long winter chill
- We said goodbye to a cat- despite best efforts to keep him here he prefers the open road!
- We said hello to a new dog - Maguire - a handful to say the least!
- We met some lovely students.
- We had some great results - our last student got a band 8 IELTS - cheers all round!
Since my last post Christmas has been and gone and with it one of most prolonged winter chills for many decades!
This is the site that greeted us on Christmas Eve when we drew back the curtains!
It is many years since we had a real white Christmas and there was great excitement (mostly from the two dogs!)
It was so bright and completely silent.
It was deep, crisp and even and put us in mind of many of our traditional Christmas carols!
Although our 4 daughters were in the house the only people out playing in the snow were myself (Berni) and my husband (David) and the two dogs!
The picture was taken from an upstairs bedroom window as the girls looked on. But not before David threw a snowball which shot clean through the open window showering everybody inside with snow (serves them right!)
This is a scene we have looked out on for the past month.
Regular supplies of hay have been brought for the sheep as they can't get to their food under the snow.
Each time he arrive the sheep scuttle across the snow to greet him - a lovely sight!!
It has been a difficult time for sheep and farmers.
Christmas was a family affair.
The house looks particularly welcoming at Christmas festooned in holly, ivy and other greenery. All the fires are lit and candles burn giving a lovely glow. We try to have a very traditional English Christmas with carols, games and activities as well as all the food associated with the season.
If you come and stay here to learn English in December or early January,you will experience some of this.
An impromptu performance of the traditional Christmas Mummers play about St. George.
The whole performance takes about 10 minutes - no rehearsal necessary, just find your costume assemble and perform!
13 Jan 2010 16:53
Exit Autumn - Winter Augurs
As winter creeps up and the beautiful colours of autumn have faded we take time to collect our thoughts, reflect on the year and plan for the next!
The last of our visitors have gone with better English skills and, we hope, enjoyable memories of their time here with us.
We have had some stunning autumn colours this year!
Our big garden job is the shrubbery which we hope to have planted up in the next few days - weather permitting. It has been an on-off project for the last 3 years but the end is in sight and next Spring/Summer it should be a joy to behold!
Halloween was a low-key affair as the Language Show in London beckoned (see an account of this on Real Language ). We hung a few spooky things around and had pumpkin lanterns - all good fun!
Halloween pumpkin by the door
The major village event of the season was the Bonfire Night celebration at the pub. A Halloween lantern competition started the event, followed by a magnificent firework display. Warming soup and hot dogs were served to the spectators and the pub was open for beer and special treats for the children.
Bonfire night (November 5th) is one of the highlights of the Autumn in the UK where friend and neighbour come out on a cold evening to stand around a waring fire, watch a spectacular display of fireworks and eat traditional fair of treacle toffee, gingerbread and parkin.
Christmas now beckons with all that that entails!
If you are interested in taking a Home-Tuition course at Fleetham Lodge contact us giving us the dates you'd like to come and how long you want to stay.
24 Nov 2009 18:23
The end of Summer
September was a strange month, beginning wet and inclement and ending in a glorious Indian summer!
Sadly the long anticipated duck race had to be cancelled as the river was too high and fast. The decision had to be made in advance of the event and on the day the weather was bright, warm and sunny! Sod's law!!
We watched the harvesting throughout September and the amazing hay and straw bales piling up in the fields. Some looked like huge £1 coins that had been dropped from a giant's pocket, others tall and rectangular, like large stacks of books, teetering sideways. Everything golden.
A typical late summer sight, always heart warming yet a harbinger of the seasons to come. A hint of melancholy at the end of the bright days and light evenings tinges this lovely picture!
The autumn brings with it its own beauty. Everywhere you look in the house you will find tomatoes and peppers ripening in bowls on windowsills or hanging in jewelled necklaces, beautiful colours of bright red, yellow and orange! Baskets of apples cover the tables and onions hang drying. There is also the pungent smell of chutney making mixed with pickling and jams - a truly productive time. Jams will be served up at breakfast and pickles and chutneys offered at lunch - the taste of a wonderful summer!
Our autumn view can be as beautiful as the summer ones!
The fires are ready for cold evenings, the kitchen stove is lit for warmth in the early mornings. Our autumn students will see a different side of life in the country but one no less interesting and picturesque
6 Oct 2009 18:25
August - the summer overblown!
My mother always describes August as being 'overblown' - a good description as the late big blooms come into flower and everything else begins to look as though it needs a haircut!
The swallows have departed and the house martins are frantically feeding and using the remaining summer time to get ready for their move. Each evening large flocks of geese fly around
The plums, apples and blackberries are ripening and after the good summer we've had this year, there is a faint look of autumn about everything. Hopefully we'll manage a few more weeks of summer!
The Feast 2009 was a great event - one of the best ever said one villager. The day dawned bright and sunny and remained that way all day. The band played, there were many fun events in the arena and people stayed well into the evening to sit, eat, drink and enjoy a very beautiful English summer's day in a very traditional setting.
Our guests enjoyed the day and are planning to return for next year's event. We came home clutching our prizes - first prize in Yorkshire Curd Tart, Chutney and pencil drawing, second prize in hen's eggs, jam and bird made out of natural materials etc.. Even the dog won a rosette!
The final event of summer in the village is the duck race which takes place on the local river and is a fun day of being by and on the water.
English language students at Fleetham Lodge
We still have a handful to arrive and then we will be looking at dates for the autumn and next year.
It may seem that everything we do here at Fleetham Lodge has a social aspect to it. While the social side is very important for our English language study guests we do spend at least 3 hours a day here in serious language study!
Expect to hit the ground running! You will have your English grammar, vocabulary and skills stretched, honed and tested and receive homework too!
The name of the game is total immersion - study hard, socialise hard, make use of every opportunity we provide to use your English and you will see results.
We're waiting for you!
20 Aug 2009 11:14
Those lazy, hazy days of summer!
A warm summer's day in the countryside is wonderful. The birds sing, the butterflies and bees busy themselves around the flowers. Everywhere are the colours and sounds of nature. Long, leisurely walks, relaxing in the garden and meals outdoors are all part of the delight of summer.
In England! I hear you say - but yes, there are days like this and they are to be relished (today isn't one of them - rain and wind).
We welcome summer long before it arrives we plan barbeques, summer fetes, outdoor concerts and fun days at the beach and then watch the weather forecast avidly!
We British are very good at putting on a brave face even when the rain is pouring down in torrents! We tramp around the fete with umbrellas or rig up plastic sheeting to cover the barbecue - after all it's summer!
Please don't be put off - many events get wonderful weather and we always look forward to these traditional days and outings.
Summer events in Kirkby Fleetham
The Barn Dance
The first summer event is often a Barn Dance. Literally a dance held in a barn. A local farmer will donate his barn for the purpose. Hay bales are placed outside for seating, tables are laid with food (especially wonderful puddings!), a small bar is set up and a band hired to play for the traditional 'folk' dances that are danced on these occasions.
Students have happily entered into the spirit of these events following the dance instructions (usually the dances feature groups of 8, 12 or even more!
Even if you have two left feet - you will enjoy the challenge and fun!
The Woodland walk
We are lucky in Kirkby Fleetham to have farmers and land owners who are happy to host village events. As a lot of land is privately owned much of it never seen by anybody except the owners. One such time is the Woodland walk held in the village in early summer.
Three walks are available of different lengths and the woods are opened up for an afternoon for everybody to follow the walk at their leisure.
The walks lead, inevitably to the pub where you can have a drink or something to eat.
The Pub, village shop and village school are the heart of rural communities and sadly these three pillars of village life are fast disappearing in many villages. We are very lucky in Kirkby Fleetham to still have all three and a vibrant community to boot!
After being closed for a year, the pub has re-opened as a country pub and restaurant and is doing a roaring trade. As well as being a meeting place for villagers, many activities revolve around the pub so we are all very happy for it to be back!
Held on the second Saturday in August the Feast is the biggest event of the village. This year is the 108th Feast! The main event is the exhibition in the main tent; everything from painting to flower arranging and giant onions to cakes and cocktails. Villagers make, bake, grow and sew and enter their efforts into the competition to be judged by experts in the field. A modest prize is awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each section. Events in the main arena take place and there is music and dancing well into the night!
Come to Fleetham Lodge for a course next August and experience the Feast first hand!
21 Jul 2009 14:58
10 reasons why you should come to Fleetham Lodge and 10 why you shouldn't
Although we're immensely proud of what we do here at Fleetham Lodge we understand that it may not be for everyone!
To help you decide whether it would be a suitable place for you to come and improve your English here are reasons why you should, and also perhaps why you shouldn't!
1. You enjoy being in beautiful countryside.
2. You like a quiet, tranquil setting.
3. You like the idea of staying in an old house.
4. You really do want a total immersion experience (there aren't many non English speakers here).
5. You would like to be in a typical English setting.
6. You enjoy country activities - walking, cycling etc.
7. You are interested in exploring Yorkshire and the North of England.
8. You don't mind not having easy access to a town.
9. You want to try something different.
10. You don't mind flying to provincial airports or making the final leg by train.
Maybe not if:
1. You like the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. You need to have shops, clubs and bars to go to.
3. You're turned off by history.
4. You like the comfort of being able to speak your language at times.
5. You really want to be in or near London.
6. You like shopping and the city lights and noise.
7. You think the North of England might be too staid or deserted.
8. You need easy access to shops and nightlife.
9. Places like London still have too much to offer you.
10. You can only imagine flying to Heathrow or Gatwick and don't want any extra journeys.
3 Jul 2009 17:45
June is busting out all over!
Just like the song, everything is going crazy!
|We have had several of those amazing summer days that you find in well known English stories like Brideshead Revisited, or Enid Blyton's Famous Five where the warm days go on forever, the birds sing, the bees hum and everybody seems blissfully happy!|
It is lovely to sit out late into the evening, listen to the sparkle of the fountain and, if you're lucky, the owl gently hooting. Lots of interesting, yet relaxed conversation is to be had as we sit watching for the first stars to appear.
During the day we walk or cycle into the village or around the local lanes taking in the scenery and enjoying the birds and the sheep and cows in the fields.
For those who like the countryside and want to 'get away from it all' for their English language study - Fleetham Lodge is perfect! There are no distractions and lesson breaks can be a short stroll in the garden to the pond where you can sit and watch the dragon flies and swallows skim the surface of the water while the fish dart here and there while you contemplate your irregular verbs or practise your pronunciation!
For the more energetic, take a bike and go off around the local villages or have a game of tennis on our court.
Come for a week, come for a fortnight come for a long weekend! We are always happy to see you and share our Yorkshire life with you!
We're sure you will find something unique here.
23 Jun 2009 17:35
Discovering the meadow!
Having got a new puppy we have to take him out regularly during his house training. We are fortunate to have a small paddock adjoining the garden which is perfect for this.
Our dogs Duffy (terrier) and Maguire (collie pup)
A picnic by the pond
There is a pond in the paddock which has been very neglected over the past few years. It was created as a Koi pond by the previous owners and apart from adding some fish we have largely left it alone. To our delight it has become a great home for wild life. Seeing it now several times a day has brought its wonders to us and we have started to do some work to clear debris and keep it a great wildlife home.
We have stripped back the waterfall to clear it of excess weed and rubble.
We hope to have it restored and up and running very soon.
The pond itself is teeming with tadpoles which we are watching develop day by day. We also have (once we cleared some of the weed) lots of small fish and at least one newt. Insects abound and at the moment dragon flies and swallows skim the surface of the water.
Our final discovery was the abundance of wildflowers. We had always intended to create a wildflower meadow at the top of the paddock but it seems to have created itself!
Patches of blue, yellow and white abound and we have buttercups, speedwell, cowslips, daisies, cuckoo flowers, ground ivy and many more. No poppies alas, as yet!
This month has been such a voyage of discovery in our garden and we fully intend to maintain it as a place to relax and enjoy the tranquil environment for all our student guests!
26 May 2009 00:00
Spring has truly sprung!
The blossom is out, the leaves have bright green foliage and flowers begin to bloom. Everywhere there is activity!
We've just removed a very large jackdaw nest from the chimney during our spring clean and the swallows and house martins have arrived and are busy preparing their nests. We've seen a hopeful heron on the pond and the bats swoop around at dusk. It is wonderful to see all these 'old friends' return!
Easter was wonderful with bright sunshine and warm enough to sit outside. Our visitors enjoyed a traditional Sunday lunch on Easter Sunday, a traditional tea too and we organised an Easter egg hunt around the garden.
The kitchen garden is beginning to take shape with seedlings coming through and a greenhouse full of things to be planted out soon. There should be plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for our summer students to enjoy. Now all we need is for the weather to continue!
So we've cycling, walking, golf and pony trekking activities planned for our summer courses. If you like something a little less active we can offer photography. Whichever course you choose you can be certain that you'll get plenty of English practice, good food, wonderful country air and excellent company.
What are you waiting for!
29 Apr 2009 00:00
In like a lion out like a lamb
This is a phrase often used to describe the month of March and this year it has had a ring of truth to it.
After an unusually cold and frosty winter we are now being treated to the most beautiful spring weather!
Sun, flowers, warm breezes and now longer evenings. It lifts spirits and makes you feel truly alive! It is really good to be in England when conditions are like this (after all we get more than our fair share of rain).
This all brings work and we are busy planting onions and potatoes in the kitchen garden and sowing seed for summer vegetables. I expect Easter will be a busy time in the garden
Talking of busy, the hens have got to work and we are getting a regular supply of eggs every day.
We sat out and ate lunch today - the first of many such occasions I hope!
Our Home Tuition students due after Easter can experience the sight of new born lambs bounding across the fields - they are everywhere and it enhances a country walk to see them! We've also got a pair of swans on the pond behind the house. To see them fly over the garden is a real joy.
The bats will be out in the evenings soon and maybe we'll hear an owl.
When it gets dark around 7.30 the clear skies at present are expansive with bright twinkling stars.
And this is just the beginning!
31 Mar 2009 00:00
Signs of Spring
Economic renewal may be a long way off but the renewal of spring is beginning!
swathes of snowdrops
This picture was taken two days ago in temperatures of 120 C, and beautiful sunshine.
Less than 2 weeks ago we were knee-deep in snow and next week....?
Who knows, such are the vagaries of English weather.
We are very excited about our 2009 English courses here at Fleetham.
We have added lots of activities such as cycling, walking, pony trekking etc. to make the leisure time of our students more focused and to get them out and about in the community so that they can use their English in a real situation and with real, live English speakers!
We've chosen some beautiful places and have some great ides so what are you waiting for! Sign up now!
Last night saw the annual village pancake race
The races cater for all ages from 5 to 50 and many easter eggs were won. Everyone turns up frying pan and pancake at the ready and runs the short distance in front of the village hall while tossing their pancake! It's a far cry from the Mardi-Gras carnivals of Brazil but the sentiment is the same!!
Hot soup and hot dogs are served and it's another must-do event in the Kirkby Fleetham calendar.
The village Panto
Talking about must-do events the Panto was held two weeks ago to great applause a couple of weeks ago. This is a great tradition in the UK (usually at Christmas) and Kirkby Fleetham's version of Aladdin had all the ingredients - corny jokes, banter between audience and actors, men dressed as women, women dressed as men. The event was a great spectacle with lots of sound and colour.
A panto is an integral part of a course at Fleetham Lodge! Remember to bring your throat lozenges!
24 Feb 2009 00:00
Happy New Year 2009!
A new year with new challenges!
There are new and exciting things in the pipeline for 2009.
We will be offering some country-themed courses in 2009. Look at the calendar on the Fleetham lodge page for dates and further details. Cycling and walking trips, golf and fishing, horse riding and other country pursuits. We'll weave them around the courses so that after a hard week of grammar and vocabulary study you can take a bicycle or put on a pair of walking boots and head off into the dales.
There will be lots of photo and drawing opportunities for the artistic.
As you arrive!
The vegetable garden
So what happens when you come on a course here at Fleetham Lodge?
- We meet you at whatever airport or station you arrive at and drive you back to the house.
- We'll probably have a cup of tea when we get back and a little tour of the house and garden
- Then you can unpack, unwind and relax
- all meals are taken leisurely, including breakfast
- we study for 3 hours in the morning with a short coffee break
- some afternoons are spent on a visit
- on others you may want to study, go for a walk, take the local bus into town, play tennis, watch TV or surf the internet.
- sometimes there may be lessons in the afternoon or early evenings
- other people may come round in the evening to eat and chat so there will always be opportunities to practise
Above all we encourage you to use your English as much as possible and be totally immersed!
20 Jan 2009 00:00
Christmas is coming!
And the Goose is getting fat! (an old nursery rhyme)
The weather has been very cold with the biggest snow fall seen in years last week!
All the autumn guests are gone and we are now looking forward to the Christmas break. There won't be any students over Christmas but even those studying with us in December and early January can catch something of the Christmas traditions.
The house looks transformed with trees and lights. All the fires are lit and there's a welcoming glow everywhere.
We will be relaxing and gathering our strength to meet the challenges of 2009. We anticipate our 2009 students; who will they be, what will they need. Whoever they are and whatever they need we will welcome them with open arms and it will be an unforgettable experience!
Maybe it will be you?
9 Dec 2008 00:00
Autumn draws to a close
Autumn is a more mellow time in many respects.
The hectic activity of the summer is over and the glowing colours of Autumn (almost gone now) give a warm feeling. The nights come in early urging us to sit by the fire and enjoy semi-hibernation.
Our guests in the Autumn can enjoy brisk, colourful walks in the afternoons and then back to the fireside for afternoon tea. Meals are hearty and very English - what we sometimes call 'comfort food'. Hotpots and casseroles.
Our summer students enjoyed a selection of local visits as well as some intense language practice. At one point we were a group of French, Spanish, Italian and British all enjoying wonderful conversation about politics, art, and food; exchanging ideas and experiences.
Taking a break!
Everybody certainly had lots of speaking practice. Now the trick is to keep it going!
18 Nov 2008 00:00
Summer almost over!
A cricket match on the village green.
A typical sight (and sound) of the countryside in the UK.
Afternoon tea is traditionally served.
We have just said goodbye to our first sets of summer visitors and are preparing to received the next.
So far the weather has been kind and everybody has had a good experience.
The summer is a good time to visit as, weather permitting, it is possible to sit outside, study outside and generally relax outdoors which is always beneficial.
So far we've managed some enjoyable walks, some have ventured on bicycles and the crowning event was an open air performance of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' by the lake of a local 'Great House' Kiplin Hall. The evening was warm, the picnic delicious, the play beautifully rendered and to top it all a flock of geese flew over us all in the middle of everything!
There are many wonderful places to visit locally and we have plans for our August students to go to York, Durham, the wonderful Bowes Museum.
We can also offer the seaside with some very beautiful fishing villages (and a Dracula connection to boot!)
The annual Kirkby Fleetham Feast is this weekend although we have no guests to take this year. We will, however, be baking, making, digging and arranging our entries for the competition!
All the activities we add to the actual teaching give our guests an insight into life in the English countryside and added opportunities to really practice their language skills.
5 Aug 2008 00:00
Spring is finally here!!
As well as all the colour of spring flowers, we have four new members of the household.
Hermione, Hortense and Helga.
Laying eggs we hope!!
As we prepare Fleetham Lodge to receive summer visitors we have added 4 important members. These are the chickens: Henrietta, Hermione, Helga and Hortense. They will have an important job to do, providing eggs for our visitors' breakfast!!
With so many worries about food miles, additives and healthy eating, it is reassuring to know that food on the Fleetham Lodge table is sourced as locally and as freshly as possible. Students can even have a go at collecting their own breakfast eggs!!
Attention to detail is a byword at Fleetham in all aspects of the course and stay. We take great care over your assessment (usually done electronically before you arrive) to make sure that we have all the right books and materials ready to start on day one. This means that you can 'hit the ground running' and make full use of all your time here.
A display of Spring flowers around the door.
We are certain your stay will be enjoyable - but we can't say that it will be 'easy' we will give you lots to do and help you to maximise every opportunity from simply watching the tv to meeting and discussing in the local pub!!
22 Apr 2008 00:00
Entry for 2 Oct 2007
Autumn sets in.
Nights getting longer ('the nights are drawing in' is a very common phrase heard at this time of year), the cows have been moved from the fields and the hay bails stored for the winter. The little housemartins who were, it seems like only days ago, busying around their homes have now vanished.
Summer is over (not that this year's was anything to 'write home about!')
There's a mellowness about September and an optimism too.
In the village preparations for things such as Harvest Festival are afoot. The children bring 'offerings' of produce to a church service, special hymns are sung and a thanksgiving said for the bounties of the fields. We are a farming community so such things have great significance.
And what of Fleetham Lodge? It's time to get chimneys swept ready for the winter fires which are always cheery and give a wonderful ambience. Also time to bring in our own harvest from the kitchen garden and store onions, apples, pears and potatoes, make chutneys and jams. Freeze beans and make soups for winter warmth.
Students staying in these months can sit in the warm kitchen, rest by the fire and eat warm comforting food. There are bracing country walks, trips to the inviting local pubs and always a possibility for a game of tennis before the weather gets too cold.
A traditional afternoon tea is always welcome!!
2 Oct 2007 00:00
Entry for 15 Aug 2007
It's raining again! It has not been the best of summers. Luckily the weather was good for the village Feast last weekend!
The Feast is a good place to begin this blog.
It takes place every year the weekend before August 15th.A great tent is erected on the village green and the whole village turns into a sort of arena.
This year the morning dawned bright and sunny. There was much activity at Fleetham Lodge preparing all the exhibits for the show tent where the main competition takes place. Fruit,veg, cakes and jams and pickles can all be entered. The children's section consists of art works, decorated sandwiches, animals made out of recycled materials and a host of other things. There is always great excitement.
Once everything is in place we leave the tent and the judges arrive to make their choices.
1o'clock sees the dog show. Our little terrier Duffy was entered and won second prize in the dog-owner look-alike where Imogen dressed up to look like him.
The tent opened at 2.00 and the whole family to a man had won 2 or 3 prizes (1st, 2nd or 3rd). The greatest coup was to have won the Victoria Sponge entry (a cake) and the chutney 1st prize (a tomato relish).
The day continued with exhibitions, some very funny displays, games, races and ,of course, the very British 'cream tea' after which we returned home, changed and returned to the tent for live music and dancing into the night.
All very traditional and great fun!!
26 Sep 2007 00:00