Wild flowers and fruit

cerises - vacances en famille en ecosseIn the countryside around Crieff  you can pick a wide variety of wild fruit:

Cherries (make great jam), raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, white currants, bilberries.

The fields and moors are full of wild flowers.

vacances de familles en ecosse

vacances en famille en ecosse
The thistle is the national flower of Scotland

“Spectacular Jousting” at the Palace

We’ve just come back from the annual jousting tournament at royal Linlithgow Palace.

There was jousting (combat between knights on horseback), hand to hand combat, and acrobatics by the jesters.

As well as  lots of medieval displays and re-enactments: falconry, music, archery, wolfhound dogs, armour, etc.

jousting at linlithgow palace

Can I visit you with my children?

We offer family homestays – and these are very popular.  We welcome families of up to 4 people (5 people is sometimes possible – please ask). Sometimes both parents come, sometimes 1 parent. There is no lower age limit for your children.

family holiday in scotland

Both adults and children can take English lessons – alone or together, as preferred.

homestays for families

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have lots of trips and activities that are fun for children. Including plenty of outdoor and indoor games.  Crieff has great parks, a river and lovely countryside. We are a 10 minute walk from the centre of town, with its shops and cafes. You can visit Edinburgh as a day trip.

Here are some photos of the youngest family that we have had so far.

 

 

 

english for children in scotland

 

Bloody Scotland – International Crime Writing Festival – September 2018

Are you:

1) A fan of high quality crime novels and their authors?

2) Interested in improving your general, business, legal or Human Resources English?

This September you could combine the 2 with a visit to our family homestay – with a 3 day international crime writing festival in the historic city of Stirling, and your choice of English lessons. It’s also a chance to discover the landscapes and history of this very beautiful part of the world.

Stirling is easily accessible from our homestay by public transport or car.

Talks by bestselling crime writers from the UK and around the world, and lots of other crime related events. For more detail, see the Festival’s website at:

https://bloodyscotland.com/

Is English different in Scotland? Will I understand?

Sometimes, a person who is considering an English language holiday here asks me: “Will I understand your accent?”.

My daughters and I are English.  We moved from England to Scotland a couple of years ago. We speak an easy to understand, “received pronunciation”, English.

What about our neighbours here in central Scotland?

A fair proportion of them have moved here from England, and have English accents.  Those born and bred in Scotland may speak with a Scottish accent, and may use some words that are typically Scottish.  Different regions have slightly different accents. The strength of the accent generally depends on the social class of the speaker. For instance,  members of the Scottish upper class often speak in “received pronunciation” English, whereas the middle class have a light Scottish accent.

The language traditionally associated with the Highlands of Scotland – Gaelic – is encouraged by the Scottish government, but you are very unlikely to hear it spoken here.

Visitors tell me that they have no difficulty in understanding the majority of Scottish people that they meet here.  But you may pick up the odd new word. “Wee”  (for “small”) is a genuine favourite.  And whereas an English person will tell you where they live, a Scottish person will tell you where they “stay”.

One of the great things about Scotland is how friendly people are here – most people you come across are keen to chat – which is good English practice!

Bluebell wood

Spring in Scotland = flowers everywhere.

On a short walk to the Baird Monument we were surrounded by bluebells.  Magical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finally reached the Monument, at the top of a very small hill.  Commemorating General David Baird, who appears to have been a remarkable character, both in his military and in his personal life.   According to the wording on the Monument:

“He felt no jealousies.  He harboured no resentment. He knew no guile.”

Then back down the hill and home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story of Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriar’s Bobby – with his shiny nose

In 1850s Edinburgh, a nightwatchman, John Gray, was accompanied in his night-time work of traipsing the streets by his small dog, Bobby.

John died of tuberculosis in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard in the centre of Edinburgh.

Bobby refused to leave his master’s grave.  The keeper of the Kirkyard made many attempts to chase him away, but he always came back. Eventually the keeper accepted the situation and created a small shelter for the dog, next to the grave.

He would leave the grave once a day, to eat lunch at a local coffee house, which he had got used to visiting with his master. As Bobby became famous in Edinburgh, crowds would gather to watch him on his daily lunchtime outing.

Bobby stayed by his master’s grave, even in the coldest of weather, for 14 long years, until his own death.

A statue of him was erected just outside the Kirkyard, in his memory.  Rubbing the statue’s nose is supposed to bring good luck. In fact, so many tourists rub the nose that the city has struggled to keep the statue in good shape.

Bobby is now a legend – many books and films tell his inspiring story. His headstone reads:

“Greyfriars Bobby – died 14th January 1872 – aged 16 years – Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”

 

A trip into the Highlands

Highlands, cours d'anglais en ecosse

We went on a lovely trip to the Highlands yesterday. We took a look at the Fortingall Yew tree, which is thought to be around 5000 years old. And then drove up Glen Lyon, one of the most beautiful valleys in Scotland. Finishing with a walk along the shore of Loch Tay. We saw 2 herds of red deer – counting about 70 animals. As well as lots of pheasants and a hare. We watched a farmer round up a pregnant sheep with his 2 sheep dogs, and help her give birth to a healthy lamb.
The scenery was amazing, and there were daffodils everywhere. There were lots of requests for photo stops!

 

bridge, cours d'anglais en ecosse

Spring is finally here. I think.

This has been an unusually long winter, with visits from the “Beast from the East” weather front bringing late snow not only to Scotland, but to much of the UK.  There is a great sledging hill in one of Crieff’s parks, and even I couldn’t resist sledging down it a few times.

Easter day was beautiful, and I took a stunning photo in the sunshine at Crieff’s reservoir.

But we then had yet more snow!

I am fairly confident that we have finally seen the last of it now.  We visited beautiful Loch Tay yesterday.  There was still a little snow on the hills, but Naomi and a visitor from France took the plunge, with a quick swim in the loch. I won’t pretend that the water was warm, and they were very proud of themselves.

There are new born lambs in the fields, and we have found plenty of frogspawn.  Lots of daffodils too.

daffodils, english course in scotland

Harry Potter – the Edinburgh connection

Harry Potter, learn English

JK  Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, lives in Edinburgh, where she wrote the Harry Potter books.  Many of the sites used in the Harry Potter films can be found in Edinburgh and in the Scottish countryside.  There is a Harry Potter walking tour that fans can go on in Edinburgh.

When we take visitors on a day trip to Edinburgh, we include a few Harry Potter sights or a Harry Potter tour.  And everyone has the chance to buy plenty of Harry Potter souvenirs – there’s a great choice in wands!

Victoria Street, Diagon Alley, Edinburgh, Harry Potter
Victoria Street in Edinburgh, the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley
The Elephant House cafe, where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books
Harry Potter in Edinburgh, english language homestay
Thomas Riddell’s grave in the much haunted Greyfriars Kirkyard  – the inspiration for Tom Riddle / Lord Voldemort
Harry Potter guide - english course
A Harry Potter guide in Greyfriars Kirkyard