Mysterious “Tommy”

Text read by Mary Peters

Niki, from Azerbaijan met our bear “Tommy”. She tells what happened.

I want to tell you the truth about Tommy’s life. He had a very long conversation with me before leaving his family in Brida.

I started my journey from very distant lands. I always wanted to visit wise people and not look at life only through the small windows of my room. So, I packed my bags and left my homeland.

I travelled to the light to reach my dreamland. I found myself in a country in East Asia. There I was greeted by a kind, hard-working and intelligent friend. I learned a lot about life from him. His books became my best friend and his thoughts showed me the right path. To be honest, I forgot all the tiredness of my soul in his house. He knew that I would continue my journey and leave his land soon, so he showed me another land and promised not to leave me alone as much as he could. I crossed rivers, mountains, forests and reached a land called Brida.

The people of Brida were very different from the people of other lands. Most of them were people who came from other places and lived there. Different languages, different customs, but they were all honest and friendly. Most interestingly, they spoke the same language they had learned there. Everyone respected each other’s opinions. Religion, language, wealth, skin colour could not separate people. I fell in love with this city and decided to stay.

There, a friend who had made the city, welcomed me into his home and a new life began for me with that family. I learned more every day than the day before. We had a café there where we could easily talk about our problems, our joys and our nostalgia.

Honestly, I learned to socialize there and realized that no boundaries and walls can separate human beings If humans themselves love to be together I learned humanity there from the founder of that city.

Each of us can be the same bear. He lived in Brida for a while and then the events of his life took him away from there. This bear can have different names in different places, but one thing is certain. He cannot move alone to be happy, to be useful, a lonely and isolated person cannot be happy for a long time. Those who make us happy can be our friends, our partner, our parents. The farther we go from our homes, the more we need friendship, empathy with others.

Read more about Tommy here.

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Building a “Cabane”

Text read by Mary Peters

Lucas is 15 years old and has embarked on a truly impressive project.

The hut is in a secret location in a forest near Brida. The hut was built by me and my friends aged 13 to 14. We started building the hut almost 3 years ago. We built the hut to be together and to have fun.

To build the cabin we used wood from the ground and tools like saws and hammers. To fix the wood together we used screws and nails. We are the only ones who use the hut and sometimes our parents. In the hut we have fun, and we create new things to make it bigger. For example, last weekend we created a swing that hangs from a tree above the hut and a launching ramp. This is all our idea.

We made our first treehouse when I was 7 years old, but it was destroyed. So, a friend’s father said we could make it in his forest. To create the hut, we didn’t make a plan, we just made it fit.

We are a group of ten. To build something new we all decide together. We quickly agree because we often have the same thing in mind. We go to the hut at weekends and on Wednesdays when there are no classes. During the holidays we go almost every day.

The hardest part to build was the hut itself because we were smaller, we were between ten and eleven years old at the beginning, and because it is the biggest part. The easiest part to build was the 4-meter tower.

For the future, we have the idea to make a zip-line and to continue the footbridges in the air. Thanks to this hut I learned to build things and to work in groups.

When you have the idea of doing something don’t give up because you might miss out on something really good. Our parents say that we have done something very good and that we have had a good idea. They said we must not give up on the idea.

Later on, I hope my children will also have the idea of doing something like this and I will encourage them because thanks to the hut we have created a very solid group of friends.

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En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.

Education 5 – When I went to school

Text read by Mary Peters. (Please note the audio text differs slightly from the written text due to last-minute changes in the written text).

Julia from Mannheim describes her schooling.

I went to school in Mannheim, Germany from 1997 to 2010. Generally, we had classes from 8 am to 1 pm, Monday to Friday, depending on the year and the class. Most lessons were 45 minutes in duration, but we also had 90-minute lessons for compulsory subjects such as Maths and German.

Class sizes tended to vary.  In French, we were only seven pupils, which was great because you could learn better in a class with seven than thirty. There had to be a minimum of five pupils per class. I remember once there was a physics class with five pupils. We could change our “core subjects” if we wanted to. By the end of the year, there was only one pupil left in that class. We joked if the teacher used the board or wrote directly into the pupil’s notebook.

We had many subjects, including German, Maths, English, French, Spanish, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Music, Art, Sports, Geography, Social Studies. In my last two years, I could choose the subjects. In grade 7, I could choose between French or Latin. chose French. It is such a beautiful language, and Latin had limited use for me. I thought it was a dead language. Then, in grade 9 we could either choose between Spanish or Science & Technology.

German and Maths were compulsory subjects. You also had to choose a foreign language, and a science. My “Abitur” was in German, Maths, French, English. These were the subjects that were tested.

We used books, the blackboard, the OHP and we had a computer room. I remember my first email address; we were in the 8th grade, and the teacher said we would all need email addresses in the future. I used my school email address many years later. I used the Internet at home to prepare for presentations, but we did not use it at school.

I also attended some seminar courses called “Schüler Ingenieur Akademie”. It was a project in which different schools and local companies participated together with the University of Applied Sciences.

As a team, we built a little robot, solder all the pieces together, learned how to programme it. It was fun. It was the closest thing to my future career. The programme started in year 12 and it lasted about 15 months. We met for one afternoon every week, often on a Friday.

Our work could be credited towards the Abitur. I had to apply to participate in this project. This programme was special because it was organised by companies as well. I do not know if the companies were “talent scouting” but certainly it gave us an idea of what companies were about. It was kind of advertising for being an engineer, which I now am.

The lessons were very interactive. The organisers wanted us to participate, to exchange thoughts, to discuss. The problem was, as the pupils got older, they did not want to participate any longer. Only the truly enthusiastic stuck it to the end.

I think the academy was good preparation for my life. In school, you learn how to socialise, communicate, get along. But much of the content in the subjects I no longer really use.  But one can never tell. I wish I had paid more attention to German grammar because it is so important in my current job.

Our teachers were super friendly. I know they went to field trips with us, which they did not have to do. Some teachers invited us to their homes for dinner, to talk about different things. We were treated as young adults.

My German teacher in the Abitur class still stands out. We had to read certain books to prepare for the Abitur. It was so much fun. He was a genius at explaining.  Nobody wanted to read Goethe’s “Faust”.  But the way he discussed the play with us made it fun and exciting.  We also had to read, “The Trial” by Franz Kafka. How he explained the books to us, his thoughts! I think I can still remember every book we discussed.

It is hard to compare my schooling years with those today. I do not really know anybody close enough who goes to school at the moment. What I hear during the pandemic is that the use of technology in classrooms has not developed that much.

Most of the time I enjoyed going to school. I liked seeing my friends, I think I liked learning. Sometimes I miss seeing the same people every day. The friends I travel with are from school and we are still in contact.

But going back to school? Phew! No! Now it would be boring. With the knowledge and experience you have gained; it wouldn’t be that challenging. But on the other hand, does learning ever stop?

Even More Cheese. (Final)

Text read by Mary Peters

In the final part of our series with Emilie on Cheese, we have further questions from Olivier, Steven and Niki.

Olivier, retired, living in Serris.

What kind of cheese do English people prefer? 

Traditionally, British people love cheddar, and it is in the country the best seller but through the year, people became more and more adventurous, and they are keen to try more and more different cheeses. I will say that they are also big consumers of Brie, goat’s cheese, and blue cheese (Stilton). I have been living in the UK since 2005 and I have seen significant development in the sales of European cheeses.

Do they eat raw milk cheese, or do they prefer pasteurized cheese? 

They eat raw milk cheeses, the most popular one is the Comte. We also supply Reblochon, Morbier, Abondance and Roquefort for example which are all raw milk.

Steven, Tanzania, CEO of an NGO

1.Which materials are used to make cheese?  

The main ingredients for cheeses are milk, salt, starter culture, rennet or coagulant and sometimes cream.

How is the cheese made? 

 Each type of cheeses has its own production process but the main steps are, receive the milk on site, adjust the quantity of fat if needed, pasteurised the milk if needed, add some starter cultures and then leave the time to the starter to do their action during the fermentation. You will then add some rennet or coagulant to obtain some curd and get rid of the whey. When the curd has the right consistency, you will do the moulding. Some cheeses can then be pressed. The following step will be the draining and the acidification of the cheese before the salting (dry salting or in brine). The cheese will after this mature before being sometimes cut and packed to be ready to be dispatched.

Does Emilie have a factory, or does she make cheese at home? 

 I don’t have a factory, but I worked in one in Normandy for 5 years. If I make cheese at home, it is for fun with my children.

In Tanzania cheese is made from milk They are the best ones. I am not a fan of plant-based “cheeses.”

Niki, teacher of English, Baku, Azerbaijan

I would like to ask Emilie if they make special cheese for different age groups. 

We don’t make cheeses for different age groups but when presenting some cheeses to customers, we can select specific ones depending on the consumers. By doing this, we can make sure that our customers have in their range cheeses which will please children as well as adults, people who know nothing about cheeses or experts or even people who think that they don’t like cheeses.

 My second question is, how do they maintain and preserve the better taste of cheese in their products? 

To ensure the best quality and taste in our products, we only work with family companies where cheesemakers are driven by their love and passion for the products and the respect of traditional methods. Lots of those companies are also cooperative which means that the milk farmers got shares so everybody is working in partnership to ensure that they achieve the best product quality possible.

Do they have cheese that is ordered by their customers? 

 The way we work is to organise the commercial contact between the cheese factories and UK customers. We don’t do online shopping ourselves, but we make sure that everything is going well for the products to arrive in the UK.

Tour de France, Stage 12 – Isère

Text read by Mary Peters

Geneviève cycles through mountains to show us some breathtaking landscapes.

Welcome to Grand Colombier you leave the Rhône Valley and discover the summit of Grand Colombier, which dominates the valley and Lake Bourget. The area is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and biking trails.

The Col de Grand Colombier (the pass) is one of the steepest passes in France. It is one of the major stages in the Tour de France. Coming from Bugey, the gradient is 20%.

This is the view from the top, looking down on the river Yenne and onto the village of Culoz.

Bugey has its own AOC wines. There are some 500 hectares of grapes that are used to make red and rosé wines. Activities include dog sledge rides in winter, snowshoe excursions, climbing.

In 1999, Bugey started to cultivate truffles. In the 19th century, the truffle rose could be found in the region. Now, a group of mushroom lovers began growing black truffles and selling them in a local truffle market.

Vercors Regional Nature Park

The Nature park straddles two Departments,  Drôme and Isère and covers 206.8 ha. It is an alpine landscape and the Grand Veymont rises to an altitude of 2,341 metres.

The park is rich with natural treasures, wild and stunning landscapes, limestone cliffs, deep gorges, chasms and caves. Green valleys, mountain pastures and forests.  All to impress the tourists and the locals.

In this exceptional area, you find diverse flora and fauna. Many animals live here, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. Especially the Alpine ibex, like our friend here. Protected plant species and orchids also grow in this park.

Do outdoor activities in this park and if you are lucky, encounter some local wildlife.

The Route Napoléon is a 325 km long tourist road. It passes through pretty villages and scenic mountain countryside. Napoléon used this road to make his way from Elba back to Paris.

Château de Vizilles is full of history. It was important because the Assembly of the Three Orders of the Dauphiné met there on the 20th July 1788. It became known as the Assembly of Vizilles and was the first step in the events that led to the French Revolution in 1789. This castle was also the summer residence of the French Presidents from 1925 – 1960. Today it houses an interesting museum on French history.

La Tour du Pin is a town located between Lyon and Grenoble. It has been a strategic town since the Gallo Roman era because it is located on the Road connecting Lyon, Vienna and neighbouring Italy. Today, it is possible to admire many architectural remains that trace the entire history of the town.

Villard des Lans

This is a winter and summer sports resort located at the foot of the Grand Moucherolle in the Vercos Regional Nature Park. It is a popular family destination all year round. Many sports activities for children and adults. You can also go to the Heritage House to learn about life in the mountains.

Just a hop, skip and a jump and we will be in Grenoble. See you there.