Friday, June 03, 2011

Being appreciative in the south of England, 1.

In fact I didn't take an enormous number of photographs in England, compared to what I usually do when I go away. We were only there for two whole days, and I wasn't able to enter my usual leisurely gawping and clicking mode  because I was being a bossy tour guide, which wasn't really compatible with it.

I was accompanying a small group of my very grown-up English-learning students, with their attendant spouses, on a whistle-stop tour out of Southampton to visit places of touristic interest in Hampshire and Wiltshire. In fact they didn't really need me bossing them about much at all, since they are, as I say, very grown-up and quite capable of self-direction, and were also very good sports, drinking tea with milk every afternoon and eating bacon and eggs, with gusto (waiter, can I have some gusto with this please...?) every morning.  However, they did occasionally need a bit if chivvying because they were just so busy enjoying everything, or fell in with people there who were so interested in showing them things, that I sometimes had to tap my watch and shoo them along, when the estimable Paul the Minibus Driver had already been waiting on an unauthorised taxi rank for a while or was needing to get to his next airport pick-up job.

But I took a few pictures and, happily, others took plenty, notably Hervé.  Hervé is a personable, quiet chap who is married to Madé, whom I teach.  He carried a mean-looking and powerful camera with him at all times, which I noticed at first but quickly stopped noticing, as while he used it a lot he didn't make a fuss about it.  Within a couple of days of our return he had sent round an on-line album of beautifully edited, lovely photos, which he generously said I could help myself to.  Some of his architectural and landscape shots were so gorgeous I was tempted to nick the lot and pass them off as my own, but I resisted and just borrowed a few.

So, as I say, I had to be a bossy tour guide,

that's me in authoritarian black with the waggy finger, trying to get the order for lunch sorted out outside the Cassandra's Cup tea rooms in Chawton. The disembodied hand counting to three in the foreground is  that of Bernard, who was being of great help in marking down the exact number of quiche, jacket potatoes, apple crumble, lemon drizzle cake etc required or desired.

I think one of the reasons I've been stalling a bit about blogging about this trip, is that there are  so many people and things I want to express my appreciation of and admiration for, that I haven't known quite where to start, and I fear posts that end up resembling Oscar acceptance speeches.  For one reason and another the organisation of it wasn't without stress, but over and over people when we got there were kind and helpful and conscientious and enthusiastic.

So perhaps I'll just try to do a string of little posts, and gush freely about what and whosoever.

Left to right, me - pulling what Tom calls my funny photo face - my lovely sister Helli, who joined us, kept me company, picked up my stuff after me and generally cheerfully fitted in with whatever I had to do, and Madé, who's married to Hervé', who's taking the photo.

More anon.


HLiza said...

I don't know if you've put up photos of you before but this is the first time I ever see your face clearly..hello Lucy! It must be quite a busy time for you organizing a group but also a very fun one I supposed!

zephyr said...

Yes...Hello, Lucy!!
You look like 3 women i would enjoy very, very much.

Catalyst said...

Ah, yes, Lucy, it is good to put a face to your name after all this time. And such a nice face at that!

Thank you, Herve!

Dick said...

Good to see you again, Lucy. Norfolk for us this year: yearnings for Brittany have to be balanced with budget!

christopher said...

Yes! Thank you for your presence at last. What a great and beautiful surprise. I am happy to know that your journey turned out well. I take it that the journey was at least as much about speaking English as it was about touring.

Lucy said...

Thanks people.

In fact I have occasionally posted photos of myself here, and I tend to keep a small one on the sidebar over at Out with Mol, but they are quite easily missed, and that's rather how I'm happy to keep it! Also, webcam and arm's length or mirror self-portraits are slightly distorting, making one's face look oddly too convex and not very recognisable.

In fact looking at the three of us, Madé and Helli look more likie sisters than H and I do! Madé's got that nice warm expression people sometimes have when it's their loved one taking the photo.

Re the speaking English: they didn't have to speak very much, and chattered in French among themselves (and with the hotel manager!), but I made sure they had to fend for themselves a bit, and I noticed that even the spouses who don't learn English with me, and who came without much, were trying out little bits and pieces and ordering familiar things by the end, and of my students, when they returned to class on Tuesday they were expressing themselves more confidently, so obviously it had some effect.