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"Paul’s work on the international curriculum over 10 years ensured that Sefton was in the vanguard nationally in developing staff and student exchanges and study visits. His language skills were paramount in this as the department and Sefton schools expanded their links to include many countries in Europe and the world."
Bryn Marsh, Director, Children, Schools and Familes, Sefton Council, April 2005

One thing leads to another ... PDF
Friday, 05 February 2010 00:00

  altWe were on holiday in Tenerife in February 1991 and on the Sunday decided to go out for a drive and to have a picnic in one of the many roadside picnic areas that are a feature of the Spanish countryside.
So we bought our provisions at the local shop and then headed off in the sunshine for our day out. 

Come lunchtime we pulled into a nice looking picnic area and set up our lunch on one of the fixed tables.  The area was quite busy with extended Spanish families enjoying their traditional picnic or barbecue out in the fresh air.  Next to us was a group of about a dozen locals having a paella that they had prepared right there.  As they cleared away the men began playing cards and some others started taking photos.
As was often my wont in those days I offered to take one so that they could all be on it, and the rest is history!  We were immediately taken under their wing.  They’d never come across foreign tourists who could speak Spanish before.  Also they were fascinated by our two blond-ish children, then aged seven and three, and made a great fuss of them.  They insisted we ate some of their paella and drank their wine and I was invited to join in the card game.  To this day I don’t have a clue what it was called or how you play it, but we had fun.
It was carnival time on the island and a young engaged couple, part of the group, invited us to join them the following evening at the parade in Puerto de la Cruz.  Naturally we accepted and the following evening we met Candy and Carlos and had a nice time in their company.  The following day they invited us to Candy’s parents’ restaurant up in the hills, to meet mum and dad and to try dad’s traditional food.  What a lovely time we had, and all on the house.  
On the day we left the island, Candy and Carlos came to the airport to wave us off.  We promised to keep in touch, which we did by post (no emails in those days, remember).  One thing led to another and ... two months later we were back again, but more about that another day...

©  Paul Whitelock




Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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