10 Good Questions

Two years ago, an EFL Textbook called OUP Headway used our stories and songs to help teach English.

Since then, schools in Argentina, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia etc. have sent us their classroom questions.

This list of enquiries arrived from Katerina in the Czech Republic, teacher at the Kurzy Klement language school in Pisek (twinned with Caerphilly).

In Katerina’s classroom are mugs emblazoned with the Union Jack, and on her wall is pinned a large map of Britain. We can’t help thinking, it’s often people far from the UK who hold the dream of Albion most strongly.

We seek to encourage this dream, wherever it’s found. For is this not the hedged and wild-flowered land, of green hills and forests, ancient chapels and castles, twinkling rivers and mountain lakes?

Ed Skirrid Fawr

Here are the questions given by: Jirka, Jindriska, Vasek, Ilona, Jana, Andrea, Petr, Zdenka – and their teacher Katerina. And here are answers:

(Click more to read on)…

1. What was the strangest place you spent the night?

The strangest place we’ve slept…was perhaps a very haunted house in the Cotswolds, a region of small hills north of Bristol.

Every room in the house made us shiver, and one room we couldn’t even enter, as the air felt like jelly.

But the night’s events were odder still. Late after midnight, we foiled a robbery by pretending to be ghosts. As soon as we made noises, the robbers just screamed and ran away!

Other places were odd too – caves, chapels, ancient hilltop forts, skittle alleys, under boats, barns and stables, small islands, towers and castles.

Sometimes, the most surprising place to stay is in the house of strangers you’ve only just met.

2. How did you choose the places to stay overnight – especially in the woods?

In the woods we look for ‘broadleaf’ trees like Oak, Ash, Chestnut and Hazel, rather than ‘evergreens’ like Pine and Spruce. We find broadleaf trees much friendlier to sleep around.

We choose areas with flat, slightly raised ground, so rain can’t puddle underneath us.

We make sure we’re near water, but not close enough for biting insects to be a problem.

We always look for spaces where we can’t be seen from houses or pathways.

Before unpacking, we like to sit in silence for a few minutes…because sometimes our ears hear things our eyes can’t see.

 Bed under Beech

3. What kind of things (tools, equipment, ..) did you use to make you feel comfortable at night when sleeping outside?

For warmth, we carry sleeping bags and foam mats. To stay dry, we use tarpaulin sheets and bivy bags. We cook on fires with small metal pans.

Once these basics are covered, comfort is mostly a state of mind, and singing helps greatly with this.

4.What did you usually have for breakfast?

For breakfast, we usually eat oats and water, along with fruit or nuts if we can find them. Sometimes we’ll cook eggs, if we’ve met somebody selling them. If we’re really organized, we’ll have some sourdough toast too.

Will Ayla 2009

5.How many pairs of boots have you worn through?

That’s a good question. We’ve certainly got through lots of boots…maybe six pairs?

The secret we’ve recently learnt is to get the best boots you can, because they can be repaired. Cheap boots can be false economy, costing more in the long-run.

Also, remembering to regularly clean and wax your boots is very important. Leather doesn’t like sea-water, as salt corrodes it, so if you’re walking along the coast you’ve got to be extra careful!

6. How old is Holly?

Holly is nearly five now. She’s looking forward to this next walk, but I think she’ll also miss the fire at home.

7. Did you use water from rivers for cooking?

We use river and stream water for cooking, drinking and washing. We carry small water-filters. With these, we can fill a bag with any old water, and gravity pushes the water through pipes, till it’s filtered into perfectly drinkable H2O.

We used to simply boil our water, but we learned that some harmful chemicals, used in agriculture, don’t go away when you boil them. So now we filter everything, except Springs.

8. How many kilometers did you walk from home to London?

From home to London was a short little hop, about 120 km.

9. Did you sing for your supper on the journey to London?

On our way to London, we sang in three pubs, and also in one town centre, to win our breakfast and lunch.

A lady also arranged to meet and walk with us for a day, and when we sang to her, she bought us supper.

10. Where is Ginger?

Ginger’s living on a canal-barge, somewhere in Wiltshire, with his girlfriend and new baby. He works as a tree-surgeon, climbing about with chainsaws, and he’s very happy.

 

And that’s it! Thankyou Katerina and students, and all other English language learners, for your good questions. Keep them coming!

And please enjoy our next journey, in which we’ll share much more of the beautiful truth about Britain. It’ll be easiest to follow here:

(www.facebook.com/awalkaroundbritain)

 

Cheerio for now…

Will and Ed.

 

hurrah!

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