Wednesday, March 28, 2012



When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness,
She is standing right in front of me,
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be... Whisper words of wisdom,
Let it be!

As we discovered in class the other evening, not many people are aware that Paul McCartney wrote this song while strolling along the Canteras prom in Las Palmas  in mid 1967, savoring a Mus de Gofio ice cream cone from the Peña la Vieja ice cream stand near Playa Chica. `(He had actually ordered tutti frutti but this flavor had not reaced the Canary Islands at that stage in time). The sun was blinding hot but all of a sudden, everything went dark and the Mary of Pine (Ntra Sra del Pino) appeared right in front of the wayward Beatle who knew this magic, holy encounter would engender a great song. He shared the basic melody and lyrical ideas with John Lennon once back in Liverpool. Together they fashioned a modern day classic. If it hadn't have been for the generous spirit of Our Lady from Teror, Let it Be would have been a Let Down!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Letter to Paul (by Cristina P)


Our NI2 class just finished the book Two Lives in which Megan and Hugh are reunited after 50 years.

Here is Cristina's imaginary letter from Megan to Paul, the fiancé who was left behind. Great work, Cristina!

Tredonald, Wales
7 March 2012
Dear Paul,

I want to write you because you left the village so quickly that I couldn´t give you an explanation. You deserve much more. 
You have been the most important person in my life for the last few years, you gave me hope.
But I don´t want to deceive you or myself. As you know, Hugh was my teenage love and I thought
that this love had been broken. He never replied to my letters, I thought, and I was so disappointed.
When I learned all the truth, I didn´t believe it, I have been living a lie, and it makes me reconsider Beth's life and my own feelings. I still love Huw and that´s what my heart says.
I can´t waste this opportunity, and you deserve someone who loves you more than I could do.
I don´t blame you if you bear me a grudge, but I would hope that someday you can forgive me because I wish nothing but the best for you.

Best wishes,

Joe Clark in Context

Follow this link to a film of the song Old Joe Clark in its natural domain. It is a used as an American square dance tune and if you are patient, at the end of the clip you learn how it fits. Notice the tempo and jaunty style. Have fun!


This is one of the most singable songs in the English language, simple and straightfoward, with thousands of verses which can be improvised as the mood takes you. Even the chorus varies as we have hinted here. I include here only some of my favorite verses and two choruses that I know, among many others. Enjoy!

1) I went down to Old Joe's house
That no good lonesome pup
He made me wear the ball n chain 
And drank my likker up.

Fare-thee-well Old Joe Clark
Fare-thee-well I say
I follow you 10,000 miles
To hear your banjo play
2) Old Joe Clark he had a house
Fifteen stories high
Every floor in Old Joe's house
Were filled with chicken pie

3) Old Joe Clark had a yellow cat
She would neither sing nor pray
Stuck her head in a buttermilk jar
And washed her sins away

4) Old Joe Clark, the preacher's son
Preached all over the plain
The only text he knew by heart
Was high low jack and the game
 (Last chorus)
Fare thee well Old Joe Clark
Fare thee well I'm bound
Fare thee well Old Joe Clark
Goodbye Betsy Brown

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Essay Criticizing Zoos

 Here is an opinion piece about zoos. It is well structured and contains interesting vocabulary. It may be useful for my NI2 students of English.

The human being´s superiority to animals means that we have always tended to treat them badly. Many are used to work, others to earn money for us, others to research consumer products. In my opinion, keeping animals in zoos is generally just another example of this cruel treatment.
Firstly,  many zoos are old and dirty and the animals are kept in miserable conditions. Often the cages are so small that the animals suffer psychologically, for example the polar bear, which eventually goes mad in captivity
Secondly, the animals often live in a climate which is not natural to them. This means that elephants may have to tolerate cold and rain, or penguins heatwaves.
On the other hand, it is true that a few good zoos play an important role in the conservation of species. However, these are a minority, and in any case this job is better done in protected areas in the countries where the animals usually live.
In conclusion, I think that most zoos should be closed down, an animals should only be kept in captivity in conservation areas where they live in the natural environment. And if people really want to see animals from far-away countries, they should watch the wildlife documentaries on TV.

Friday, March 9, 2012

TWO LIVES (Our first novel)

After reading the novel Two Lives, Alberto  (NI 2 A) wrote this imaginary letter from Megan to Paul, concerning her decision to go back to Hugh after 50 years. It is quite a moving love story and this is quite a letter. Thanks, Alberto!                                                                                                                                        

October 1996
My dear Paul,
I totally understand why you feel so upset. I have to say SORRY, it's been all my fault and I didn't want to hurt you this way.
You have helped me a lot through all these years. When I've needed support you've given it, that's something I'll never forget. But I have to tell you the truth. I've always been in love with Huw, since we were children. My father made a wrong decision which took us far away from each other for all these years. However, destiny has found us and I can't ignore it....for Huw...for me.
I comprehend this is tough for you, but I also hope you finally accept this relationship just as I'll be the happiest woman in the world if you find that love you deserve.
With all my love

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cecilia: Our Cuban Expert

Our NB 1 student Cecilia gave a wonderful talk on the geology, culture, music and customs of her native island of Cuba. The whole class enjoyed her many insights into that amazing island, the pearl of the Caribbean. It was amazing to learn that Cuba measures more than 1,000 kilometres from its easterly most point all the way the west coast. Now that is a big island!

Why so Glum Chum?

Lumi's friend Mo is feeling a little sad. So Lumi (NI 2) wrote this letter to cheer her friend up.

                                       March 3, 2012

Dear Mo,

I have just finished reading your letter and I wanted to reply straight away because I cannot believe you are so depressed.

Maybe you are working too much: your job, your housework, your responsibilities with your two sons, their homework. Too many things and there are only twenty-four hours in a day.

Have you thought about getting a time off? Do not worry about your sons. They can come to my house and I will look after them. They will surely enjoy themselves with my daughter and me. Then, you can go on holiday, for example. I know you cannot be much time without them, but you need a rest just for a few days, don’t you?

As I suppose you want a place that is not too far from here, you can go to my flat at Arinaga beach, a wonderful place for relaxing. It is quite quiet and there are a lot of things to do. The weather is great because it is hot all the time, although it is a little windy. There are a lot of restaurants for eating, some beaches for swimming and good places for surfing.I like eating fresh fish in a restaurant that is close to the sea and seeing the waves in the beach. I really recommend it for relaxing.

I hope you agree with me and take your holidays now. Write soon, please. I am very concerned about you.

Best wishes