Having changed professions and lived in different countries, I have a wide range of interests including, of course, travel, cultures, languages and cuisines of Europe, Asia and South-East Asia.
I love reading, watching films, going to galleries, concerts and the theatre and discovering hidden gems in our local area.
I like visiting local markets, gardening, growing fruit and vegetables, eating out and eating in and looking after my pets.
I also love walking, cycling, swimming, horse-riding and skiing. And I can usually be persuaded to try
I live with my husband Mark and my daughter Isabella comes to visit regularly. We have a large circle of friends, including English, Irish and English-speaking ex-pats with whom we meet
I have taught English in the UK, Bangladesh and France, including secondary school children and business people. I take pride in really trying to give people what they need.
As such I have take on the challenge of teaching English to South American cleaners to Bangladeshi Police Officers and to young people with specific learning needs.
Some learners really blossom with one to one attention, others need to the stimulus of group work to make good progress and I enjoy helping my students achieve the best they can in whatever way suits them best. I have plenty of my own resources to help you achieve your objectives.
THE SOCIAL PROGRAMME
There is so much to do in this area, there's surely something for everyone! Right here in our village we have an medieval abbey, the abbaye de Saint-Sever de Rustan. The abbey always has something on: exhibitions, concerts or special events such as the floralie - the flower market in spring.
Like sports? Well, we lend out bicycles and there are walks and rides directly from the house. There's also golf, horse-riding, and hiking or skiing in the mountains. Watersports and swimming either in local lakes or on the Atlantic coast are a great way to spend an afternoon in the summer.
For those interested in sightseeing, there are the historic towns of Lourdes, Pau and Auch; abbeys, chateaux and Roman ruins such as at St Bertrand de Comminges. Stunning views are just over an hour's drive on the peaks of the Pyrenees.
Most people are interested in French food and wine, and there are plenty of markets, vineyards and shops to visit. Tarbes has a great market, nice patisseries and also other shops to explore. If you like visiting supermarkets in other countries, Spain is only an hour away.
Evenings can be spent going to see films (in English), playing board games, watching a dvd or reading one of our books. If you're too tired, we can just enjoy a nice meal together, watch English tv and have a nice chat over a nightcap.
After learning English formally, have tuition every afternoon in painting, sketching and drawing by my husband Mark Tooms, teacher and artist. The lessons would be tailored to the areas that you would like to work on in the media you prefer - oils, acquarelles, water colours, charcoal, etc. Depending on the weather, trips can be made to local beauty spots such as viewpoints or villages of outstanding interest. Mark is also a sculptor and would love to work with you either sculpting wood or stone. With a ten hour package you should be able to take a completed work back with you.
If you have always wanted to learn how to cook regional French cuisine,this is the place to do it. We live in the heart of Gascony, and Mark can take you to the local markets and show you how to make seasonal savoury and/or sweet dishes from this area. I can also show you how to make jam (in season). A typical day might involve a trip to the market in the morning, then come back for English lessons which may include a look at some recipes. In the afternoon you will cook your chosen dishes with our help and in the evening, we will enjoy a three-course meal together.
We are not wine snobs nor are we expert critics, but we do like wine and we know that many of the wines drunk here are a total surprise to our visitors. Far from being some second rate plonk, there are appellations here that rival any other wine in France, but with a character totally of their own. A 5 hour package should give us enough time to visit a couple of the local vineyards or caves (wine cellars) and try local grapes and wines not readily available in the UK, such as: Jurancon, Madiran, Saint Mont, Pacherenc Vil-Bilh and Irrouleguy from the Basque country. I will be able to give you an English commentary on the wines you aretrying, based on the information of the growers.
We have an English friend and neighbour in the next village with two lovely, friendly horses which you can ride in either the school or take out on a hack, depending on your ability and wish. Ride a friendly horse on a neighbour's farm and have English instruction and advice from either myself or Sandra.
There are plenty of walks locally around the surrounding villages, through fields, woods and over hills. Further afield in the Baronies and High Pyrenees are more demanding walks to beauty spots, lakes and summits. If you like, we can do sections of the famous GR10 - the long walk that traverses the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. We can take you on walks ranging from 1 hour to 5 hours from easy to intermediate level at a steady pace - just bring your walking boots.
We can cater for vegetarians, as well as for allergies such as wheat or lactose intolerances. We usually provide a mixture of English, French and Asian cooking, all made from very fresh ingredients from the market or from our garden.
For breakfast we have fresh croissants,bread with homemade jams and a choice of cereals, yoghurts, fruit, juices and hot drinks.
For lunch we have something light like soup or salad (usually from the garden) with bread, cheese, ham and fruit.
In the afternoon we have either tea and biscuits or, a little later, aperitifs with olives and other finger foods.
Saint-Sever de Rustan is in south-west France, in the area formerly known as Gascony. It is in a very rural part of France and enjoys a mild climate.
Our house is a large village house, originally built around 1850. It has a lovely, secluded garden and most of the summer is spent alfresco.
About 50 m from the house is the shallow Arros river, lined with green banks, picnic tables and a play area. It is a favourite with kids.
Across the bridge and opposite the abbey (about 200 m) is the bistro. Apart from good value lunches, the bistro sells stamps and bread, and is also often open for coffee and drinks in the afternoon.
Our neighbouring villages have weekly markets, banks, grocery shops, restaurants and cafes. There is also a bus service to
THE TEACHER’S HOMEANDTHE STUDENT ACCOMODATION
Our house is a large village house, originally built around 1850. It has a lovely, secluded garden and most of the summer is spent alfresco. About 50 m from the house is the shallow Arros river, lined with green banks, picnic tables and a play area. It is a favourite with kids.
I started my working life in journalism and marketing, and worked with some well-known
companies. However, once I started marketing a school, I became attracted to the
profession of teaching and have never looked back.