Rugby Under 20 World Championship - in Vannes

Vannes has been buzzing for the last couple of weeks.

The Junior Rugby World Championship has been taking place right on our doorstep.

I said to Richard, "If England or Wales get to the final, let's go and see them."

And what do you know, BOTH England and Wales found themselves in the final.

So - we got our tickets.....

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..... and off we went to the stadium.


First, the playoff for 3rd & 4th place : Baby Boks v The Baby Blacks

(That's South Africa against New Zealand)

v = versus (against)

Here they are in the lineout:


South Africa won the match.

Between the two matches, I met some interesting people in the stadium.

Some fabulous Welsh ladies:

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A couple of South African supporters:

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And Mr Cowan - Dicke, whose son plays for England. He told me he was very, very proud.

He has every right to be proud of his son, too!

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Richard & I had a chat with some VIP England Officials:

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The match started, so I got out my Dragon - allez les rouges!

(Well, my name is Welsh, after all - Bronwen Edwards)

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Wales started really well, but England made a great comeback.

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And they went on to win the tournement!

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Better luck next time, Wales.

And thank you to everyone who agreed to let me take their photo and publish it on the English Connection blog.

It was great talking to you all!

Xavier's News 2

Here's a little update about Xavier:

He has recovered very well from his spinal operation, which took place nearly 3 weeks ago.

Today, Tuesday 25th June, he is having another operation, this time on his feet (achilles tendon), so that they can be put into the correct position.

The family will fly home to the UK next week.

His surgeon, Dr Park, believes that after two years of intensive physiotherapy, Xavier will be able to walk on his own.


We will, of course, continue to blog his progress and let you know how he is getting on.

You can see him having his physio sessions if you visit his Facebook page. (You do not need to be a member of Facebook to see it!)

Xavier's News 1.

Lots of you have been asking about Xavier, so here is a little news update about him:


Xavier will be flying to America on 1st June.
His neuro-surgery will take place on 4th June and he will stay in hospital for about 5 days.

He will start to have intensive physiotherapy every day, then on 13th June he will have orthopedic surgery on his feet.
Post operative treatment will continue on a daily basis.
The family will fly back to the UK at the end of the month.


My aunty Jean, my cousin Gavin and his wife Sharanjit send their enormous gratitude to everyone at English Connection who has helped to raise money to send him to the States for these life-changing operations.

The students at English Connection raised 1 124,00€
This came from the following events: Cake Week; Book Week; Indian Meal; English Meal & Ladies Afternoon Tea.

While I was organising these events, I naturally chatted to various relatives and personal friends about what I was doing, and between them, they donated another 1 977,00€, seperately, privately, discreetly and directly to Xavier's charity page or bank account. Some of them didn't even tell me!

Two of my friends made very considerable and generous donations. They didn't want any fanfare or fuss about it, but I think there should be a little bit of recognition for their kindness: Bernard & Graham - you are stars! Thank you both so much for your amazing generosity.

So the GRAND TOTAL that you all raised is: 3 101,00€

We can't thank you enough.

You can follow Xavier's news on his Facebook page:

And from time to time I will give you little updates on his progress too.

Hello from the Ukraine!

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a student called Sabina in the Ukraine.

This is what she wrote:

Hello, Bronwen.

My name is Sabina. I'm from Eastern part of Ukraine. Today I've been surfing the Internet in search some more information about FCE testing (which I am going to pass this June). And I reached your article "How to write a story". I found your material really useful and incredibly interesting either for my preparation or to my hobby in creating stories.

As for me, I want to pass FCE test because I'd like to have some reward in such field of study as language. Also it means for me a symbolic point in English which gives me a start, an opportunity to pass DELF/DALF exams in near future.

Thank you for sharing an experience in this exam.

Yours faithfully,

Thank you for such a lovely e-mail, Sabina, and good luck with your exams!

Anyone else want to say "hello" from another part of the world?

You can now also say "hello" by going to our (very) new Facebook page.

English for International Journalists

I was fortunate enough to be given a copy of a new text book last week (it was published in February 2013) and it’s a great addition to my library of English teaching resources.

Here it is:

English for International Journalists

“English for International Journalists” by Mike Gandon, published by Routledge.

ISBN: 978-0-415-60970-8

This is a handy sized book if you teach English at C1 or C2 level to students who are preparing for a career in international journalism. It covers all practical aspects of journalism such as making the initial contact with a potential interviewee, the best interviewing techniques, radio broadcasting, impartial reporting, sensitive issues and writing comments, opinions and blogs.

It also explores the difficulties of phrasal verbs,tricky grammar and a style of English which I call "journalese" - that's to say the special lexical and grammatical style that you only usually find in newspapers.

The book has been written by Mike Gandon, who is a former programme editor with the BBC, so it’s full of real journalistic language as used by the BBC and various UK newspapers.

This book is for you if:

• You are a teacher of general English to Advanced or Proficiency level students. Even if you don’t teach potential journalists, there are lots of interesting observations on the English language that can be used in a general English classroom.

• You are currently studying journalism but English is not your first language and you wish to improve your understanding of idiomatic English, journalistic English and the general culture of reporting and interviewing in the English speaking world.

• You are already a working journalist and you want to improve your English writing or speaking but don't have the time to attend English lessons. You can easily dive in and out of this book and there are “test yourself” exercises throughout (with answers).

• You need a reference book just to check that your English is correct when writing in a journalistic style.

English for International Journalists is supported by online resources where you can listen to and practice correct intonation and pronunciation.

The paperback price (on Amazon) is $24 or £19.99

English for International Journalists is also available in hardback.

Team Xavier France

Xavier’s News

The sum of money required has been reached, thanks to an anonymous donation of £33,000!

Xavier will have the operation at the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital, USA on 4th June. The flight has been booked.

As there are still lots of fund raising events in the pipeline, “Help Xavier” will change its name to “Team Xavier” and the family will now continue to raise funds for other children who need the same operation.

Team Xavier France (that’s us at English Connection) will hold our final event – “Book Week” and the money raised will be passed on to another child in need.


8th - 12th APRIL

Books, Magazines, DVDs & CDs

No fixed price. Please help yourself, and make a donation.

This will be our last fundraising event.

Thank you all so much for your support.

Hello from The Basque Country

I received a polite little e-mail last week from an English teacher called Sheila.

This is what she wrote:

I'm an English teacher in the Basque Country and I read some of your posts last week. I used your blog in class, so I wanted to thank you for all that information,
I found it really helpful and so did my students.



Thank you, Sheila, for your kind words. I'm very pleased to get feedback about my blog articles.

Any other EFL students or teachers out there, who'd like to say hello? I'll happily publish any letters or photos you send me.

Send to:

How to pass FCE writing …..Part 3 :STORY

( To find FCE Writing Part 1 – General advice /FCE Writing marking system and Part 2 REPORTS - look in the "exam" section of my blog posts - on the right in the purple box.)

If you enjoy writing stories, you have a good imagination and lots of ideas, writing a STORY in part 2 of the FCE writing exam is a good choice for you.

Your story will be better and will get more marks if you include…

1. Three different tenses. You want to show the examiner that you know the story telling tenses, which are:- a) Simple Past b) Past Continuous c) Past Perfect.
Here’s an example: It was raining. (Past continuous) Billy hadn’t eaten for two days. (Past perfect) He saw some apples. He decided to steal them. (Simple past).
Of course, in order to use these tenses you absolutely MUST know all your irregular verbs!

2. Adjectives: It was raining. Billy hadn’t eaten for two days, so he was wet, hungry and miserable. He saw some delicious, red apples. He decided to steal them.

3. Adverbs: It was raining hard. Billy hadn’t eaten for two days, so he was wet, hungry and miserable. He saw some delicious red apples and quickly decided to steal them.

4. Direct speech: “Hey, you!” shouted the shopkeeper, “I know you, Billy Brown! I’ll tell your mum!”

5. Rich vocabulary, good grammar, detail and idiomatic expressions: Examples: Quick as a flash – soaking wet – starving hungry –to grab – to pass away – an idea popped into his head – to go straight (to hospital) (home) – to have a little chat


Write a STORY in an appropriate style. Your story must start or finish with the words: Grandpa Jo would be proud of him.

It was raining hard. Billy hadn’t eaten for two days, so he was soaking wet and very miserable. Passing a greengrocer’s, he noticed some delicious, red apples . He quickly decided to steal them. He grabbed two and started to run.
“Hey, you!” shouted the shopkeeper, “I know you, Billy Brown! I’ll tell your mum!”
Billy ran to the park where he found a dry place to sit and eat. He wasn’t worried about the shopkeeper telling his mum. He didn’t care about his mum, his teachers or the police. He only cared about Grandpa Jo, and Grandpa Jo had passed away last week leaving Billy to face the world alone.
Billy didn’t know what to do. He was 17 and had no money, no qualifications, no family – except his mother who he rarely saw. He closed his eyes and thought about his granddad. Suddenly an idea popped into his head. He walked back into town and went straight into a small office where there was a Union Jack in the window. “Can I help you?” asked the man in uniform at the desk. “Yes”, said Billy, “I want to join the army.”
“I see” replied the officer. “I think you’d better sit down, then. We need to have a little chat.”
Billy sat down and smiled. He knew that, wherever he was, Grandpa Jo would be proud of him.

So – to recap – 3 tenses/adverbs/adjectives/direct speech/idiomatic expressions/rich vocabulary ……and always double check your grammar & spelling.


Comment prononcer la date en anglais

Niveau élémentaire

Back in 2010, there was a debate in the English speaking world on how to pronounce the date.
En 2010, il y avait un dispute dans le monde anglophone sur la prononciation de la date.

I said on this blog that the English preferred to say "twenty-ten", rather than "two thousand and ten".
J'ai dit ici que les anglais allaient dire " twenty-ten" au lieu de " two thousand and ten"

So, we have had twenty-ten, twenty-eleven, the twenty-twelve olympic games, and now here we are in twenty-thirteen.

Voilà - les années sont passées comme ci-dessus.

So you see, I was right!
Alors, vous voyez, j'avais raison!

Just to make sure you know how to say the date in English, here is a quick lesson:
Voici une petite révision de la prononciation des dates en anglais:

1066 - ten sixty-six
1401 - fourteen "o" one (yes, the zero is pronounced like the letter "o")
1815 - eighteen fifteen
1907 - nineteen "o" seven
1945 - nineteen forty-five
1999 - nineteen ninety-nine

Now it changes... et maintenant ça change...

2000 - two thousand
2001 - two thousand and one
2009 - two thousand and nine

Now it changes back... et maintenant c'est le retour de la première structure.. et voici la cause de la dispute. Certains voudraient garder la structure "two thousand and..."

2010 - twenty-ten
2012 - twenty-twelve
2013 - twenty- thirteen

What's the date today?

In British English we write: Tuesday, 8th January 2013 or 8/1/13 (à l'écrit)
And we say: It's Tuesday the eighth of January, twenty-thirteen.
(à l'orale)

But the Americans put the month before the day, so today is: January 8th and it is written 1/8/13.
(Les américains n'écrivent pas la date de la même manière, donc attention! Ils mettent le mois avant le jour.)

We do not say: "the three May", we say "the third of May"
Aussi, on ne dit pas "le trois mai" on dit (littéralement) "le troisième de mai"

First - 1st ******21st twenty-first******31st thirty-first
second - 2nd******22nd twenty-second
third - 3rd******23rd twenty-third
fourth - 4th******24th twenty-fourth
fifth - 5th
twentieth -20th

So, 23/5/75 is: the twenty-third of May, nineteen seventy-five

Tomorrow will be : 9/1/2013 : the ninth of January, twenty-thirteen

P.S Don't forget that the first letter of months and days is always a CAPITAL LETTER.

Monday / Wednesday (not monday / wednesday)

February / September (not february / september)

Fortunately, Unfortunately

Classe: 3ème

Objectif: écrire une histoire courte en anglais, employant les adverbes: Fortunately et Unfortunately

Written by Julie & Juliette

It was my birthday last week..

Unfortunately, my family forgot it

Fortunately, my friends remembered

Unfortunately, they didn't say anything

Fortunately, they arranged a surprise party

Unfortunately, I didn't see my boyfriend

Fortunately, he was making a cake

Unfortunately, his cake was disgusting!

By Arthur, Arnould, François

There was a really good film on TV last night...

Unfortunately, the TV was broken

Fortunately, I had a computer

Unfortunately, it had a virus

Fortunately, a friend invited me to see the film at his house

Unfortunately, I didn't have a car

Fortunately, I had a bike

Unfortunately, my brother had taken the bike

Fortunately, my friend came to get me.