I am Canadian but went to school and university in England and continued my professional career there too, so I have no Canadian accent - just British English! I spent a year abroad living and working in France before university, now I live here permanently with my wife Audrey, so my spoken and written French is good.
After studying Classical Civilisation at Sheffield University and afterwards teaching in a Comprehensive School, I changed direction and trained for the Construction Industry. That has been my main professional training and experience over 25 years becoming a Managing Director.
I obtained the CELTA qualification at a language school in Paris and now teach English full time. I have a modern classroom with desks, audio visual teaching aids, whiteboard etc. which I think operate very effectively. Because of my experience in business and commerce I can offer English for Professionals as well as General English, so all students are welcome!
I am passionate about Art and have my own studio and a couple of websites where I show my work. I have always been keen on sport and enjoy keeping fit down at the gym. Film is another great interest and I am on the committee of our local Arthouse Cinema group helping to run and choose the films. We often have Directors, Actors or Producers staying at our house when they come to "Present" their films. Music and Literature are also essential elements in my life.
We have a large group of friends and acquaintances,both English and French, in the town and surrounding countryside. Our children in the UK are either studying at university or working, so they visit us occasionally - which is nice! We are members of a local'Franglais Group' which meets once a week for informal conversation in French and English plus tea and cakes!!
I studied at Leeds University for a Post Graduate teaching Certificate and spent some time teaching in a Comprehensive School in England, but have only recently returned to teaching full time.
During my career in Construction I had experience of teaching apprentices. Since 2010 I have been a fulltime English teacher in France.
THE SOCIAL PROGRAMME
The students will have plenty of space and privacy because the house is very large. As well as a private garden there is also a games room with full billiard table and music to listen to up in the attic. In the salon there is a piano and guitar available to play.
The town of Barbezieux has much interesting architecture including a Chateau in the centre of town. Our house is situated in the old part of town so everywhere is within easy walking distance. Thereare shops, cafés, cinema, swimming pool,library etc. to visit.
Cognac and Angoulême are nearby cities with much to see and enjoy both ancient and modern. Bordeaux is a fabulous city and a World Heritage Centre.
The seaside is another option, in summer to swim and sunbathe, during the other seasons, to walk the beautiful coastal paths.
There is a Twinning Committee in Barbezieux with links to Italian and German towns. There are often cultural exchanges and events to enjoy at various times of the year.
There is a theatre in the Chateau de Barbezieux with a good programme of plays and musical events which students could enjoy.
We have bicycles that the students may borrow to explore the locality both town and countryside.
The local open air swimming pool is of course only open during summer months but there is a huge leisure centre and pool/spa/ gym/ sauna in the nearby town of Jonzac.
If Students wish to pursue Artistic pursuits, I will arrange a programme of work both in the studio and en plein air. They can work with me in a variety of media... watercolour, pastel, acrylic and charcoal. There are two other officially accredited Artists Studios in Barbezieux where lessons are offered to students with materials provided.
There is a Music Conservatoire in Barbezieux which gives lessons and depending upon student demand and availability I could organize some activities. Although I don't teach music myself, the musical instruments in the salon, guitar and piano are available to students if they wish to play.
There is a splendid outdoor and indoor tennis centre with lessons available from a professional coach.
Barbezieux has its own gym and Salle de Musculation for those interested in keeping fit, but gentler exercises such as Tai Chi and aerobics are also offered... or there are plenty of jogging/walking paths along the old railway line. There is a football and rugby stadium with a good fixture list.
An Equestrian Centre in the town provides for people who love riding horses.
Audrey adores cooking, she is an Artist in the kitchen. There is such a wide variety and choice of superb food and wine in France and in particular in this very fertile region of Cognac which is only an hour from the sea and an hour from Bordeaux. The local speciality is a particular breed of chicken - the largest in France - but fish and shellfish from nearby are also extremely popular and delicious. Beef, veal, pork, wonderful fruits and vegetables. Everything is available thanks to a very agreeable climate.
Barbezieux is an ancient market town in the south of Charente, situated a few kilometres away from the main Paris/ Bordeaux route. It is famous for being in the Cognac region and produces some of France's finest vintages. The town has all modern services, banks and facilities - except for a railway station!The nearest TGV line is at Angoulême 30 kms. Away.
There are three markets a week for local produce and other goods. There is a large Hospital, Lycée, Collège and Ecole Maternelle as well as a private Catholic School. The region receives the second most hours of sunshine after the Côte d'Azûr.