January 9, 2017
During December we ran our last course for 2016. We selected Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale for this special Christmas course and as always we had a wonderful, creative time here at Novel English!
The first two days of the course were devoted to the children’s’ creative writing projects, where they created their own Winter’s Tale, as well as reading the play and beginning improvisations. We decided to write and act out our own scene, based around the Oracle in Delphi which is not actually shown in Shakespeare’s original script but is obviously a turning point in the lives and fortunes of the characters.
On the penultimate day of the course, which fell on the Winter Solstice (21st of December), we headed down to the beach (perhaps you’d recognise it from the BBC’s Poldark series!) to do improvisation, and get a film of the children acting in an authentic setting! The raging December waves, high winds, and towering clifftops were perfect for the ‘bear scene’, when the character Antigonus sails to the shore of Bohemia to dispose of King Leontes’ unwanted baby daughter, Perdita, only to be killed soon after by a wandering bear (perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most bizarre and unexpected moments of writing!) The beach was also an apt time to perform Old Father Time’s speech, to signify the passing of time (16 years to be exact!) and Perdita’s growing up in a household of humble shepherds.
On the last evening the children stayed up late by the roaring fire in the Trelugga living room and played tradition Christmas games beside the fire.
On the last day the participants performed to the parents and families as usual, and everyone ate the huge homemade chocolate Yuletide log in celebration of Christmas.
As always we would like to thank all the participants and their families for helping make the course such a success! We do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and would like to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!
We are very sad to announce the death of Novel English’s resident zebra finch, Fledge, who passed away yesterday morning. He lived to a grand old age of 11 , which truly is remarkable for a bird of his size. He was especially special to us as he was hatched in the little nest where he spent his life and he has been buried in the new Novel English flower bed, where spring bulbs of daffodils and tulips are already beginning to sprout.
Earlier this month, we held the first of three special Charles Dickens weekend courses: we focused on ‘Oliver Twist’ and the plight of children in Vicotorian workhouses. The children went on to base their creative writing on the workhouse.
During the course, we focused up to the point where Oliver Twist is rescued from the street by a kindly benefactor, Mr Brownlow. Therefore, much of the focus was upon his horrible ‘bringing up by hand’ in the workhouse, being apprenticed to an undertaker and being put into the hands of the professional criminal Fagin.
The children, some of whom weren’t familiar with the work of Dickens, really enjoyed the opportunity of developing a short play based upon these points of the novel; they were fantastic at playing the rich characters that Dickens is famous for writing; Mr Bumble, the Artful Dodger, The Board and Noah Catchpole, to name but a few!
The children also enjoyed having the opportunity to eat traditional Dickensian fare: meat pies (with a vegetarian lentil bake for our vegetarian participant), sausages, baked apple and custard and, the all round favourite, Deadman’s Sleeve (or jam role-poly as it is more commonly known!)
At the end of the weekend, the children performed to parents and family and read out their creative writing in front of the fire.
As always, we would like to thank everyone for attending, the parents for bringing so much chocolate for the midnight feast (which led to moonlight scampers in the garden) and we hope to see you at our next Dickens weekend course (running in March 2017) where the main text will be ‘David Copperfield’ and we will be focusing on child apprentices in Victorian times.
During the October half term 2016, Novel English journeyed to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardary! The course was based all around that most loved first novel of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, where we follow 11 year old Harry as he discovers that he is a wizard and takes up his place at Hogwarts, where he faces adventure, mystery and the world of magic to which he belongs.
The course began with a welcome tea for the participants and their parents, which was an even more lively affair than usual, so excited were the children to begin the course! It was the busiest the Novel English dining room has ever looked, as the course was fully booked with eight children!
During the five days, the children held a first night midnight feast to illustrate Hagrid’s arrival into Harry’s 11 birthday night, chose their wands in a particularily magical way, journeyed into the Forbidden Forest at twilight with wellies and torches, and were sorted into their respective houses by the sorting hat.
All this activity was centred around plenty of feasting, food included lots of roasts and puddings varying from treacle tarts, apple crumbles and chocolate cakes!
The children took to the acting elements of the course enthusiastically, deciding amongst themselves which characters they were to play and the scenes they most wanted to concentrate on.
The play was performed to parents and family as usual on the final afternoon (luckily the weather held up so the we were able to perform outside) and a tea party consisting of specially made caldron cakes were consumed with wizard-like gusto!
As always, we would like to thank everyone who attended the course, and put so much hard work into it! We hope to see you at upcoming courses, not least Fantastical Worlds: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which will be held in a year’s time: October Half Term 2017!
September 13, 2016
A few weeks ago our latest Triumph of Love course took place here at Novel English! This time the course centred around Jane Austen, one of the most important and brilliant of our female English novelists. We looked in particular at ‘Emma’ and the four day course proved to be as busy and productive as ever! The children had a wonderful time indulging in all things 19th Century, including baking traditional Sally Lunn tea cakes, creating and writing menu cards (using traditional ink pens!) for their Austenesque tea party on the last day and playing plenty of badminton which in Austen’s time would have been called Shuttlecock! The weather was wonderful, and so the participants had plenty of opportunity to visit the beach and go on picnics during their stay. In addition to picnic food, the children were lucky enough to arrive just as blackberry season was beginning and so we had blackberry and rhubarb crumble for pudding after dinner!
On the last day the children set up their tea party for their parents, and what a fine one it was! The table was decorated with wild flowers and roses, dainty silver jugs and porcelain plates and teacups. The magnificent silver teapot was polished for the occasion and so took pride of place next to the Sally Lunn tea cakes, delicate fairy cakes and blackberry and lemon scones!
The beautiful weather meant that the tea party was held outdoors and the participants and parents left after a good dose of sunshine!
As always, we would like to thank the participants and their parents for joining us on our Jane Austen adventures and we hope to see you all back at Novel English in the future!
The children who attended the Fantastical Worlds course this year had the opportunity to learn more about the plight of Victorian children as the Minack Theatre put on a production of Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby Part I during the running of the course. A trip to the Minack is always a wonderful experience so of course we took the opportunity and attended! Through the performance, the children were able to experience the cruelty of Wackford Squeers in the notorious school Doveboys Hall.
This summer has been a really stimulating one for us, because we have been lucky enough to host many guests from other places in the world; both families bringing their bilingual children to take part in the Children’s Literature courses and others sending their children to improve their language skills in our Holistic English courses.
The guests have ranged from Russia, to Sweden, to Poland and to France, and it has been especially wonderful because there has been a splendid chance for local children to become pen friends with our overseas guests.
The opportunity for overseas families to stay in our Studio accommodation has meant that, for an affordable price, parents have been able to escort their children to Novel English and to have a wonderful summer holiday in Cornwall themselves.
The Studio is available throughout the year, and offers families the chance to have a homestay with us, where guests can either join us for meals or be independent and explore local eateries. We do hope some of this year’s families will visit again and hope to see many new faces in the coming months!
Here some comments from our Studio guests of 2016:
‘Thanks for everything! Wonderful environment, splendid food and interesting discussions.’ Stefan from Sweden.
‘Leaving with wonderful memories of friendly and interesting chats, delicious meals and restful and peaceful days in such a pretty setting.’ Carolina from Sweden.
‘I’m very happy… Because I think I learnt a lot… I never forgot the delicious food of Deborah or the very interesting stories of Nick!’ Elvin from France.
‘Thank you for everything. I have learnt a lot English. I also liked going with the old car.’ Erling from Sweden.
‘Splendid summer holiday in Cornwall! My daughter looks forward to coming here again. Many thanks!’ Elena from Russia.
We would like to say thank you for coming and hope to see you back at Novel English in the future!
This Fantastical Worlds course was a highlight of the summer due to the wonderful weather we had during it! In between working hard, we had many trips and picnics to the beach, and the children went wading into sea every day!
We started off with exploring the plight of children during the 19th Century whilst discussing Charles Kingsley’s novel The Water-Babies. We looked at the terrible working conditions that children such as poor Tom had to put with, but soon were drawn into the magical underwater world of Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid and Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby when Tom escapes his mean master Grimes and becomes an amphibious water-baby! To enrich our understanding of the creatures that Tom meets, we visited the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, especially to examine the character of the otter, and went on to the rock pools at Kennack Sands to find the sea anemones for ourselves!
This encouraged the children to go back and write their own underwater stories with illustrations!
We then wanted to visit other magical worlds, and so walked through the wardrobe with Lucy into the world of Narnia. Of course, all magical worlds have their own evil queen, and in Narnia we discussed and performed excerpts with the character of the White Witch. The scene we focused upon was her first entrance and meeting with Edmund, where we were able to make comparisons with Tom; as both little boys must learn the dangers of greed (Tom with the underwater sweets and Edmund with the Witch’s magical Turkish delight).
The third book we looked at was Alice in Wonderland, and we discussed Alice’s entrance into a magical world when she tumbles through the Rabbit Hole. Again, rich comparisons could be made as this book also discusses the magical influence of food; Alice discovers the cake enscribed with ‘Eat Me’ which, when she does, makes her very big and so begins her magical journey through the bizarre world of Wonderland. Of course, this novel also includes an evil Queen: the Queen of Hearts who likes nothing better than to behead her subjects, or at least threaten it!
Further creative tasks were given, and the children were asked to create their own wicked queen. The finale of this course was the longest yet, with the performances taking over two hours to complete, as each participant read out their creative writing as well as performing various scenes from the books to their parents and families.
Summing up from one of the happy parents:
‘We have not seen Nel so inspired, excited and immersed in a magical world for a long time! We have become a part of this world too! Thank you for that.’ Joanna and Alex.
In the first week of August, we held our Pirates, Smugglers and Treasure course here at Novel English. Here is a blog describing what we did!
We started the five day course with our traditional welcome tea with the course participants and their parents. The children had come prepared with articles of clothing and artefacts such as swords and pistols in preparation to be pirates for the week! We soon got deep into the story of Treasure Island, with the children re acting the dreams of Jim, where he is told to look out for ‘the seafaring man with one leg’ by Billy Bones. There is always an anticipation of something bad about to happen, and sure enough all fears arrive with the coming of the cursed black spot! However, this is the start of Jim’s great adventure aboard the ship ‘Hispaniola’, bound on the quest for treasure!
To further enrich the story, we took to the Cornish coves, in exploration of dark unlit caves, with potholes of unknown depths, and to find a glimpse of light, which took us to a mysterious un chartered beach! An afternoon was spent in a hunt for treasure, with only a coded message as a clue!
The last day, which fell on a scorching hot afternoon, the children’s’ families joined us for a thrilling performance of the story at Trelugga!
Here are some comments from the participants of the course:
‘I loved Treasure Island! I really want to go again!’ Katya
‘This play was super fun, I really enjoyed the acting!’ Abby
As always, we would like to thank all who took part in this course and hope to welcome you back to Novel English in the future!
May 1, 2016
June really will be a continuation of Shakespearean madness here at Novel English! We are running a very special mini course over the Midsummer which will focus (of course!) on one of the best known and most loved of the Bard’s plays: A Midsummer’s Night Dream! Enter the fairy gardens of Trelugga; be caught up in magical twists and turns and follow four lovers as they step too far into the Realm of Faery!
The weekend course will include late night picnics, readings and performances of the play and lots of homegrown Trelugga strawberries with lashings of Cornish cream!
This mini course will take place on the weekend nearest to Midsummer night, and all participants will certainly enjoy our rendition of one of Shakespeare’s maddest and most colourful of plays. Get in touch via our phone, email or Facebook page to know more!