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Summer students 2012

28 Aug

We’ve just said goodbye to our last students of the summer and we’re finally getting our house back to some sort of order….

It’s been a busy 8 week season which began on 30th June this year with Leonardo, Matteo and Gabrielle from Milan. Only 11 years old and their first trip to England, they were here for 2 rainy weeks with their school teachers to learn English and our culture. They left Italy in 38 degrees and arrived in Exmouth in 17 degrees, travelling for 2 days in their own school coach.

Leonardo, Matteo and Gabrielle with Lavinia and Louis at dinner.

The morning they left, we greeted Kevin and Jacob in the evening. Kevin had already introduced himself to us in an email which we were very impressed with. Friends both 14 and from Hamburg, they presented us with a variety of gifts advertising Hamburg: mugs, bowls with sweets, pencils, a mobile phone holder and an oven glove! They stayed with us for 2 weeks and visited London for the day on the middle Saturday. I can remember they probably had the best of the weather and made use of the beach whilst the sun was out! (Apart from the first Sunday when the photo was taken!) We watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics with them on their last night, although cringing at the outfits Germany had to wear!

Jacob and Kevin with Emma, Louis and Lavinia on the beach

They left at 7am on Saturday morning, meaning we had a day to ourselves before Joshua and Malte were due to arrive at 9pm. We had taken the opportunity to hold a barbeque party with friends, some of which were still here when they arrived! Bringing gifts of chocolates, Jagermeister and a clock with a street map of Kassel, the laid-back 15 year olds were warmly welcomed into our home. In fact Joshua turned 15 on the middle Saturday of his visit and his mother had given Malte a cake to surprise his friend with. Visiting Exeter, Cornwall and Dartmoor and having long conversations with us about all sorts of things, these two Germans really had a good experience of their stay. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo of you whilst you were here, but if you’re reading this in your home forest, please send me a photo you took during your stay and I can upload it here.)

Joshua and Malte left at 7am on their second Saturday and by 8:30am we were welcoming Timo and Davis from Hameln, famous for the Pied Piper story.  I remember the night they arrived we watched the Olympics closing ceremony and they also cringed at the German outfits! Both 14 and on a football camp, this meant everyday (apart from the day they arrived) was taken up with football when they weren’t learning English. One day I remember they played 4 games of football in the afternoon and evening. Timo and Davis only stayed for 1 week and the only visit they could fit into their busy schedule was to Exeter.

Bastian and Anthony just before leaving on their coach.

Leaving at 7:30am on the following Saturday, we had just over an hour to clean up the guest suite in time for the arrival of Bastian and Anthony, also from Hameln. Both their Mothers had emailed us before they arrived to let us know a little about their sons – it was useful to know that they liked Nutella and baked beans! Also on a week’s football camp and very busy – it was a pity there wasn’t much time to spend together at home, but they enjoyed playing with our children and even learnt about cricket from them! Thank you for the gifts you gave us, telling us about Hameln and the biscuits. Learning about where you come from has inspired us to travel, too!

We have really enjoyed having our young visitors this summer, despite the early Saturday mornings and endless sandwich-making 7 days a week. Now we have just over a week to ourselves before our children start school…


Saying goodbye to our summer guests

14 Aug

Julian and Joshua at Reed House

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our last guests from our first year as a host family.

Julian and Joshua’s coach was scheduled leave Exmouth at 7pm, but although they had to drop off their luggage at 9am and there were activities on at the Community College that afternoon, they still came back to say goodbye to us in the afternoon.

They joined us 2 weeks ago, having met for the first time and we hope they left as friends. Travelling to the Channel Tunnel last night, they were to change coaches at around midnight as Joshua was travelling home to Bavaria in the South East of Germany and Julian to the Ruhr in West Germany.

We have since heard that Julian reached home at 3:10pm this afternoon and Joshua at 7pm which meant a 24 hour journey for him, who’s only 12!

BBQ Sunday

1 Aug

An evening meal with friends


Julian and Joshua arrived this weekend from Germany. The weather was looking good, so we invited some friends over for a BBQ to celebrate their arrival. The students enjoyed an afternoon of beach activities and after dinner, a 2 hour walk to Lympstone and back.

Welcoming new guests

17 Jul

Our German visitors arrived yesterday: Vanessa and Marika from Bremen and Josephine from Schleswig-Holstein.  After a long journey overnight, they rested and were shown the town by their school, IP. We took them to the Clock Tower today for their planned beach activities.

Josephine, Marika and Vanessa.

Unfortunately, the rain shortened the activities and the walk to Lympstone was called off for the evening. We suggested they visit the town’s cinema to see Harry Potter as they’d have the evening free before a busy 2 week programme.

L’ultima cena or The Last Supper

16 Jul

The 2 weeks have passed very quickly and Irina, Alice and Lidia wanted to make us a “chocolate salami” cake to say thank you for hosting them.

We provided a quick and simple evening meal of a variety of pizzas, garlic bread and salad so they could take over the kitchen to make their surprise.

Preparing the mix


Finishing off our meal

Checking it's ready...

Ta Daaa!

We all enjoyed a piece before retiring early that night, as they had a 5am start of their homeward journey to Italy.

Awaiting the arrival of our first guests….

2 Jul

We’ve been eagerly anticipating July 2nd for months, as we’ve been promised 3 Italian students for a fortnight stay. Their room’s just been finished this morning as we have reconditioned all the original sash windows in our Victorian town semi. Our team of builders, carpenter, painter, plasterer and bricklayer have been working hard for several months to bring our house up to splendour.

Click on the photos below to zoom in to view the guest accommodation:

Entrance to the guest suite.

Guest bedroom at the front of the house.

4-piece en-suite bathroom.

Our guest suite can sleep a family of 5: bunk beds, single bed and double sofa bed.

We have created a continental weekly menu for the teenagers. We are providing a continental breakfast (cereal, toast, juice, etc.), a packed lunch (sandwich, crisps, fruit and cheese/salami) and a cooked evening meal (with desert). Our kitchen garden’s been producing salad for a couple of months here in Devon and we have a fortnightly delivery from Riverford Organic Farm here in Devon to top us up with local produce. Here are some photos of our produce:

Salad and peas.

Spring onions and garlic.

Broccoli and courgettes.

Raspberries, Tayberries and Blackberries from our garden.

At 8pm, we went to the coach park to greet our students and fellow hosts.