Modern Languages, Affordable Resources

Anyone can learn a modern language these days. The internet. Libraries. And charity shops, of course.

The emphasis has switched as well, from schoolbook-like methods to studying language that’s directly relevant.

I’ve chosen Russian, German, French. I find French the easiest, followed by German, and finally Russian.

The following books, all complete with CDs, cost me just over £10 from various charity shops. I believe the resources take the student up to and beyond B1 of the Common European Framework for languages.


Another Late Summer?

The dull summer has given way to glorious weather again, bypassing the month of July and most of August.  Another late summer.

I find it interesting how seasons come and go, often in unexpected ways.   I think artists live unpredictable lives that mirror the seasons. Things are never that straight forward, surprises often come from nowhere, some good, some bad.

As for my own artistic endeavours, I can’t work out what to do with the current writing project, a crime novel based in Lancashire, so I’ve decided to put it to one side for a few months and concentrate on other pursuits – my music, blogging.  At the moment, I’m blogging my own musical journey as a piano player on a sister site.  The new blog is now just over a week old (twelve posts, so far)  and takes the reader from my first encounters with music to my early experiences of performing before an audience.

Meanwhile, I hope to pursue the crime writing at some point and go through the publishing process again.

Just a few of my thoughts.



BBC Talk Russian, A Review

I love studying foreign languages.

This excellent course (two CDs and book) takes the total beginner through various scenarios using dialogues, role plays and short grammatical explanations. The units introduce the Russian alphabet, step by step.

The atmosphere is lively and the course covers close to a thousand words. I have gone through it, as well as the equivalent courses in French and German, and have found all three useful introductions.  

Obviously, the BBC Talk series only covers basics, but it does enable the average person to gain some knowledge of a foreign language. 

I believe the course takes the student about half the way through the A1 speaking standard set out by the Common European Framework for Languages.

Learning never stops.

Just a few of my thoughts. 

Creating A New WordPress Blog, Some Thoughts

Hi, I’ve spent the last two weeks creating content (in my case, a musical bio), designing a site with a Template in mind (libretto), and copying the content into readable posts with publishing dates set in reverse order, allowing a chronological order of events.

I’ve found the process both simple and frustrating.

You can view the site here:

So what are my thoughts on the Content Management side of things?

  • Easy to publish Posts.
  • Great looking Template, simple but classy (good for classical music site).


  • Difficult to create extra Pages, leaving me unable to decide where and how to post a Table Of Contents (like Chapters).
  • Publishing in reverse order to allow a chronological narrative can lead to all sorts of errors.

Worth the effort, though.

New Site, MyPianoBio

I’ve completed a basic draft of material for the new site and it should go live in the next few weeks.

MyPianoBio, a sister site to this one, contains the story of my musical journey, culminating in my experiences as a recital pianist, newly arrived in London.  

It also picks up on several other themes.

Many thanks again to WordPress for the powerful online publishing tools! 

The Difference Between Music And Sound 

“Music is sound that lives,” Lawrence Estrey, Pianist and Writer.

I’m about to combine my two great passions (music and writing) with web layout and Content Management Systems to create an exciting new project, My Musical Journey, detailing my own experiences, highs and lows.

Watch this space. 

A Sticky Summer, And A Lull

Hi, the good weather has gone for the most part, replaced by Autumn skies and humidity.  After such a warm June, August seems almost depressing, a reminder that Autumn will come soon, and then Winter, followed by another year. 

In terms of writing, I’ve reached a lull and am uncertain of how to proceed. I miss working on plot and character and churning out page after page of work, but I’m reluctant to self-publish again. I think I need to put the writing to a side for twelve months, then reconsider the options.

Meanwhile, I spend more time at the piano these days and I now have more than thirty videos of my playing on YouTube. I hope to do some more recording at some point in the near future. 

Till next time.

Quit Smoking – Five Years On

This time of year again, and I’m pleased to say that I haven’t smoked on any occasion during the last five years.

For me, any success in quitting depends on having a strong reason for wanting to stop – in my case, health.

I believe the chief reason for resuming the smoking habit rests with the naive belief that just one cigarette won’t hurt. Unfortunately, the majority of former smokers who decide to have just one more cigarette usually end up addicted to smoking again.

Just a few of my thoughts.

Till next time.