Mike in Finland

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Sampola discussion topic for 26 March

Here is the topic for the next class on Tuesday, 26 March. It's a discussion theme we've used before but with all new places to research and talk about.

Wish You Were Here?

Choose two or three of the places on the list and then do some research to find as much information about those places as you can. You can use maps, books, pictures, internet (Google and YouTube) etc. Be ready in the next lesson to present the information about your chosen locations to your partner(s).

Isle of Skye, Scotland
Aberdeen, Scotland
Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England
Portmeirion, Wales
Giant’s Causeway, N. Ireland


Baiae, Gulf of Naples
Taormina, Sicily

Czech Republic
Ceské Budejovice


Corte, Corsica
Avignon, Provence

Valldemossa, Mallorca

Try to find answers to these questions for your locations.

1.            Where is the place?
2.            What’s the best way to travel there?
3.            What’s the best way to get about when you are there?
4.            What kind of weather can you expect in different seasons?
5.            What is the landscape/cityscape like?
6.            What is the surrounding area like?
7.            What can you see, visit or do in the area?
8.            Is it possible to do any special activities there?
9.            Are there any festivals of cultural celebrations?
10.         Is the place famous for any food specialities?
11.         Does the area have an interesting history?
12.         Are there other interesting places nearby?
13.         What is the local economy based on?
14.         Have you been there yourself? Would you recommend it?
15.         Or: Does it sound like a place you´d like to go to yourself?
16.         How likely is it you might really go there one day, or go back again?
17.         Would you like to live there?

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Creative Writing in English Course

Creative Writing in English Course

I'll be leading this workshop course in creative writing in Tampere in the new year. More information and registration details from the Tampere Critical Academy link below.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Sampola discussion topic for Tuesday 4 December

These are the topics for our next class on Tuesday 4 December.

What kind of world will our children inherit?

1.         There has been a lot of discussion about nuclear energy. Do you believe that nuclear power represents the best solution for our future energy needs?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear energy?
What are your views on alternative energy sources?
Will we still be driving cars 50 years from now?
If so, will they use petrol as fuel?
What alternative fuels can cars use?
Do you think they are better than petrol or diesel?  Why?
Is there a real alternative to the private car?

2.         There has also been a lot of discussion about climate change. How seriously do you take the threat to our planet from climate change?
Or is it just a threat to humans and our social organisations?
If we don´t control the level of greenhouse gas emissions, what results do you envisage in 20years?               
What about in 50 years?
Have you noticed changes in summer or winter weather since you were a child?               
What about in the last 10 / 20 years?
Will there be ice at the North Pole and glaciers in the Himalayas at the end of this century?
What do you know about the recent wildfires in California?
Are they sign of climate change or is there another explanation?
What does Donald Trump say about the fires?

3.         What do you think about environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and WWF?
Have you joined, or considered joining, such organisations?
Why (not)?
Do you think these organisations have an important role to play?
Are any species of animals living in Finland in danger of extinction?

4.         How do you see the role of governments and government policy in environmental issues?
Is it possible for national governments to be effective in environmental issues?
What actions has the Finnish Government taken to protect the environment?
Have they had a real and noticeable effect?
Do we have the will to implement an effective environmental policy?
What role do multi-national corporations play in protecting the environment?

5.         What do you think will happen to the world supply of food in the next 20 or 50 years?
What about the supply of fresh and clean water?
What are your views on population growth?
Do you think it is significant that the majority of the world´s largest cities are on the coast?

6.         What are your views on multiculturalism and cultural diversity?
What are your views on the relationship between Islam and Christianity?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Read the poems with the poet at Sampola

Read the poems with the poet is a new, short course that will take place in Sampola 4 times on Tuesdays at 19.30-21.00. The course will start on 30.01 and finish on 20.02. In the 4 classes we will read and discuss poems from my collection, Midas Touch, in English. I can supply copies of the book at 8€. It's also available on Kindle, which is a bit cheaper.

Here is the blurb from Sampola's spring term brochure:

In 4 classes we will read poems from 'Midas Touch', a short collection published by the class teacher, Mike Horwood. About 4 or 5 poems will be selected a week in advance to give students time to read and think about the poems. In the class students can compare their readings of each poem, describe what the poem says to them and how they responded to it. There will be the chance to ask the poet any questions about the poems and to hear what he was trying to do in writing the poem.

To join the course you can register via internet at Sampola's website starting from 12 o'clock, midday on 4 December, or by phone and in person at the office counter, starting from 2 January.

There are a couple of poems from the collection at the top of the right bar on this blogpage.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Discussion topic for Sampola class on Tuesday 12 December

General Information:

There is no class on 05.12.   The final class will be on 12.12.   

The topic for the next class on Tuesday 12 December is:

The list of ways to save money at Christmas which I forgot to copy on the paper copies I handed out in the last class can be found at the end of this post.

Christmas and New Year

1.         What plans do you have for the Christmas and New Year period?
Will you be travelling anywhere for a day out or a longer period?
Will you be going to see any shows?
Will you be entertaining at home?

2.         What preparations will you do before Christmas?
What menu will you have on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
Have you planned any other special meals during the festive season?
Who does the cooking in your home?
Have you bought any/all of your Christmas presents yet?
Who among your family and friends is the most difficult person to think of a present for?

3.         Have you already had a Little Christmas party?
Was it a workplace party, or some other group?
Where was the party?
Was there a programme?

4.         Is it possible to reduce the cost of Christmas by shopping around?
Try to think of ways of saving some money on Christmas items, and then compare your ideas with the list from The Guardian (see below).
Which ones were on your list?
Which do you think are a good way to save money?
Have you found any good deals this year or earlier?

5.         Is there any trend in Finland towards alcohol-free drinks?
Has the idea of non-alcoholic drinks been promoted recently?
Have you heard of mindful drinking, Club Soda, or Jussi Tolvi?
Is there a good and interesting range of alcohol-free drinks
Is there such a thing as a non-alcoholic drinks festival?

6.         Do you have any special plans for New Year’s Eve?
Do you usually have fireworks at midnight?

7.         What is your weather forecast for Christmas and New Year?
Will it be a white Christmas in Tampere?
What about other parts of Finland?

The Guardian’s list of ways to spend less at Christmas.

Full details at:

1.         Avoid unsuccessful presents, e.g. vouchers for hot air balloon trips or exercising equipment.

2.         Shop around for good offers on alcohol.

3.         Shop around for a good price for a Christmas tree.

4.         Buy presents online for good savings.

5.         Use the internet to find cheap tickets for Christmas shows.

6.         Compare prices for car hire.

7.         Book train and bus tickets in advance.

8.         Don’t use a London airport if you’re flying somewhere.

9.         Only buy items that include the right to return and get a refund or exchange.

10.       Agree with extended family members on a system of selective present giving for adults in the extended family – there are apps that can organize who is the buyer for each adult family member.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

All my books

All my publications so far with Ward Wood Publishing. There are two novels: The Finn's Tale and Arthur's Eventful Weekend, and two poetry collections: Midas Touch and Falstaff's Gut. The publisher's website (www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk) has a brief description of each book and there are some excerpts on the pages in the right-hand bar of this blog.

They're all available in book form and on Kindle, from the publisher's website, Amazon, The Book Depository and other online booksellers.

Monday, 5 December 2016

New work from students at Tampere University

I've just added more new work from students on this autumn's Creative Writing in English course at Tampere University on the public blog at:


New pieces include prose fiction, poetry and a new category: narrative essays, of which one example has been posted this autumn. There may still be one or two more new pieces appearing.