Mike in Finland

tiistai 16. tammikuuta 2018

Sampola discussion topic for Tuesday 20 February




Safety on the roads


1.                         How safe are the roads in Finland?
Do you know any figures for the annual numbers of road accidents / fatal road accidents / serious injuries?
Do you know any figures for the different types of road user e.g. motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, pedal cyclists?
Try to find the latest figures and also figures for earlier years. Compare the accident rates for recent and earlier years.
What is the trend for different types of road user?
Is there anything surprising or unexpected in the statistics?
How can you explain any apparent anomalies?
How do Finland’s road accident statistics compare with the UK?
UK Short report: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648082/rrcgb2016-02.pdf
UK Long report: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648081/rrcgb2016-01.pdf

2.                         What do you think is the safest form of transport, and which the least safe?
                             Do you avoid any form of transport because of safety concerns?
Is road maintenance (road surface and snow clearing) a factor in traffic accidents in Finland?
                            
3.                         What is your opinion about the safety of riding a push bike?
a.       in the towns
b.       in the countryside
c.        on main roads between towns
Is it common for schoolchildren to cycle to school?

4.                         Where should cyclists cycle in the town?
Where do they usually cycle in practice?
Are there enough cycle paths in Tampere?
Can you suggest routes where there is not currently a cycle path but where there should be one?
Is it allowed to cycle on the pavement?
What are the arguments for and against cycling on pavements?
What is your opinion of push bikes on the pavement?
Is Tampere a cyclist-friendly city?

5.                         How will the opening of the tramline in Tampere affect road safety?
                             Will the tramline make it more difficult to drive into the city centre?
                             Will cyclists be exposed to greater dangers by the presence of trams?

6.                         Here are some statistics from Britain. Can you explain these figures?
1.       In 1934 1,536 cyclists died on the roads. In 2016 the figure was 102.
2.       A cyclist travelling one mile is 20 times more likely to be injured in an accident than a motorist travelling the same distance.
3.       The number of pedal cyclists has increased by  approximately 15% between 2010 and 2016 while cyclist fatalities have dropped by about 16% in the same period.
4.       During the same period as item 3 above, there has been an 11% rise in the number of serious injuries sustained by cyclists.
5.       HGVs (heavy goods vehicles = lorries) account for 5% of road traffic in Britain but 25% of cyclist fatalities involve an HGV.

keskiviikko 8. marraskuuta 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.

keskiviikko 18. tammikuuta 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
available?
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.

sunnuntai 25. joulukuuta 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.

maanantai 5. joulukuuta 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:

http://writersatuta.blogspot.fi

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.


tiistai 6. syyskuuta 2016

Sampola discussion topic for Tuesday 29 November


This is our topic for Tuesday 29 November.


Proverbs 

1. Think of half a dozen (6) Finnish proverbs. Try to find very common ones and some that are less well known, or even obscure.
Translate your proverbs word-for-word into English.
Now work out how you would explain the meaning in English. Make some notes so you remember your explanations in next week’s class.

2. Do you think your example proverbs contain useful wisdom?
Do you often use proverbs in ordinary conversations?
Have you used proverbs as a way of teaching your own children certain ideas or ways of thinking?
Why have proverbs become popular, i.e. what is the attraction of a proverb?
Do you think that proverbs have become over-used, i.e. are they now clichés?
Do you groan inside if someone quotes a proverb to you?

3. Do you know the origins of your example proverbs?
Are all proverbs old?
Do you know any modern proverbs?
Do they apply to modern life?
Do you agree that proverbs go beyond one person and time period?

4. What’s the difference between a proverb and a quotation?
Which would you be most likely to use?   Why?
Think of 2 or 3 examples of effective quotations.

5. Can you work out the meaning of the following English proverbs?
* It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
* Everything happens for a reason.
* There are plenty of fish in the sea.
* Two wrongs don’t make a right.
* The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
* No man is an island.
* Too many cooks spoil the broth.
* You can’t win them all.
* Time is money.
* There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
* There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
* God helps those who help themselves.
* Many hands make light work.
* The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.

6. Which of the above English proverbs would be appropriate in the following situations?
* Your young son or daughter has just lost a sports competition.
* A colleague tells you they plan to get revenge for their neighbor making a lot of noise last night.
* A friend is feeling depressed because they are going through a difficult period.
* A friend who applied for a job, didn’t get it. The job was given to the boss’s nephew.
* Your colleague tells you that they got very bad service at a restaurant yesterday.
* You are in a work team where all the members have different ideas about how to do the job.