As a strange and difficult year draws to a close, the CVP/MM team are trying to think positive by reflecting on what they’re most looking forward to this Christmas.
This year Christmas will no doubt feel very different to normal in many ways, but for me the most important part of Christmas will not have changed. Our family has always celebrated Christmas eve with a sauna and a nice meal of typical Finnish Christmas foods, and spending the evening quietly and peacefully together with those closest to us. It’s a really lovely opportunity to slow down for a while and just be together with no distractions.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges 2020 has brought, I am particularly looking forward to Christmas. It will be a time to stop and take stock, and really appreciate what we have managed to achieve… primarily buying and moving into our first family home (and all during a lockdown!). As an Army family, we have moved A LOT, so, this year, watching our children hanging their stockings in the fireplace, choosing the perfect spot for the tree and decorating their bedrooms feels even more special, knowing this is the first of many Merry Christmases in our own home.
I’m usually fairly militant about Christmas and its traditions – everything has to be the same as it’s always been. So it’s strangely freeing this year to just accept that it’s not going to be! Roast dinner is my absolute favourite meal so I’m looking forward to a really good one after weeks (maybe even months) without. Otherwise it’ll just be lovely to spend a couple of days with my family (inside – how novel!) and see the back of 2020…
I am looking forward to spending my Christmas matching my decorations to those on telly! Not really (but for all those non-His Dark Materials fans this is Hester the hare meeting Hester the daemon hare, such is lockdown entertainment) – I am most grateful and thankful that my family and friends are healthy and happy this Christmas. And I’m always very excited about turkey and bread sauce sandwiches – bring on all the Christmas food! 🎄✨🍗
As with everything this year, my Christmas will be much more Somerset-focused than usual. This December, Cheddar (it’s a real place!) is participating in Window Wanderland, for which people decorate their windows and light them up during the evening. My daughters wanted a Harry Potter theme, so here are our windows and our Christmas lights. We’ll be going on lots of evening walks to enjoy the window displays and the thousands of Christmas lights that have appeared this year.
I’m most looking forward to seeing my children’s excitement. They are at the age when Christmas is very magical and love all the lights and decorations. It’s also lovely to have a break from the usual routine and spend time as a family.
I’m most looking forward to being back in Dorset with my family and doing lots of baking, Christmas crafting, and playing ridiculous games.
We moved house last month and I am looking forward to having some time to spend working on it – for we have great plans for how we’ll make it our own. I shall enjoy learning new skills and taking out all the frustrations of 2020 on some walls which we’ll knock down! Our little Christmas tree is likely to get a dusting of debris rather than snow this year! And of course, I shall be doing plenty of Christmas baking to make sure we are well fuelled for all of this hard work.
We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happier and healthier 2021.
Today is World Book Day! Inspired by this year’s theme, Share A Million Stories, in this post we talk about our favourite stories from childhood.
One of my favourite stories as a child was There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon. It’s a story about a little boy called Billy who wakes up to find a dragon in his bedroom, but when he tells his mum, she doesn’t believe him. The dragon, who is a rather rebellious character, gets bigger and bigger and harder and harder to ignore, yet the mum still tells Billy that the dragon doesn’t exist. It’s a funny story and a great reminder that sometimes children are right and adults are wrong. Plus, it has some really tasty looking pancakes in it, which I was always desperate for my mum to make for breakfast (she never did!).
One of my favourite childhood stories was a book read to me in Finnish when I was laid up in bed with pneumonia. It was called Kuinka Kum-Maa on Kaikkialla and tells of a little boy called Pau who is bored and ill in bed. All of a sudden a shape in the flowery wallpaper comes to life, and princess Lilaloo takes little Pau to ‘Kum-Maa’ (a play on the Finnish word kummaa meaning strange) where all of the inhabitants are two dimensional like pictures and so eat only two dimensional foods like gingerbread and pancake. Princess Lilaloo and Pau have a number of adventures in ‘Kum-Maa’, and I vividly remember staring at the wallpaper and the various paintings at my grandparent’s house imagining my own exciting adventures. After all, as the Finnish title promises, “Kum-Maa” is everywhere…
I was considering writing about something a little less obvious, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the Harry Potter books were hands down my favourites as a child. I distinctly remember the release of new books and the pain at these times of being the youngest in my family – this meant having to wait for every other family member to read it before I could. When it was finally mine, I would read it cover to cover without much stopping, before turning back to the beginning and starting again. So exciting!
I had a lot of favourite books when I was a child (I still do!) but what really stands out for me is the Malory Towers books by Enid Blyton. Sharing them now with my daughters (who love them as much as I did), I’m surprised at how modern they are in some ways – the girls are expected and encouraged to do great things, and to be clever and brave as well as kind. I suspect when I was a child it was the midnight feasts and the absence of parents that I enjoyed most though.
Like Anna, it’s really difficult for me to choose, but one that stands out is Dick King Smith’s Sophie Stories. I loved (and still do!) the character of Sophie – ‘small but very determined’ and no-nonsense, she loves animals and her greatest ambition is to be a ‘lady farmer’. At the beginning of the books her parents think she’s too young to have a pet, so in preparation for her future career she keeps ‘flocks and herds’ of woodlice, earwigs and snails in the garden shed, which she conscientiously tends to. As the series goes on and she grows older, she accumulates a cat (Tomboy), a rabbit (Beano), a puppy (Puddle) and eventually a pony (Lucky). My sister and I were big animal lovers and our ultimate wish was to have a pony (spoiler – it never happened), so the idea of all those pets was very appealing (less so to our parents, who had agreed to a cat and nothing more).
One of my favourite bedtime stories (and one that has always stuck with me!) when I was young was from Enid Blyton’s Goodnight Stories. It is called Polly’s Ps and Qs. It was about an ill-mannered girl who always forgot to say please and thank you. Her mother decided that she would pin a big ‘P’ or ‘Q’ to her dress every time she forgot. I lived in horror of my parents starting this trend if I didn’t remember my manners! 😃
2020 has well and truly begun and we’re looking forward to the arrival of spring, not only for the (hopefully) slightly warmer weather, but also because it marks the beginning of our busy annual conference season.
In fact, Sarah has already been flying the flag for CVP at the CAUTHE conference in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this month, where she was able to have her yearly catch-up with our tourism contacts down under. Laura will be the next to head off, beginning our season of US conference travel with NABE in Las Vegas next week. Next on the schedule is GURT in Washington DC, which Anna will be attending in March. Following hot on her heels Tommi and Laura will be off to the back-to-back AAAL and TESOL conferences held this year in Denver. Then as April rolls around, it will be time for Laura to set off again (although not so far afield this time) for IATEFL in Manchester, our first UK conference of 2020.
As we head into summer, Sarah will be making the trip up north to attend the TEFI conference in York in June. Unfortunately the Sociolinguistics Symposium planned to take place in Hong Kong in June has had to be postponed until 2021, due to the coronavirus outbreak. We’re looking forward to catching up with everyone there next year instead. We then continue our summer travel with EuroSLA in Barcelona, Spain in July, followed by AILA in Groningen, Netherlands the following month.
As well as all these major conferences, we sometimes pop to smaller, more local meets and book launches, and send unattended displays far and wide, so wherever you’re heading this year, look out for our books!
This month we will be publishing The Future Past of Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie, which looks at how the history of tourism will shape its future. Inspired by this, in this post the CVP team reflect on their favourite past trips and dream future ones…
I still remember the first holiday I ever went on, to stay in a holiday cottage in West Wales with my cousins when I was nine. I had a new suitcase especially for the occasion, which I filled with all sorts of things from my bedroom at home…none useful for a holiday! The holiday itself was very simple: days spent on the beach or playing in the garden, and I’m sure it wasn’t as sunny as I remember but in my mind it was a perfect week. My cousins and I still talk about some of the in-jokes and sayings from the holiday and it’s those shared memories which make it my favourite past holiday.
There are a zillion places I’d love to visit, some close to home and some further afield. Inching its way up my list is the North Coast 500, Scotland’s 516 mile long tour of its northernmost roads. The appeal is the stunning scenery, isolation and Scottish hospitality. I’m yet to decide if I want to drive or cycle it, but either way, I’ll need to be prepared for all weathers!
My favourite travel has always involved trains and ferries. Childhood journeys to Finland for Christmas always involved a train ride first across the UK, then a ferry to Hamburg, Esbjerg or Gothenburg, and either an overnight sleeper train to Stockholm followed by the Viking Line to Turku or Helsinki, or the Finnjet direct from Travemünde. The excitement of travelling over several days to get to “Mummola” in the winter with the dark scenery passing mysteriously by the train window. Stopping off in Copenhagen to see the Tivoli, or spending a night in Lübeck and visiting the German Christmas markets, before the final ferry ride across the Baltic. Would the sea be frozen? Would we spot any seals on the ice? Having a proper sauna in the bowels of the exciting Finnjet ferry with a swimming pool that had a swell in it as the ship rocked on the waves…all the while knowing that as we got closer to Grandma the sweets started tasting nicer…. First we got Skipper liquorice pipes on the ferries to Europe, then Marabou chocolate if we went via Sweden or Haribo in Germany, and finally as we hit the Finnish boats – Fazer! And proper liquorice! As our ferry sailed into Helsinki we would be met by an uncle waving to us from the terminal building and they would drive us the last leg to where “mummi” and “vaari” were waiting, having filled the garden with ice lanterns and we would catch the scent of “pulla” and “makaroonilaatikko” drifting out of the door…it’s no wonder I’ve grown up to love travelling!
When I was a child we would often travel overland partly due to cost of flying a family of four to Finland in the early 1980s and partly due to the feeling that by flying over everything we were missing out on so much. My Dad always looked forward to the adventure and the endless planning to find a “new” route…although I have tended to travel more by air in the last few years, I definitely feel like I have missed out on a lot, so I hope to get back to a more exciting, and relaxing, way of getting around.
Tommi with his brother Sami and their dad, Mike, on the Finnjet
Viking Line ferry
Tommi with Sami and their mum, Marjukka on the ferry
Tommi, Marjukka and Sami hiking in Austria
Sami, Tommi and Marjukka on the train
In the immediate future we are planning to travel by train to Anterselva in Italy for New Year, with an overnight stop in Munich and a ride over the Brenner pass before spending a week cross country skiing, and catching the overnight train from Milan to Paris and back to the UK.
One day I would dearly love to travel all the way to Japan by train. Japan is a country that I have always loved spending time in, and if I can travel overland I feel like I will better understand where it is, and hopefully arrive for once without any hint of jetlag! I would hope to travel via the Trans-Siberian either to Beijing or Vladivostok, and then take a ferry with a few days in South Korea on the way…I personally hope that the future of my own travel will come full circle to my past travels, and that more and more of my journeys will once again be taken by train and ferry.
I’ve been lucky enough to go on some amazing trips over the years, but maybe the one that stands out the most is a trip I took to Ghana in 2015. I went with my friend to visit her family in Accra, Kumasi and Abetifi. I loved everything about it – the people, the language, the colours, the tropical heat, the food, the landscape… We stayed with my friend’s parents on the compound of the school they run, so we were always surrounded by kids, which was fun (and very noisy). We spent our days visiting family friends, markets, local villages, museums, the cultural centre, a cocoa farm, a Kente cloth workshop, a lake and a waterfall, and our evenings at the local ‘spot’ which was a tiny neighbourhood kiosk/bar with really loud speakers. A highlight of the trip was a very long drive (with one, and later two babies on our laps) to stay with my friend’s grandmother up in the mountains. She was still working the land in her 80s!
The central market in Kumasi
Ashanti dancers at Kumasi Cultural Centre
On the way to Abetifi
Tending the crops
There are so many places I’d love to go in the future, but I think Sri Lanka’s probably top of my list. Apart from how beautiful and diverse it looks, my grandparents, who were in the army and navy, met there during the war at a dance in Kandy, and so I’ve got a bit of a sentimental reason to visit too! It might be a little while yet though, as I’ve decided to have a ‘no-fly year’ in 2020, so I’ll be keeping any travel to countries I can get to by train.
In 2015 my sister and I went to the US to embark on as many different kinds of tourisms as we could – sport, literary, film, tv and music! We started in Boston where we saw the Red Sox play and spent a bookish day in Concord, then to New York where we took in a Giants game, an Islanders game and a Red Bulls game! We bussed next to Washington, DC. After much sightseeing there we flew down to Orlando to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – and also managed some relaxing by the pool. Our last stop was Nashville, where we visited the Opry and Ryman before spending our last night watching Foo Fighters at Bridgestone. It was a pretty tiring holiday but every day was very exciting! 🙂
Orchard House, Concord
NY Islanders, Brooklyn
Sarah with her sister, Cath, at The Bluebird, Nashville
Grand Ole Opry
It would be amazing to have a whole year off and pack it with as many sporting events as possible. January and February in Australia to watch the Big Bash (and be warm!) then back to the UK touring round the country for the rest of the football season and cricket season, maybe taking in an England cricket tour at some point to the West Indies 🙂
For more information about The Future Past of Tourism please see our website.
This month we are publishing Heritage and Sportby Gregory Ramshaw. In this post, some of the CVP team tell tales of their own sport heritage.
My parents met at a hockey match in which they squared off against each other (my mum was a kickass goalie) so I have always felt that sport is important in relation to my own heritage!
Aside from that, my sister and I were brought up constantly watching football and cricket; our mum is a fervent and dedicated Man Utd and England cricket fan. We were treated to replays of the 1981 and 1986/7 Ashes series at a young age (the latter of which Daddles the Duck was an exciting feature) and a subconscious impression that Australians-when-playing-cricket should not be liked – cue deep disapproval when we pretended to be the Waugh twins while playing in the garden.
My dad is still playing hockey at 75 – I hope I am as active at his age!
Sarah’s mum playing in goal for Devon in the early 80s
Sarah’s dad on the pitch
I’ve always been fascinated by Finland’s heritage in long-distance running and other Nordic endurance sports. In particular the exploits of Paavo Nurmi, Ville Ritola, Hannes Kolehmainen and the other “flying Finns” has always been of interest, all the way up to Lasse Viren who famously fell during the 10,000m at the 1972 Munich Olympics, picked himself calmly up, chased down David Bedford to not just win the gold medal but also break the world record in the process. Although I haven’t visited many historic sites, the one place I did feel worth a visit was the Eläintarha athletics track in Helsinki, where on June 19th 1924 Paavo Nurmi tested whether it would be possible to run both 1500m and 5000m races in the same hour, since this was going to be the schedule at the Olympics that year. He set new world records for both distances…. Finnish long-distance running has had a glorious past, and as a child I dreamed of matching the exploits of these incredible athletes. Although I have lately conceded that I probably will never run at the Olympics, or break many world records, I do still feel a sense of pride whenever reminded of these events.
I’ve often found myself by chance or intention at the sites of previous Olympic Games. I find it fascinating to see how some sites have been put to good use and regenerated into something benefiting the local area, while others have become slightly eerie abandoned shells of their former glories. Here I am with some friends at the Olympic Rings in Portland, Dorset, which is where the sailing events were held during the London 2012 Olympics. It was a very cold and blustery day…perfect sailing conditions!
For more information about Heritage and Sport please see our website.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of our most important events each year to promote our publications, meet with our bookselling and distribution contacts, learn about the future trends in publishing, and generally take the pulse of the industry for the next year. It is always an exhausting week, with back-to-back meetings set every 30 minutes for three days, and socialising and networking opportunities in the evenings.
With such a punishing schedule at the fair, we have always felt that we should make the travel as pleasant and as relaxing as possible, and so in recent years we have taken a scenic drive with an overnight ferry trip and lunch stops in the beautiful Rhine valley to enjoy. Following a car accident that left my car unusable just weeks before the fair this year, we were left with a decision to make. Should we fly to the fair? In the 22 years that I’ve been visiting the fair, I have only flown twice, and the memory of Frankfurt airport full of tens of thousands of book trade contacts trying to leave the city after the fair is firmly etched on my memory, so we decided to return to travelling by train. In the five years since I last travelled by train, connections and frequency of trains along the route have improved, and as such we were easily able to leave Bristol in the early morning, and with just one cross-London underground trip and a change of trains in Brussels, we arrived in Frankfurt by the mid-afternoon to set up our stand. During this time we were able to sit back and relax, eat at our seats in the train, and spread our work out and prepare for our meetings in a very civilised manner. We were even lucky enough to have our own compartment on the Brussels-Frankfurt leg of the journey, which felt very like a step back to the age of Agatha Christie. Thankfully though there were no mysteries to be solved!
After three days of successful meetings at the fair, we again boarded the train at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, and were able to write up all of our post-book fair reports during the first leg of the journey, before a quick lunch at Brussels Midi. The train connections worked seamlessly, and we were back in Bristol in time for dinner on the Saturday evening.
We may have saved a few hours had we travelled by air, but by taking the train we saved ourselves the trouble of first travelling to the airport, then the hassle of check-in, security, and then waiting in departures, before a cramped flight and another wait for bags. Coupled with the environmental benefit of travelling by train, it really wasn’t a difficult choice and it’s one that we will most likely choose to make again in the future!
Ever wondered what the Frankfurt Book Fair is like? In 2017 Laura and Tommi filmed every aisle of every hall! You can watch the video here.
It’s that time of year again – the CVP/MM summer holiday round up! Take a look at what the team got up to at home and away over the already distant-seeming summer months…
The main event of this summer was celebrating Mum’s 70th birthday. My partner Sara and I travelled to Finland where my brother Sami and his family, along with mum’s brothers and their families joined us for a lovely summer party under the old apple trees that my great-grandparents planted. As well as the party we enjoyed a family boat trip to Stockholm and took part in a fell-orienteering race at Kilpisjärvi. The summer could not have been better and so lovely to have all the members of the three generations of our family all in the same place for the first time ever.
In June I went to Cala Blanca in Menorca with my sister and some friends to collectively celebrate us all turning 40 within the year! Much fun was had 😊 I don’t know what this says about me but my biggest take away from Menorca was how lovely the gates are.
After Laura raved about Slovenia following her trip there last summer, I decided I had to see it for myself… (heavily inspired by her itinerary) we started off in Piran on the southwest coast and ended up in mountainous Bovec, near the Austrian border. It was beautiful weather and we swam almost every day of our trip, in the sea, river, lakes and waterfalls. This photo was taken from the top of St George’s Bell Tower in Piran, where you get a beautiful 360 degree view of the town, the sea and the coast of Italy.
On holiday in Italy this year, we ventured up high into the mountains to what is known as ‘The Balcony of Italy’. The view from the top is actually of Lake Lugano in Switzerland and the Alps beyond, and is absolutely stunning. What better place to sit for a couple of hours with a book?
This year I spent a week walking the Dorset coast path (my home county) with my mum and dog. I spent much of my childhood walking sections of this coast path, as well as on the beaches, so it was lovely to connect everything up in one week. The walk also happily coincided with the hottest week of the year, so there was plenty of time spent in the sea cooling off!
A sunrise swim on our last day in Kefalonia, with the beach entirely to ourselves. We had a lovely, very lazy and very hot, holiday with lots of Greek food and beer.
Laura and Anna recently made the most of a trip to Alberta for the International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB) by having a few days’ holiday in the Canadian Rockies beforehand. Highlights included bears, early morning lake swimming, a hike near Lake Louise and a drive up the Icefields Parkway. They stayed on a farm near Lake Mara and in a very secluded cabin between Jasper and Edmonton (that they’d probably never be able to find again if they tried!) It was a very pleasant way to get over the jet lag before the conference. Below are some photos of their travels!
In the final instalment of our Christmas-themed blog posts, Laura and Sarah team up to talk about Father Christmas and Anne of Green Gables.
Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?
Sarah: I always wanted to have dinner with the Blythe family from the Anne of Green Gables books. The most fun Christmas dinner guests would have to be the Weasley twins and Merry and Pippin 😊
Do you have any Christmas book traditions?
Laura: As a child we used to read Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs many, many times over. I think I still know the words off by heart!
What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?
Laura: I’ve asked for Oh My God What a Complete Aisling as it has been recommended to me by several friends who say it resonates with our generation while being funny and light-hearted too. Fingers crossed Father Christmas delivers!
Which book would you give as a Christmas present?
Laura: I heard and thoroughly enjoyed the serialisation of Becoming by Michele Obama so I am giving that to my sister this Christmas (fingers crossed she doesn’t follow the blog and see this spoiler!)
Sarah:I gave Anne of Green Gables to my friend’s daughter last year which was lovely – she then read it to me next time I babysat!
Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?
Laura: I’ve just started reading the complete Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis ahead of a trip to Belfast (his place of birth) in January. I’m really into them but the only problem is, Elinor accidentally told me a major plot spoiler!
Sarah: I really enjoyed The Astonishing Colour of After (Emily X.R. Pan), Love, Hate & Other Filters (Samira Ahmed), How to Stop Time (Matt Haig) and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Natasha Pulley) – difficult to pick one! 😊
My least favourite was The Bricks that Built the Houses (Kate Tempest) – it wasn’t awful but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.
Is it really mid-October already? The UK saw an unusually long, hot summer this year so autumn has come as quite a shock! Before we resign ourselves to gloves and scarves, here’s what we all got up to on our summer holidays this year…
This summer we travelled to Oulu, where we bathed in a sauna on a raft at Tuira beach, before spending a week in the south of Finland enjoying the peace and quiet of village life and the beautiful lakes and forests of Nuuksio Forest. We then took a week to drive back to the UK, visiting the beautiful cities of Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk and Lübeck. All were very beautiful in different ways, although the Hanseatic connection meant there were certainly some similarities. I can most definitely recommend the pierogi in Gdansk!
This summer I went to St Malo in Brittany with my family. This photo was taken on the day we took a boat trip across the river to Dinard. It was our first foreign holiday with my 1-and-a-half year old son and we all enjoyed spending our days at the beach in the sunshine and eating delicious French food!
This summer I went to Slovenia for the first time…wow! We hiked, swam, rafted, paddle-boarded and drove through the most beautiful wildflower meadows, dramatic mountains and the bluest rivers and lakes imaginable. I haven’t stopped raving about it and Slovenia has since shot to the top of my most recommended countries list!
I didn’t go on holiday this year as I was buying a house in Dawlish! Here it is – so relieved to have the buying process completed 🙂
A week after moving to Bristol from Northumberland we took a much-needed break from unpacking, heading to our holiday house in Mallorca. This is Cala Figuera – a pretty little fishing port in the South East of the island.
Despite it being one of the sunniest summers ever in the UK, my poor timing meant that my holiday this year consisted of a rainy trip to New Zealand and a very rainy week in Wales. A lot of our time this summer has been spent gardening, either in the garden of our new house or on our allotment. The council cleared the plot for us, and then I carted 75 wheelbarrows’ worth of horse manure the 100m from the road to the plot. This is the allotment when we took it over (girls foraging for gooseberries) and this is as it looked a few weeks ago, with winter crops going in. The allotment comes with a view of Cheddar Gorge, and it’s already one of my favourite places in the world.
I had a very late “summer” holiday this year – I’ve just come back from a week in Corfu! It wasn’t my usual sort of holiday – I usually get bored with too much relaxing, but the weather was beautiful (except for one very dramatic storm) and I spent a lot of time in the sea, reading and eating way too much!