Lyndhurst & District

Previously. French Conversation

French Conversation

The group started in November 2014 and at each session we practice the French language using different tenses and vocabulary while talking about an interesting subject. We try to vary the sessions with different ways of learning, including games and group discussions.
While learning how to use the correct tenses and accent to blend words, we have covered themes such as "Ourselves", "Holidays", "Restaurants", "Noel", "Art", "Les Animaux", "Entertainment", "Hobbies/Leisure", "L'Objet" "Les Vacances de Reve" and "Seasonal Celebrations". We enjoyed talking about food at a French Wine and Cheese evening arranged to say Au Revoir to Juan Martinez, who had been a great help with the French language.
Other themes have included "L'Histoire de la France" which provided us with a comprehensive overview from the Roman Gauls to the final King Louis. This was followed by "L'Objet", a chance for each person to introduce an interesting item.
"Leisure Activities" was next when we talked about leisure time, supported by the interactive CD from the "Talk 2" book.
A "Twenty Questions" game brought some light-hearted moments and at the final session before our summer break we discussed which food we would buy from a French market to prepare a dinner.
September 2015 started with the subject of "Les Vacances". "Lyndhurst" ( Like it or hate it) followed. "Les Maisons Historique/Chateaux J'ai Visite" provided a glimpse of holidays while "L'Urgence en France" gave useful tips on what to do in an emergency in France. An old favourite, "20 Questions" came next, then "Les Randonnees", from short strolls to mountain trecks, when we heard about crossing a perilous gorge in Turkey along a temporary tree trunk bridge.
December 2015 started with "Favourite Books" and a "Noel Mini-party" ended the year.
January 6th 2016 began New Year with conversation about "Christmas and New Year Resolutions" using the past and future tenses. The past tense was continued with the subject "Memoires d'Enfance" on January 20th.
February began with " La Nourriture" Future summer holidays included further practice on tenses, then for our meetings in March we enjoyed a variety of word games.
The month of April was the perfect time to introduce the subject "Les Jardins au Printemps", an enjoyable session was led by Cindy. Then French magazines provided by Christine provided the opportunity for translation and discussion.
Our May meetings included a discussion about Italy which led on to members' individual holiday experiences, plus a look at names of countries in French. Some light-hearted exchanges with "Common Expressions in Everyday French" followed in June, then a look at French Authors/ Poems/ Books/ Films. July discussions were very topical with an open forum for members.
We started again in September after the summer break with an enthusiastic discussion about our activities and holidays, we were not as rusty as we thought! For our second session in September an interesting and lively chat about clothes/fashions/experiences and shopping in France provided a wide vocabulary.
October was the ideal time to talk about Autumn gardens, then for the next meeting we had the opportunity to talk about ourselves and our interests. "L'Objet" was the topic for the start of November which was followed by Art/Culture/Theatre. A lively discussion on the theme "Culture" was continued at the next session, together with a focus on "La Nourriture". We ended the year with a French Cheese and Wine party (plus other delicious treats) and looked forward to the New Year.
January 2017 started with "French Magazines", then continued with "Favourite Places". We also worked on some colloquial expressions from the magazine "Voir-Dire" and listened to the relevant section on CD to help our pronunciation.
February began well with a wide range of language activities relating to "Leisure" including input from a CD and the BBC "Talk" book, ideas from members about the meaning of leisure, a crossword puzzle, plus a very useful addition to the session on how to add accents onto "typed" French words on emails etc. A great variety thanks to group members. For the second session in February we explored "Expressions of Time" introduced by Sally Noble.
March began with an advanced level of conversational French when David Dickenson provided a series of questions based on the countryside plants of the area where David and Mary live in France. The subject "Times they are a-changing" was certainly food for thought, covering ecology, sustainability and methods of farming both in France and the UK, which provided an insight into the development of the French countryside.
The discussion on "Les passe-temps et l'impact sur ta vie" introduced by Cindy on March 15th also gave members present a good opportunity to use our French language based on the questions and vocabulary which she had provided. An excellent input which enabled us all to converse freely on the subject.
Gill Ramsden introduced us to a lively guessing game on April 5th giving us the opportunity to widen our vocabulary while having fun. The game was followed by an input on pronunciation from Mary Dickenson (supported by a CD) to emphasise the difference between ou and u vowel sounds in French. The next session provided input from the BBC "Talk 2" CD and book about property in France.
For the first meeting in May we worked hard on using the past tense in our conversations about our past careers/work, "Le monde du Travail", then ended on a lighter note with a "guess the personality" game, assisted by magazine pictures. The May 17th topic "Obesity" introduced by Linda proved very interesting with plenty of scope for discussion, an additional input on pronunciation from Sally also added variety to the session.
June 7th, another enjoyable and well organised session from Gill with a helpful introduction to a game in which participants had to guess the mystery characters. June 21st, Steve Timms provided an excellent input with a video from French TV to complement the subject "The Seas" which was followed by a discussion on cruises.
Sally Noble covered useful ground early in July with her input on "Visiting Museums and other Attractions" and Linda Bradshaw continued the theme with "Visiting a Bakery" for the final session before the summer break.
With the first session on September 6th 2017 we planned the next few months then used the magazine "Bien Dire" and CD to support our listening skills: A lively discussion followed with the theme "Sharing our experiences of summer". "Aperitifs" was the theme for the second session in September, introduced by Sally Noble, an opportunity to use the language informally with up-to-date vocabulary.
October 4th, Gill Ramsden prepared a lively input on "Road Travel" with a listening and reading activity to introduce the theme, followed by a session on giving directions, talking in pairs. For the final half-hour there was an opportunity to reinforce the language with a group conversation about the problems of Lyndhurst traffic.
Cindy Hammond introduced us to "Le Jardin" on October 18th with an article on pears from the "Bien Dire" magazine, backed up by the CD, then a super input on vocabulary followed, plus conversation relevant to the Autumn season in our gardens. A glimpse of RHS Wisley through their French language brochure set the scene for a future input from Cindy.
Delving into French politics provided members with a fascinating subject on November 1st: the discussion was introduced by Frances Marsden who provided up-to-date information on the topic. Linda Bradshaw's topic on Christmas preparations gave all twelve participants the opportunity to join in the lively conversation during our November 15th session. A good mixture of listening, reading, speaking and observation.
Christine Coney provided us with food for thought when she presented members with the recipes for a sumptuous three course dinner on December 6th featuring French specialities of Escargots and Boeuf Bourgignon. The real piece-de-resistance was the appearance of a beautifully made strawberry and cream flan dessert with a step-by-step description (in French) of the recipe at the end of the session. We ended the year with a convivial wine and cheese get-together on 20th December and the following: "Je vous souhaite un Joyeux Noel et une Bonne Annee"
The year 2018 started with an excellent input from Gill Ramsden on January 3rd with the very topical subject of "Weather" and the following session continued with a January theme from April Robinson: New Year Resolutions and Plans for 2018.
An interesting period from French history provided us with a fascinating discussion when David Dickenson introduced the first session in February with "Le Patrimoine du Moyen age"
French wine proved a favourite topic when Frances Marsden introduced the subject at the session on February 21st.
An enjoyable session with a listening activity and a variety of language tasks, closing with a hilarious sound game, from Mary Dickenson in March. The following session provided a listening activity using a CD and text from the "Bien Dire Initial" magazine from April Robinson, the magazine is a very good resource for our group, then members each introduced "L'Objet" they had chosen to talk about. We ended on a high note with Mary's input and game focusing on the sounds U and OU.
For the April 4th session, April Robinson provided a text and CD, again from the "Bien Dire Initial" magazine, to introduce the topic "Paques en France et Angletterre."

April 18th meeting: Sally Noble provided a wide range of resources, from film videos, to books, magazines and useful website addresses for members in her "Resources to Improve our French"
Frances Marsden talked about "le telephone" at the first meeting in May using a CD for listening activities plus texts.
An especially enjoyable topic for the Art lovers among us when "Art" was Christine Coney's choice of subject for May 16th. The session was supported by CD and Text with an opportunity to talk about and describe individual paintings.
At the beginning of June Gill Ramsden introduced an authentic French conversation by providing an excellent listening topic on CD with supporting text and useful sentences. Members enjoyed the extremely animated conversations which followed.
A brilliant history walk around Lyndhurst with Angela Trend on a perfect summer evening in June provided plenty of opportunity to listen and converse in French. Thank you Angela for a meeting with a difference.
Roger Salmon introduced a topical subject on July 4th as the 2018 "Tour de France" was about to begin, showing members the challenging route for the cycling teams and discussing aspects of the event.
Cindy Hammond anticipated holidays in Europe by providing excellent information and advice on driving in France at the end of July, in time for the summer break. Members participated in listening and reading activities then shared amusing anecdotes from previous driving experiences both in France and in the UK.
We had a great start to September with another Lyndhurst history walk from Angela Trend who provided an excellent input on bygones days relating to the area from Bolton's Bench, across to the golf course and into Romsey Road. The circular tour included many aspects of local history, all in French, plus the benefit of a lovely evening walk. Thank you Angela for the opportunity to enjoy our historic area.
We were back in the Library on September 19th for an excellent input on "Eating Out" from Shirley Mackenzie with Texts and CD listening activities plus the opportunity to practise speaking in a restaurant environment. Members also enjoyed a guessing game and completed the session with anecdotes about restaurant experiences.
October 3rd: Roger Salmon introduced the group to songs from a well known French chanteur as part of the topic about leisure and hobbies. The topic "Leisure" was continued by April on October 17th together with an introduction to "L'Automne", a subject to suit the season.
The French and Their Health was the subject for November 7th when Christine Coney provided a wealth of information together with CD and text for developing the language further. The session ended on a light-hearted note with some basic everyday language.
French Education was the topic for the next session in November and Frances Marsden encouraged a debate about education following her input with CD and text.
Our final December meeting in the Library gave us the opportunity to practice some of the specific language sounds needed for tea-making in the French-style, when "mettre la bouilloire" was one of the steps in making the various flavours of tea. A well organised and interesting session from David Dickenson.
Our last meeting in December was a sociable "French cheese and wine" Christmas get-together in the Oak/Beech room.
2019: The first meeting of the year was held at le Blaireau's in Brockenhurst where members enjoyed a delicious evening meal within the ambience of an excellent French restaurant.
January 16th: Gill Ramsden proved how learning French can be fun as she demonstrated "Faire La Cuisine" with language and mime. This was followed by discussions in small groups about implements members had brought along, plus recipes, foods, and places to eat. Finally a memory game was set up using implements we had brought along which proved very successful.
Members had the opportunity to share interesting stories about their family histories when Maureen White introduced the subject "L'Arbre Genealogique" on February 6th. Listening and reading about the topic also provided new vocabulary for discussion.
February 20th: Sally Noble opened the session on "Taking the Train" with "la sac" of goodies which could be used on a Eurostar trip, with each member choosing an item and describing it to the group. Small group discussion followed with vocabulary relating to train timetables and destinations.
For the following meeting, Mary Dickenson presented a lively and fun-filled session on comic strips and magazines while David assisted with a competition, keeping score on team activities.
March 20th: Shirley Mackenzie and Angela Trend provided the opportunity for members to watch the charming French film Amelie; an enjoyable session followed by a quiz to test our recall of the story, the setting and the characters.
Christine Coney provided excellent information and vocabulary on April 3rd with two items relating to France: "Le Costume Breton" and "A La Gloire de Napoleon". Very helpful for extending our knowledge of the language.
Roger Salmon provided an interesting session on April 17th with "Le Nettoyage", supported by text, vocabulary and CD.
May 1st: Cindy Hammond introduced "La Famille" and the wide vocabulary associated with the the subject, reinforced by listening to the French language on CD.
May 15th: Sally Noble asked members to talk about a recent interesting event in their lives, which encouraged more conversation in a relaxed setting.
June 5th: An interesting and lively discussion about "L'Objet" which members brought along, with good conversational skills from each member, plus an extra bonus from Gill with a short input about "Les Pruneaux D'Agen" inspired by an email from Frances.
The following session on June 19th with a small group of members was led by Sally Noble who introduced the opportunity for a relaxed chat to encourage the flow of conversation.
July 3rd. For the topic "Le Bricolage" Maureen provided a selection of "Outils" for a name matching activity, then text and CD for language development and discussion.
The last meeting of July before the August break was an interesting look into "Le Chemin de Compostelle" with texts and CDs from Christine Coney and April Robinson.
No meetings in August.
Nine members met at the beginning of the Autumn sessions on September 4th with Shirley introducing the topic about historic Mediaeval buildings in France, in particular the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud in the Loire Valley. A good start with an interesting and varied discussion which ended on a fun note with an enjoyable quiz.
September 18th: Frances introduced the topic "Culture" and asked what we understood by the term. All members enjoyed talking about the subject with a partner and explored the complex meaning of the term. Ideas were then shared with the group and the use of the French language throughout the session was excellent.
October 2nd. A great start to the session with an animal guessing game which utilised our powers of description and introduced the vocabulary which was to follow. Maureen continued the theme (Les Francais et les animaux) with text and CD listening activities.
October 16th: An excellent guided tour of St Michael's and All Angels Church in Lyndhurst from historian Angela Trend. Partners and family members joined us for the session which provided an insight into the artists, architects, craftsmen and local benefactors who had participated in the development of the "new" Victorian building on the ancient site.
November 6th: Roger Salmon provided an interesting and challenging text, supported by the French language on CD, about the "6 Excellent reasons to learn French". All members present agreed that there were plenty of excellent reasons to learn the language.
November 20th. Gill Ramsden introduced the topic "La Famille" with stimulation for discussion for all 10 members who attended.
Cindy Hammond provided an excellent input for the meeting at the beginning of December, starting with an emphasis on sounds and accents, then following up with Le Train
New Year 2020 started with a look at holidays in France utilising CD and text plus a game to identify various cities and towns throughout France.
February was an interesting month with input from David and Mary Dickenson who kindly organised both sessions and ensured the sessions in the Library went smoothly.
For the first meeting in March, Maureen White introduced the topic "Driving" using text and CD language input, ending with a crossword puzzle to test vocabulary learnt during the session.
From late March the French Conversation Group started email sessions with all members due to the Covid-19 situation and the "lock-down"
Angela Trend started the email sessions with the topic " Paris and the Exodus" Frances Marsden continued for the April 1st session.
Gill, David and Mary, Maureen, Roger, Christine and April Robinson were among members who contributed via email.
Our group continued with email contact until the final session of the summer on July 15th when just six of us met in April's garden. We are hoping to start again in September when we can meet in person (at a Covid safe distance)
September: We started the "new term" with a planning meeting in the garden again, then on September 9th met in the Library garden for a discussion in French.
October 7th 2020: We are currently meeting under Covid-Secure guidelines at the Baptist Church, Lyndhurst. This new venue has provided an excellent start to our "new normal" for meetings. Thanks go to Roger Salmon for all his behind-the-scenes arrangements which made it possible for more than one group of six to continue to practice French in comfortable surroundings. The subject "L'Automne" provided a colourful theme for the afternoon session.
The second meeting with our new format of just "Conversation" continued to work well with members talking about "Les Vacances Ideales" For the November 4th session we talked about "November 5th, Bonfires and Fireworks". The next two meetings were arranged
for Zoom with the topics decided on "Gardens" (November 18th) "Art" (December 2nd), then "Christmas" (December 16th) with good participation by members.
2021: NEW YEAR: The first session on January 20th covered the topic "Transport" which followed an interesting discussion about the current vaccination programme. February 3rd meeting: Topic, "5 Things I would like to do after Covid" led and organised by Angela Trend, a very enjoyable session!
ZOOM continues until further notice: Next meeting Wednesday February 17th, topic "What I see from my window"
Meetings continued through April and May with various topics on Zoom until the group decided to meet outside on May 26th (subject to the weather)

Outside meetings continued through June and July 2021

Meetings inside started again in September 2021 at the Baptist Church Hall at 2.30pm in the afternoon with a more relaxed format of just conversation, this now includes a warm up activity which is followed by the main topic. Each member of the group takes it in turn to suggest ideas and introduce the topic. The time was changed to 5.30pm and meetings held in the Church for the summer months of 2022.