All posts by Elena Ramos

Guernica Cultural Evening – May 2017 Guernica 80 years on

The Bedford Language Centre organised a Double Presentation and Social to mark the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica, on 26th April 1937.  This merciless destruction of the Basque town of Guernica by the Luftwaffe, at the behest of Franco, was also an attack on the  symbolic home of Spanish democracy, and inspired Pablo Picasso  to paint his famous anti-war masterpiece.

The opening presentation by Frank Livesey gave a fascinating exploration of the historic background to the Spanish Civil War, and after a Spanish buffet, the audience were treated to a detailed interpretation by Victor Sanchez of the meaning of Picasso’s work of art.  Both talks included a question and answer session, and during the interval the mixed Spanish and English audience enjoyed a lively discussion.

“What a fascinating pair of presentations, which opened my eyes to so many aspects of Spanish culture. It was also a very social evening, and I enjoyed talking to several very interesting people.” Teresa Moon


Trip to Jerez -Cádiz (Spain)

Our trip to Cádiz

BLC has run trips to Madrid where the emphasis has been to learn about Spanish everyday life & speak Spanish while living with Spanish families. We think that now is the time to try something a bit different, to show the culture of a different area. With this idea BLC went on an arduous exploration of some of the places around Jerez to see if this could be a popular destination.bodega Tío Pepe

Jerez de la Frontera:

Jerez is the centre of production of Sherry. With this in mind we felt it was necessary to investigate. One of the most famous producers is Gonzalez Byas, producer of, among other types, Tio Pepe Fino. The tour of the Bodega gives information about the history of the company and some information about the production.

We tried to remember that there is more to Jerez than sherry and visited the Alcázar, the Moorish palace. Not so well preserved as the Alhambra of Granada or Los Alcázares of Seville, it is still interesting, with information about olive oil pressing and the moorish baths.

Sanlúcar de Barrameda:

Another stopping point was Sanlúcar, the starting point for Columbus and Magallanes. San Lúcar is the D.O. for Manzanilla (not the tea!). Thus we needed to visit the Barbadillo Bodega to learn the difference.

Sanlúcar is also the start point for safaris to the Doñana National park.

  Doñana TripThis National park was created in 1969 and it is one of Europe’s most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. It is an immense area; the parque itself and surrounding parque natural or Entorno de Doñana. The trip involves a crossing of the Guadarquivir river. There is the chance to see animals on the river’s edge as the boat travels upstream to the landing point.The tour shows the different ecosystems. The driver gave a good commentary with interesting anecdotes and hivistas cadizstory.

Arcos de la Frontera:

The region is also famous for its “pueblos blancos”. We visited one to see how these are. Arcos de La Frontera, like Jerez was a border town at the time of the expulsion of the Moorish empire. This is a town of narrow streets, cobbles and steep roads. With picturesque houses and magnificent views.


An important Spanish Naval city from the days of sail, Cádiz is on a promontery with the old town filling the end.
There is so much History in this area! Definitely we have to go back to find out more about the History and wine!

Spanish Fiesta, Feria de abril 2015

Everything started a year ago…While we were in one of our enrichment activities in Spain our group of students asked for flamenco lessons back in Bedford!

Sevillanas workshop in Madrid June 2014
Sevillanas workshop in Madrid June 2014

Back home we contacted Claire, La Fresa Flamenca, and since then two groups of students have learnt this type of Spanish dance.

Last Saturday night, as a grand finale we offered a “ palma”workshop with tapas and paella. In this workshop we learnt different   Spanish rhythms and after that we all danced sevillanas, that is a dance from Seville, in the South of Spain.

We had Timothy Pearson, our guitarist, and Claire Astbury, our flamenco teacher. Everyone had a fantastic time!

Thank you to everyone who made this happened!

Katharine of Aragon talk by Alison Weir

There were 25 of us who went to the talk about Katharine of Aragon given by Alison Weir.tumba ca

I was not sure what  to expect as Katharine has always seen the cause of religious separation from the Catholic world in England. Having heard a lot about Alison Weir but having never read her books, nor followed her on the media, I knew only that she was a well-known English historian.

What a talk!

Alison’s narration and story-telling techniques, as well as her deep knowledge about the early Tudor times transported us to the times of Kathari ne of Aragon. We learnt how tough this Spanish lady was and how ruthless Henry VIII was to her. She did not manage to meet her only living child, Mary, for the last years of her life.

Alison WeirKatharine knew her role in life, and in her last letter to her husband, written on her death-bed, she wrote, Dear husband, and signed it, the Queen of England.

Alison is very erudite on the subject of Henry VIII and her way of presenting the topic made me realise how much more I would like to learn about Katharine of Aragon. We are thinking of organising a tour where Alison can tell us more. Thank you to everyone who came on the trip and shared this experience with us.







Multilingual carols workshop

Singing is a great way to learn a language and to meet others.

Working with María Fernandez Toro was such a joy and enrichment for everyone. Maria did a fantastic job with 28 of us and we sung in French, Italian, German, Spanish and English. Some of us were monolingual and very amateur singers, but we all were willing to try new things and the group worked very well.

Maria explained the meaning of the words and gave us directions about how to make sounds in different languages. So by the end of the two days workshop we felt far more confortable about singing in a different language. Please find few of our multilingual songs at our you tube channel.

Welcome to the Bedford Language Centre blog


Welcome to the Bedford Language Centre blog.
With a scrunching sound of wrapping paper and clinking of glasses as background noise it is time to start blogging, it is time to welcome you to this blog and it is time to look at what we have done in our first few steps of this new venture.
It was only September the Bedford Language Centre was created as an international culture and language hub in Bedford.
We had a launch party in a Mediterranean style, with tapas and wine! As we do not understand the learning of a language without the explosion to the culture this is how we started.
We were lucky as one of our press release was produced in Bedfordshire on Sunday. Thanks for that!

We would like to fulfil the lack of provision of languages in Bedfordshire area and we would like to inform you about what is on in our region regarding culture, arts, promotions, not only in English but in other languages to celebrate the richness of our area. This is the reason we set up a Meetup account, and so far we have nearly a 100 followers! Some of the events are organised by our people, other ones, we just promote them.
In all this time we have managed to achieve quite a lot. But… what is new for the New Year?
Our New Year resolution list is a never ending one and it is because our creative group has great ideas, even when some of them will take a while to materialise. Thank you team for all your continuous support!! If, out there, there is someone who would like to join us, please contact us. We are a bunch who would love to give the people of Bedford area another choice of entertainment, learning and leisure! Thank you.
Please, find a list of workshops we ran from September to December.