Today is what’s commonly known as “Bastille Day” but known in France as “la fete nationale”.
As part of our year long Leisure, Art’s & Culture” programme in Airdnua we have focused our attention this month on France.
After having watched so many of the Euro 2016 matches, we were all looking forward to dedicating the month of July to France and it’s no coincidence that it happens to be the month of their national celebration.
Last week we brainstormed about all the things we know about France, we listed all the famous French people, cities, landmarks, food, drinks etc. that we have a little knowledge on and then we used the power of Google to answer some questions that we didn’t know the answers to.
Today we focused on a little bit of French history and learned about the Storming of the Bastille and how they have celebrated the date as a National celebration ever since. We watched a video of the military parade that is held every year on the Champs Elysees. We also learned that the Eiffel Tower was erected in Paris in 1889 to celebrate the 100 years since the French Revolution.
I like going to st.Josephs because I am learning about computers and English.
In English communications level 4 we are doing a project on the Zoo. I am doing the project with another girl and we are shareing all the information we can get on some of the animals. I am writing about the elephants in the zoo.
We are also reading a book called The Plough And The Stars. It is about the 1916 rising. We also watched an old film on the subject.
St. Josephs is a good school, the tutors and other students are great and we all get along with each other. I am going to classes three mid mornings a week and I love it. I also go to Airdnua one day a week when I am in St. Josephs and when I am on summer holidays from school I go to Airdnua two half days and one full day a week.So I get out of the house most of the week. I f I did not go to either I do not know what I would do. The people and staff are very friendly. It is great.
This year in Airdnua we have set ourselves a challenge. We are going to try and a little bit about 12 different countries, one for each month of 2016.
January was all about Australia.
We decided to immerse ourselves in all things Aussie!
In our Current Affairs sessions we included Australian news, we looked online, read articles and watched videos about what’s happening on the other side of the world.
In our ILS cookery sessions we made Anzac cookies which are traditional to Australia….. the story goes that wives of Australian soldiers sent them Anzac cookies during WW1 because the ingredients (e.g. rolled oats, flour. coconut, golden syrup) travelled well and lasted a long time.
In Leisure, Arts & Culture we shared stories and anecdotes of friends and family who’ve travelled to Oz and heard from Pascal who flew to the ‘land down under’ in 1977……..
“I travelled with my father, mother and sister to visit my brother Damien who lives in Australia. In 1977 at 12 years old I flew from Dublin to Heathrow. It was evening time when we left Heathrow and got on another plane headed for Bahrain. I remember they had the little small cans of coke on that flight and I kept going to the air hostess and asking for more and more!!!! I couldn’t believe the heat that hit me when I got off the plane in Bahrain. The next flight took us to Kuala Lumpur ( I remember noticing, straight away, the red clay on the ground there ) from Kuala Lumpur we flew to Melbourne it was raining in the airport in Melbourne when we arrived. I flew with British Airways.
We had a car with a caravan on the back and we travelled around the South East of the country. Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland, Victoria it was great, I was on the bridge in Sydney and in a boat underneath. It was a great experience. We went to a drive in cinema and visited a kind of museum of Ned Kelly’s and I saw kangaroos.
While I was there I remember hearing about the two planes that collided in Tenerife, Pan Am and KLM ( a Dutch Airline).
My brother still lives in Perth and he has a son now.”
Here’s what some other people found of the experience…….
“I saw pictures of kangaroo’s and I learned about the ships that travel port to port around the island.” R.T
“A lovely place to live…sunshine, pubs and McDonalds ( I didn’t know they had McDonalds in Australia).” J.B
“I enjoyed learning about the different creatures and animals such as a dingo. I had never heard of a dingo before. We talked about the lifestyle, it seems like they can sit in the sunshine and enjoy a beer, I’m told Australia is 12,00 miles from Ireland.” F.K
“I learned that the United States is bigger and has a bigger population than Australia but that the population of Australia is nearly 24 million. I also learned that Australia has a lot of kangaroos…… more kangaroos than people.” L.B
“We talked a little about the aboriginal people but I’d Like to learn more about them.” M.C
Overall it was enjoyable and got lots of great conversations going!
I attend Airdnua between 9 am and 4 pm Monday to Friday, I have Tuesday off, I try to work a computer on Thursday morning. I also have a gym class I started. I also do a relaxation class on a Wednesday and a smaller relaxation class on Thursday. I am in Airdnua for the last 30 years, I have seen many changes. The changes were for the better. We have a karaoke session once a week and bingo on a Friday afternoon.
The attendance allowance we get is not much but it is better than nothing.
We also get our dinner here and a tea and toast in the morning. The food we get here is lovely, on a Friday we get chips, fish and beans which is one of my favourites, I also like the lasagne.
We have a summer outing every year and sometimes we go to the cinema and museums.
Every thursday we meet in airdnua. Over the last few weeks we have done quizzes and watch comedy shows. We also played rummy (cards) and dominoes. On this thursday we had a conversation with HAIL housing with David Kavanagh it was very interesting. he talked about what they did about getting social housing for people with a disability and mental health difficulties. He also talked about tenants rights and what HAIL do.
I think it is good to get the men altogether to discuss things like health problems and have fun with the lads.
In January this year, the ladies of Airdnua decided to set up a group so we could discuss issues particular to women and in a relaxed environment, learn from each other and support each other. The group runs on Thursday morning for 2 hours. When the group started we brainstormed and came up with loads of idea’s for what we could use the group for. The overwhelming activity that the ladies of Airdnua expressed an interest in was knitting crocheting and getting their nails painted so because its what the majority wanted we’ve spent the last few weeks doing just that.
We are looking forward to all the different options we have and have already talked about next years International Women’s Day and toyed with the idea of having our own celebration in Airdnua.
We, as a group, wanted to blog about our sessions and show you some of our work so we’ve all contributed by giving a quote on the women’s group so far………….
“the Women’s Group is good and I like it”
“Not pressurized & group led”
“Relaxing, interesting, keeps me looking forward to next week”
“Time flies while we’re in the Women’s Group and its group oriented.”
“I enjoy the chit chat amongst us women.”
“I love the coffee every second week.”
“Doing the knitting is great for exercising my fingers & keeps me busy.”
“Something to learn all the time”
“I enjoy getting music that people like & asking everyone’s opinion.”
“It’s a relaxing happy couple of hours.”
“I like getting my nails done and practising knitting.”