You are never too old to learn English!

Recently I was asked to teach an octogenarian English.  Don’t be surprised, he is actually 86 and still working.   I know, life for us as we get older is looking promising!  Mr Nozair hails from Cairo and has an extremely buoyant business exporting Lemons and Grapefruits to all parts of the World and this, dear Readers, is why he wants to improve his English – so that he can continue to expand his business deeper and deeper across the Globe!  Mr Nozair had signed up for a Two week Intensive Business English Course.

I asked him if he wanted to slow down. He thoughts for a while. Smiled and stirred his third Espresso of the morning. “No,” he said “Still more markets to capture!”  What a wonderful sentiment.

So it was with great joy that I prepared my lessons for Mr Nozair but was still slightly concerned that he was over 80 and was flying into Heathrow directly from a meeting in Cape Town.  He said not to worry – he wouldn’t be tired, there wasn’t any time difference coming up from Cape Town. He had booked business and would sleep on the flight and shave in the Toilet! I wasn’t convinced.

I recognised him immediately.  He strolled through the Arrival Door looking exactly like the Quintessentially English gentleman he feels he could be.  Complete with a fob watch chained to his waistcoat.  A check one of course. Oh and don’t forget the hat.  He wore a wonderful black felt Fedora.   I loved him immediately….

During his two weeks with me he would be at the table; books opened by 08.30hrs.  No slacking for him or me!   Afternoons were just as exhausting.  No sooner had we finished our lunch (during which he ate; talked and asked questions all at the same time) then we were out on an excursion.  Here you can see him and another “Golden Age student” (actually, my Dad!) having a day out at the BlueBell Railway in mid-Sussex.  They spent a lot of that afternoon discussing Locomotives and Steam Engines with the train Drivers working there.

Jackie Verrall MD of English Language Homestays
Written by :
Jackie Verrall,MD of English Language Homestays

Mr Nozair and my father had a great time talking about “the War”.   My father was a teenager during that time and so was Mr Nozair, but by a strange chance of fate, both lived in Egypt during the War and could talk about their memories fondly with each other.   My father has also now become quite an expert on citrus fruit ( a reference to chatting to Mr Nozair over lunch about grapefruits; lemons and their optimum growing conditions)


Some of my colleagues have asked if it was difficult trying to teach someone of a certain age! My answer is always a resounding “NO!”. Anyone who wishes to learn something new, only has to come to the Lesson with a willing mind and pen and paper. We have formulated a lot of the lessons around his business interests, so this forms a sound basis to improve English and whilst he may not pick up the nuances as swiftly as a fifteen year old, by the end of week 2, we had rattled away on topics as various as soil erosion; cheap airlines such as Ryannair and Easyjet and Brighton and Hove Football Team entering the Premier League.

I was quite sad when I had to take Mr Nozair to the Airport to say Goodbye to him but he assured me he would be back again soon.  He said he wanted to return to England and this time visit the Brighton Royal Pavilion.  He said he didn’t have a lot of time between Fruit Festivals, but would fit something in for sure.    A week later I received a text to say he would be back in November and that, although he was very busy before Christmas, he would be signing up for the 4 day weekend Course.

So what’s stopping you. Age is no barrier… Book now and don’t look back.

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Autumn General English or Autumn Intensive English course
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ALL INCLUSIVE of Accommodation; Excursions; Bus Passes and Lessons
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