Cornucopia – Turkish history, culture, art

cornucopiaWe thought it was time to include a plug for Cornucopia, a wonderful resource for discovering so much that is excellent in Turkey.

This twice-yearly magazine on art and culture is augmented with a website with articles, an online store for back-issues and Cornucopia’s book publishing. This week on the website for example you could read about:

There are articles about restaurants such as the Turkish restaurant Zara in Hampstead, London, film festivals, cinemas, textiles, more exhibitions, more artists, more photographers, and much more art and culture of all kinds, while visitors to Turkey, and enthusiastic residents like ourselves, can plan their days with Cornucopia’s Cultural Guide and their What’s On guide.

All this information is kept fresh in the the Cornucopia blog, and  constantly updated on the Cornucopia Twitter feed.

We hope you read and enjoy this great resource.


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Real werewolf stories

The full moon was Saturday night but it will be pretty large for a few more days. Time perhaps for some werewolf stories.

These 8 stories go back hundreds of years and are myths of people that were really believed to be practice lycanthropy (the word for being a werewolf).

These stories are slightly adapted for the EFL classroom from  See below for a teaching idea and some vocabulary.

1. 1521 in Poligny, France, a man was walking alone when he was attacked by a wolf, but was able to wound the creature considerably. Stumbling further down the road, he noticed a man nursing a wound similar to the one he had just inflicted on the beast. The man was Michel Vurden, who after being questioned by authorities, admitted to having made a deal with a devil for the ability to become a wolf. He even named two other werewolves, Philibert Montot and Pierre Bourgot, as his accomplices in murder and cannibalism that were plaguing the region. No honor amongst wolves, I guess.

2. Giles Garnier was a lonely hermit living in a cottage outside of Dole, France, in the 16th century. But when he got married, the stresses of providing for his family made him desperate. He had to figure out a way to get more food. So, he found a potion that allowed him to turn into a wolf as he wished. Around this time, children began disappearing. It didn’t take long for the townspeople to point fingers at the former hermit. During his trial he pleaded guilty to “crimes of lycanthropy” and he was burned to death.

3. In 1589, Peter Stumpp admitted to being a serial killer, murdering fourteen children and two pregnant women from the town of Bedburg, Germany. After being tortured while strapped to a wagon wheel, he confessed to something else —that the devil had given him a magic belt that allowed him to turn into a wolf when he wore it. The townspeople removed his head and placed it on a freshly killed wolf’s body. That’s what they thought of people who engage in lycanthropy.


The trial of Peter Stumpp

4. In 1598, a local tailor from Chalons, France, was charged with so many horrible atrocities that the court insisted all the documents from the trial be destroyed. Among the charges, the tailor was accused of tempting children into his home, only to slit their throats and eat them. When they resisted his attempts to get them into the house he would turn into a wolf and hunt them down in the night. The charges weren’t without evidence—barrels of bones and blood were found in deep cellars beneath his home.

5. When the town of Gascony, France was terrorized by vicious attacks and disappearances inflicted upon their children in 1603, one teenager admitted it was he who did these things, while in wolf form. Jean Grenier, a local 14-year-old, admitted to feasting upon the flesh of the  children. He claimed a strange man gave him a magical wolf skin that could transform him. Every night, he and a pack of nine werewolves would terrorize the surrounding towns. He boastfully admitted to having eaten three or four children. Given his age, instead of being sentenced to death, he was locked up in a local monastery for healing.

6. Nobody knows how this got out of hand, but in 1640, the town of Greifswald, Germany, was overrun by a whole pack of werewolves. After many attempts to battle the wolves with normal bullets, a group of students decided on a try a different technique. They melted down all the silver in the town and used it to create shinier bullets. This experiment worked and so they stumbled upon the (alleged) werewolves’ one weakness.

7. In 1685, the town of Ansbach, Germany, was terrorized by a wolf. When it was killed the creature was found to be the mayor of Ansbach himself, whom everyone thought had died a few weeks before. After the wolf was killed, it was dressed in the mayor’s clothing and hung by his neck. (They just wanted to be sure, I guess.)

8. When a man named Theiss was tried for lycanthropy in Jurgenburg, Livonia, in 1692 he pleaded guilty, but also claimed that werewolves aren’t inherently bad. In fact, he said that his kind have been in a long war against witches to save the country, and possibly the world.

He told the court that the reason crops sometimes wouldn’t grow in Jurgenburg was because the witches had taken the grain down to Hell. Huge battles occurred as the werewolves tried to stop the grain being taken.

The court eventually sentenced him ten lashes with a whip for sounding like a crazy person


The classroom task could be:

Give a story each to groups or pairs of students – they read and retell to each other. The group decides which is the most believable, most unbelievable, most disgusting, scariest.

Vocabulary for pre- teaching – Court, plead, grain, mayor, torture, hermit


We hope you don’t have nightmares!!!



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Is there such a thing as correct English anyway?

Sam Leith is fond of the quotation “When you go fishing, you bait the hook with what the fish likes, not with what you like.”

In his new book Write to the Point, Leith begins by jumping into a controversial topic. What is correct English? How terrible is it to occasionally split an infinitive? Or to start a sentence with a conjunction? To answer this Leith goes to the golden rule of communication – keep the audience in mind. Choose your words, and the grammar you use to hold them together, according to the situation, according to your reader or listener. Decide if you need to be formal or informal, and vary your “correctness” accordingly. Bait your hook for the fish you are trying to catch.

And follow rule two – Keep it simple.

Leith’s book provides a guide and a reference tool for writers. There are sections on parts of speech, punctuation, sentence construction, and the usage of contested vocabulary, but this is not just a catalogue of rules but a readable book with a mission to help us bring our texts to life.

 Please follow this link for very well-written, memorable advice by Sam Leith on writing in general and on wrting specific types of text including love letters and writing for digital media: e-mails and blogs like this one.

Follow Sam Leith on Twitter

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Up-Hill – a poem by Christina Rossetti

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

Christina Rossetti (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008)

Before you read look up these words in your dictionary – roof, inn, wayfarer, knock, weak

How many people are “speaking” in the poem? Who are they?

Describe the conversation your own words. DO NOT quote directly from the poem. Fill in the blanks.
Yesterday I met someone who told me about……………….
He said the journey would be ……………………………..
He said we could stay at …………………… and it would be……………………………………
I asked if I would be alone on the journey and was told …………………………………

Could this poem be a metaphor? For what?

What is the meaning of the reply to the question “Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?“) (See * below for a suggestion)

How many words can you think of about hills and mountains? Write them in your notebook. Make the page look like a mountain, with all the words climbing up the page to the word “peak” at the top!!

Writing your own poem

Choose a geographical topic. (Possibilities could be the sea ; dark places such as caves or gorges; a holiday home or hotel; a river or lake ; a village, town or city; a building; a country or region; or of course your journey itself).

Brainstorm the vocabulary into a diagram – following the mountain example.

Underline in red words that make you feel “negatively” about this place. And underline in the colour of your choice words that make you feel happy!!

Make questions and answers using some of the words in your diagram – Following Christina Rosetti’s example.

Arrange your questions and answers into a poem!!!

Other ways to use this poem in the classroom
You could ask the students to rewrite the dialogue as if it were taking place today, or write a report of a journey to a mountain in modern times…. The possibilities are endless. For many more ideas and activities for using this poem in the classroom please visit For more tips on using poetry in the language classroom see this website from the British Council

*Travellers that have worked hard to climb up the mountain will find the rest they deserve from this labour.

Works cited
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Up-Hill Poem Text.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 14 Jul. 2017.

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Muddy Road

Tanzan and Ekido were travelling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. He could no longer restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

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I Categorically Deny It

I categorically deny it
You’ve got to be kidding
In no way did I do

Whatever it is you’re accusing me of
Ask him
He was there
He’ll back me up
Go on
Tell him
Go on
I don’t believe this
I thought you were my friend
On my side
Through thick and thin you said
Two peas from the same pod
You know who your friends are
Who you can count on in a pinch
Not you
I might have may have
Not saying that I did
May have
But it was so tempting
Fish in a barrel
Just sitting there, alone, forlorn
Looking sad for itself
There was no one around
Well him and he said go on
No one will know
So I did
I ate it
The last piece of chocolate cake


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Don’t Use Big Words!!

In promulgating your esoteric cogitations
or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable philosophical and psychological observations,
beware of platitudinous ponderosities.

Let your conversational communications
possess a clarified conciseness,
a coalescent consistency and a concatenated cogency.

Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity,
jejune babblement and asinine affections.

Let your extemporaneous descantings and
unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and
veracious vivacity without rodomontade orthrasonical bombast.

Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity,
setatious vacuity,
ventriloqual verbosity or
vain vapidity,
obscurant or apparent.

Shun double entendre,
purient jocosity and
pestiferous profanity.

In other words…
Say what you mean and
mean what you say,
and don’t use big words!!

Author Unknown


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