On meeting David Crystal...

Tuesday 3 May 2016
by  Natha
popularity : 1%


There are moments in life you never even dream are going to happen... then they do and end up even better than you had ever imagined!!


It was like this for me this week. A week last Monday I realised by chance that David Crystal was coming to Hexham on 27th April as part of its book festival. Straight away, I bought the last 2 tickets on the 3rd row, excused myself from football training (I am after all a coach...) and started looking forward to the event. Later that day, I received an email from the wonderful Amina at the Kittiwake Trust Multilingual Library saying that David Crystal was going to become its patron and would be there (Eldon Gardens, Newcastle upon Tyne) at 3pm on 28th April! Luckily I wasn’t working that day so replied I would attend the event. What a coup for them!!


Queen’s Hall in Hexham is a lovely cosy theatre and was the perfect venue for David Crystal’s talk. It felt like he was addressing every one of us so personally. His lecture was informative, clever, entertaining and fascinating. My partner who sat next to me said I was smiling and beaming all the way through... I can believe it, I loved every second of being in that room!


Afterwards I queued up to meet him: first of all I had a letter to give to him from ALL’s Steven Fawkes (David Crystal is also the ALL’s patron) which he very excitedly and gratefully received; then I asked him if he would sign his latest book (The gift of the gab) which I had just bought that evening. It turns out it has not even come out in the shops yet and it was the 1st one he ever signed! (and dated to prove it!) This made David Crystal and me very happy!



There was more to come... His unique speech at the library the following day was equally awe-inspiring. What I loved most about David Crystal is that not only is he such a clever, knowledgeable and gifted man, but he is also so approachable, genuine and friendly!


I waited for a chance to talk to him and this came when he was chatting to my new friend Katie (she was as star-struck as I was, we felt like little girls!) about babies’ babbling. I shared with them how I got my 1st David Crystal book, "Rediscover Grammar", in 1995 when I was a trainee teacher in this country and didn’t understand how the children I taught did not know what nouns and adjectives were: grammar played such a big role in school in France! The book helped me write my main essay as part of my PGCE course. Then last month I was picking up this lovely 6-year-old girl I sometimes take to school, Eve, and she was holding "Rediscover Grammar" in her hand, ready for show and tell! She told me that it was about nouns and adjectives, words that she had been learning about in school. When we arrived at my house, I showed to Eve my older edition of the book and we had fun reading and comparing a couple of pages. As I shared this story with David Crystal, he offered for us to have a photo taken together so I could show Eve. What a lovely gesture! I can’t wait to show her next week!! I will certainly do my best to nurture her interest in grammar and all things to do with language; I think her mother Laura, a trained English teacher, will help too!



Lastly I briefly told David Crystal about my unique multilingual mobile library... even though it is mostly French at the moment and I unfortunately have to charge schools so I can attempt to make a living out of it! Should my venture become a charity?!?


Before I had to leave to go home to my children, I made a new friend, Cheryl. She is looking to improve her French and I my Spanish so we are going to meet up and practise both with each other... See the amazing things which can happen in a multilingual library!


This has probably been my longest blog ever... Hope you enjoyed reading it! Thank you!


You can ready David Crystal’s take on the event on here, in his own blog!


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