Friday, 30 September 2011

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Penelope Frigon

BROUGHT up in Leamington Spa until she was 16, and having travelled to the farthest reaches of the planet, Penelope Frigon now calls Bridport home. After studying European Business Studies with French and Spanish in Essex she lived in London working for a photographers off Oxford Street for a while before leaving to travel. Penelope visited Malaysia, Cayman Islands, Mexico and Central America to name a few, teaching English in Japan along the way. Having returned to the UK she completed a BA in French and Spanish at the University of Wales, became a part time private language tutor and then in 2006 started running French and Spanish groups for adults in the Beach and Barnicot and the Olive Tree Restaurant. Penelope has now combined learning with food and drink, by setting up Love Learning in Dorset. Love learning offers a variety of courses for adults and children at the Olive Tree in Bridport and the Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth. For more information visit or call 07817 302984.

WHAT was your favourite place you visited on your travels?
I loved them all in different ways as they all had a new perspective on life to offer. Perhaps I would choose Mexico for the relaxed and happy people that they are, the bright colours everywhere, and the fact that Mexicans speak a lot slower and clearer than the Spanish. One of my favourite memories is sitting on the pacific coast-watching whales swim on by.

HOW do Japanese students differ from English ones?
The Japanese people are a lot shyer. They can read and write English perfectly but find it hard to have the confidence to string a sentence together. Having said that, their English counterparts can be hesitant sometimes too. It’s important to feel relaxed and comfortable in order to let yourself open up, the glass of Rioja served in my evening Spanish classes certainly helps!

WHAT brought you to Bridport and what do you like about the town?
My parents retired down here and travelling along the coast road to visit them at the end of a balmy summer evening, sold me. How could I resist. Having travelled for many years, I can say that Dorset’s landscape is up there with the best.

YOUR husband runs the Olive Tree, what would be your favourite dish for him to prepare for you and why?
Ha! I know people may expect me to say this, but those that know my husband’s food will agree that pretty much everything he cooks, is great and I love it. He cooks with passion and integrity. He once told me that every plate he serves up to his customers he makes as if it were for himself, and that’s what makes him a great chef.

WHAT benefits can someone gain from learning a new language?
Aside from the obvious benefits, learning a language has been proven to have many benefits that are great for all ages but particularly for those of a certain age, and that is keeping memory loss at bay, Alzheimer’s etc.

WHO would be your three dream guests at a dinner party?
David Attenborough, a gentle and wise teacher; Frida Khalo, the Mexican artist who had a difficult life, yet, her determination to overcome her challenges is inspiring, and to round off maybe a few tunes with Nina Simone.

WHAT inspired you to start Love Learning in Dorset?
I come from a family of teachers, my mum is a piano teacher and my dad is a Doctor of Engineering and was the head of a college in the Midlands. Languages are about getting your point across, being understood, communicating, in my opinion less important is having every accent in place. It’s no problem to make a mistake, just have a go and do your best. Expanding and developing Love Learning in Dorset to incorporate other tutors is really the entrepreneurial side of me coming out. Bridport and the surrounding area is blessed with a lot of creative people who quite simply wish to share their passion. I have found this with the tutors that I have running courses for me.

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