YESNYOU – Spain: Here I come!

Hello again, everyone! So sorry about the delay – we’ve been very busy level testing some lucky new learners!

But now I’m back…

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…”

Do you recognise this quotation? If you would like to know more about it, click here.

So, last week I posted this picture of me.

Al obscured 2

I think I look rather good, but maybe this one is better?

Al obscured 3

Much better!

Mini rotary slingCan you remember where we were? Ah, yes. I can. Now, after four years of working at the BMW factory building Minis I weighed about seventy kilos.  The best thing about having a very physical job is that you can eat and drink whatever you want, and you still lose weight! At that time I was twenty-six years old, and probably fitter and healthier than I had ever been or will ever be again. My family, however, said I looked like I had escaped from prison. Or Siberia.

Mini groupAs you can probably imagine, the work was not very intellectually stimulating. I used to pass the time by talking to my colleagues for hours and hours about any topic we could imagine. Or singing. I did a lot of singing. Working with so many people from so many different places made it easy to find interesting things to talk about. And for many of the people I worked with, English wasn’t even their second language. Naturally, this meant that I often needed to explain some vocabulary, a phrase or an idiom.

As time passed, I started to realise that I really liked teaching English!

Oxford HouseSo in July 2006, based on the recommendation of my friend Ed (remember him from last week?) I packed my bags and moved to Barcelona. I spent the first month studying a TEFL qualification at Oxford House on Calle Girona. Even though I had spent twenty years studying English, there was still lots to learn about my language! It is one thing to be able to use a language, but it is something quite different to be able to explain your language to other people.

Hawaiian ShirtAlmost immediately I got an interview for a job. But there was one problem: I didn’t realise that it was an interview! I had misunderstood and thought that it was to cover some classes temporarily for a friend of mine. So, on the day of the ‘meeting’ I put on my best hawaiian shirt and shorts and presented myself with a smile. I was very lucky, because the people that I met that day were very friendly (and very understanding!) and they gave me the opportunity to work for them anyway. Can you guess the name of that company?

It was YES!

Eight years later I’m still here, working with a great team of people to make your learning experience as good as can be.

And that’s enough about me. Next I’ll send you a little learning gift in the form of a very useful Cheat Sheet all about Social English.

Take care until then!


Don’t forget to leave a comment or any questions on our facebook page!


Delay = A period of time by which something is late.
Recognise = To identify something that you have seen or heard before.
Rather = To a certain or significant extent or degree.
Weighed = Past tense of the verb ‘to weigh’ which relates to how heavy someone or something is. The noun is ‘weight’.
Fitter = Comparative adjective of the adjective ‘fit’, meaning physically healthy, particularly in terms of endurance.
Realise = To become fully aware of something.
Packed my bags = To prepare for a move or holiday.
Spent = To use in a useful manner. Normally associated with time or money.
Interview = A meeting at which it is determined if you will be employed.
Smile = To indicate happiness using your face, particularly the mouth.


The Past Perfect tense is used to describe completed actions or actions that took place over a period of time that happened before something in the past. For example:

“I hadn’t seen an opera before last night.”

“Al had been in Spain for over ten years before he danced flamenco!”

The Past Perfect tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb ‘had’ and the past participle of the main verb.

Find the following examples in the blog:

I was “…fitter and healthier than I had ever been…”

“…I looked like I had escaped from prison.”

“Even though I had spent twenty years studying English…”

 “I had misunderstood and thought that it was to cover some classes…”

If the past action did occur at a specific time, the Past Simple can be used in sentences where “before” and “after” are used. “Before” and “after” actually tell you which action came first, so the Past Perfect becomes optional. For this reason the following two sentences are both correct.


“He had seen the film twice before it was released in 2010!”

“He saw the film twice before it was released in 2010.”

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