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An occasional newsletter from the Honorary Secretary
As Bill approaches his 75th birthday (November 6), he has said that after 28 years of editing La Brita Esperantisto he would now like a new editor to be found We thank Bill for his long, arduous and often thankless duty to the movement during this long time. Later in this newsletter I will pose some questions about our future publications policy and earnestly invite you to respond with your opinions.
We expect, at our next Management Committee meeting on 13 November, to appoint Paul Hewitt as a part time Director of E A.B. Paul will work a three-day week and initially will be doing research into what we should be offering our members. Once we have some answers we shall try to give better value for the membership subscriptions. Paul will initially work a six- month contract and we, and he, will then review the situation. Paul was formerly head of a school and took early retirement. He has wide-ranging interests and will bring afresh approach to the development of EA.B.
How long is it envisaged that we remain at the temporary address? It is likely to be about 12 months.
Does the £3,000 p.a. rent relate to the temporary or permanent address? To the temporary address.
Is it intended to replace Martyn McClelland? If so what steps are being taken to find a successor who would be willing to live in the Barlaston area? If not, what other arrangements are being made? Is it envisaged that a post holder would get living accommodation at W.M.C.? We have only been operating for four weeks so far at Ipswich and therefore a full picture is still not visible but our current estimate is that a full time employee will not be needed to handle the routine work. We have taken on a temporary part time office worker to work 12 hours a week and envisage this as being sufficient for the near future. Later, when a Director is appointed who will be doing non-routine work, then the work load for the office worker will increase and so will the hours worked. Currently 'call diversion' is in use so that when the office is not manned, incoming phone calls are automatically routed to the home of the Hon. Sec. or whoever has volunteered to be on duty. Phone calls, apart from admin matters between our Hon. Treas. and Eric Walker and Fraser Dunbar, amount to only one or two daily. When we decided that W.M.C, would be a good location for the office, we realised that it would not be possible to find an Esperantist to be the office worker. The time spent in Ipswich will be a useful trial period in arranging the system so that a non-Esperantist can do 90% of the routine work. Of course we shall encourage our 'temp' to learn Esperanto! We do not intend to provide any living accommodation at W.M.C. The Director will work from home and mainly communicate with the office by phone, fax and e-mail and will probably visit only once a month, more or less. To exercise control over the office worker a work plan will be put into place and the current Director of W.M.C, has kindly offered to keep an eye on how our office is being run. We are very conscious indeed of the need to constantly ensure that the office is well run.
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 2]
What sort of premises are envisaged at Barlaston? Conversion of existing buildings or construction of a new one? A combination of both. Currently there exists a separate building, formerly a coach house, which is currently used on the ground floor as a games room. The upper room is derelict. The general plan is that the games room is converted to be the office and book service. Adjacent to this a large room should be built to house the Butler Library. The derelict upper room is to be converted into a twin bedroom and over the new library room it is planned to build another two twin bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities. Toilets with access for disabled people plus simple drink making facilities are to be included. The coach house is already linked to the college's central heating system and this will extend to the new rooms.
Will we own the premises we use or pay rent? It is estimated that the capital expenditure on the above will come to about £160,000. We shall only go ahead provided that a satisfactory contract is made between EAB and the owners of the college, who are Stoke on Trent Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council. What is 'satisfactory' is open to a variety of meanings. Speaking personally, I would hope that this expenditure of £160,000 (it could rise of course as building contracts have a nasty habit of doing!) would give us rent free accommodation for both the library and the office for 99 years with the proviso that if either party wanted to end the agreement, that we would receive back part of our investment in proportion to the fraction of 99 years that we had spent there, adjusted for inflation. I would hope that there would be separate contracts relating to the office and the library with the capital expenditure separated out between the two because it could be possible that EAB would want to move the office but not the library. Repairs to the structure would be the responsibility of the college, leaving us to pay for internal decorations to the office and library; heating costs of the office to be charged to us. In return, the college has the extra income which is generated by the extra three twin bedrooms. Incidentally, outside of actual Esperanto courses, EAB members wanting to stay at the college and study in the Butler library will be able to rent accommodation at a 25% discount on the normal terms. Whilst the present Director of WMC is supportive of Esperanto a future incumbent of the post might not be so sympathetic.
What steps are being taken to deal with this eventuality? We had thought hard about this. That is why we must have a watertight contract on the lines mentioned above. However, it must be remembered that the Wedgwood Memorial College's links with Esperanto long predate the current Director. Ever since the foundation of the college in the 1940's there has been an Esperanto connection. Alderman Horace Barks, who was one of the main movers in the setting up of WMC, was an ardent Esperantist. In the Staffordshire educational world there is a general acceptance of the status of Esperanto at WMC and, it's a personal opinion of course, but I think our good relationship with the college will continue after a change of Director there. It is not a one way relationship, there are advantages for the college, as well as for EAB, in our moving to their site
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 3]
The Hon. Sec. was asked to write to various bodies to try to stop the flow to us of magazines which are not considered suitable for retention.
Fears were expressed that when the office moves to Barlaston there would not be satisfactory supervision and control of the office staff. However the majority of the committee felt that this problem could, and would, be solved.
The question was again raised about the unsatisfactory nature of our Enquirer's Pack. Hopefully, with the appointment of a Director who can push things forward much quicker than a committee, we may see some progress on this. (Meanwhile the Hon. Sec. has taken provisional steps to improve what we send out, including adding a copy of EKo and Komencanto, to the package.)
Our revised web page www.esperanto.demon.co.uk [Postscript: subsequently replaced by www.esperanto.org.uk] is functioning well with plenty of links to various Esperanto activities. It is aimed at English speaking people who 'surf the net' and get an average of 400-500 hits (visits) a month. A travelling display is being used at public libraries in Scotland and the north of England. The Eastern Federation also has a display touring round East Anglia and their full colour information leaflet is producing several enquirers and new federation members.
We decided to again send out the leaflet about Appleby 2000 (our A.G.M. weekend), with the January-February issue of La Brita Esperantisto.
Book Service. We agreed that it is not sensible, given the small size of the market, that we should be selling the same titles as the SATEB book service. Therefore in future the two services will co-ordinate their purchases.
EAB Action Plan. This is being worked on at present and an announcement will be made when a detailed report has been drawn up.
European Parliament. Arrangements have been made to translate into English, from time to time, circulars for sending out to British M.E.P.s.
Our chairman, Edmund Grimley Evans was married on 6th August to Kate Mitchell. I am sure we all wish Edmund and Kate all the best for a happy future together.
I was saddened to read in Heroldo of the death of Barbara Cvetkova of St Petersburg. Any Esperantists who have visited that beautiful city have almost certainly met Barbara, a tall and impressive figure in former years. Always inquisitive and a little dominating, I remember how, many years ago when I took a group to what was then Leningrad, I happened to say to Barbara, who had been rather laying down the law to us: "Barbara, some of us will begin to think that you are a dictator if you don't let us make some decisions for ourselves". Barbara drew herself up and went to the group who were sitting in another part of the room and said, standing akimbo: "Eric says I'm a dictator, it's not true is it?". I took a photo of her at that moment which I will always treasure. Whatever time of day you arrived or flew off from the airport, Barbara, in spite of her advancing years (she was born in 1910 and suffered through two terrible wars) would be there. This reminds me of another blow that our movement in Russia has suffered during the last two years and that is the death from cancer of Lena Lebedeva of Moscow aged no more than 30. Lena was another who would always put herself out to help a fellow Esperantist. Often I flew into Moscow from Siberia and there at the crowded internal airport, even at 1 o'clock in the morning, Lena would meet me and take me off to knock up some other sleepy Muscovite to put us up (without any prior warning!) for the rest of the night. Sometimes I feel that we Esperantists in the West, having had a relatively comfortable life, don't make the same effort that those who have suffered will make for others unknown to them, but who share something in common.
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 4]
[Out-dated "Free book offer"]
Once you've decided to study Esperanto, the logical question is "How?". There are numerous ways but the best one for you will depend on many factors. Here are some of them.
If you are short of funds, you can send for the E AB free 12-lesson correspondence course. Or you can download an internet course by logging on to Ian Fantom's free postal course at http://esperanto.org/espviva or, you could look at the internet course of Esperanto League of North America (ELNA) www.ifi.fi/pacujo/esperanto/course
a) You're just curious; what is Esperanto all about? Richardson's Esperanto-Learning and Using the International Language would be a good choice.
b) You are fascinated by the language itself and just want to be able to read it; or you want to be able to correspond with people in other countries. Almost any textbook can serve these purposes (e.g., Teach Yourself Esperanto, Esperanto for beginners)
c) You are most interested in conversing in Esperanto: Playing tapes can help fine-tune your listening skills. Buy the pronunciation tapes or Jen Nia Mondo, which has an accompanying tape. Joining or starting a local conversation group can get your tongue, mouth and voice in shape, and give you a motive for communicating ideas orally so that you'll be ready for foreign visitors or travel. But probably the fastest way to gain this skill is to join the one-week total immersion summer school at Wedgwood Memorial College, at Barlaston near Stafford. This takes place every August. If you can afford it, the 3-week course at San Francisco State University, usually every July, is certainly worth attending. Incidentally ELNA has just produced a new teaching video Esperanto-Pasporto al la tuta mondo. This has not been seen at EAB yet but details can be obtained from Dr. Paul Gubbins, 3 Arden Court, Mossley, Congleton, Cheshire, CW12 3JH.
Some people learn languages best by listening; others by seeing; and most by a combination of both. So whether you join a class or teach yourself, you can concentrate on whatever gets results for you. Also, learning any language - even - Esperanto - is much more difficult for some than for others, so don't get discouraged. (Recently a 14 year old with exceptional genes was able to write flawless Esperanto after only one year of self-study and an internet course! But most people need more time and help.)
If you're lucky, you can contact a local Esperanto group near you for guidance, and perhaps even join a class. If not, you can learn on your own. (A French mathematics professor became fluent by talking aloud to himself on his walk to and from school, what others thought of him is not known.)
If you are naturally self-disciplined and independent, you can profitably study Esperanto on your own. If you need guidance, a correspondence course might be your best choice. There are a several modestly priced ones at different levels. But if you enjoy being with people, attending a class would be ideal. If you want to learn Esperanto, you'll find a way!
(Reprinted from Esperanto-USA)
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 5]
[Out-dated: "Felixstowe Esperanta Semajnfino"]
[Out-dated: "Europe Wide Congress" in Ostende, 27 April - 1 May 2000]
Here is a report of the Annual Aylesford, Kent Weekend which always takes place in the Autumn. A friendly international weekend in Kent. To call an annual gathering of Esperanto speakers "Internacia Amikeca Renkontiĝo" seems almost to be tempting fate. What if everyone who turns up just happens to be English? Or they all take an instant dislike to one another and spend the weekend in sullen silence? Fortunately no such misfortunes characterised this October's meeting at The Friars, Aylesford, near Maidstone in Kent. Thanks to some excellent public relations work by Helga and John Rapley at Kvinpetalo, the French are now well aware of what this annual event has to offer, arriving this year in such numbers as to tip the scales slightly in favour of those for whom English was not their first language. And as for friendliness - well, fine weather, a tranquil setting and a varied programme of activities put everyone in the mood to renew old friendships and to make new ones.
Almost everyone has a carefree side to their nature as well as a serious one. The programme catered for both sides. This year's guest speaker, Dr. Marjorie Boulton drew upon both scholarship and personal reminiscences in her lecture on Iris Murdoch. This eminent novelist and philosopher, who died in February, was revealed both as a scholar of formidable intellect and as a kind-hearted and genuinely modest human being. By way of contrast, Dr. Boulton's subject on the following day was "Esperanto Interjections". Punctuated by many humorous observations, this talk also contained a wealth of information for anyone aspiring to a truly international speech style. A long-standing tradition of this annual event is that participants themselves provide a supporting programme of talks, presentations and entertainment. These too were impressive both for their quality and variety. A fine Sunday afternoon offered an opportunity to visit the Museum of Kent Life where, by a stroke of good fortune, a Festival of Apples and Cider was in full swing. This might possibly have made the optional return trip on foot along the banks of the Medway a little hazardous, but in the event all walkers returned safely. They were also in time for a cup of Fairtrade coffee or tea, generously provided by Ana Montesinos de Gomis, who earlier in the day had spoken about changing attitudes to ethical trading and organically grown food.
[Out-dated: Pen-friend request]
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 6]
Recently, for a film sponsored by the European Media Development Agency, the office was asked to translate the following into Esperanto, " Mother! You seem to have cut my fringe an inch shorter on the left". We obliged!
We were also sent a photocopy of a Postcard sent from Germany to England in 1938 with the request that we translate it. A Royal Academician is writing a book detailing the history of the 20th Century in Postcards. The book will be published in Britain and the USA and there will also be an accompanying BBC Programme.
[Out-dated: Magazine subscriptions]
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 7]
Please send Cash with Order. Phone the office for the price, if you don't have a price list.
With the wish of William Auld to retire as editor of La Brita Esperantisto we now have to rethink our strategy in respect of the three publications that most concern us. When I (your Hon. Sec. Eric Walker) joined, I used to receive two publications. One was L.B.E., which was almost exclusively in Esperanto, although some articles were written in 'beginners' Esperanto; it was printed on good quality art paper. The other was Esperanto News. This was run off in the office on an offset litho printer. This was almost exclusively in English and contained ephemeral and topical news about E.A.B. and the world of Esperanto. For reasons of economy the two publications were merged.
In recent years there have been complaints that L.B.E. was too weighted to the linguists and did not contain sufficient articles for beginners (I feel that the editor had an almost impossible task to serve two markets with the same publication).
However to fill this gap, Brian Burnett started EKo, and a very lively magazine it is for beginners. It is not an E.A.B. publication although some of our members have helped by writing articles and proof reading. Nevertheless the main burden fell on Brian as an individual and I think we all owe a vote of thanks to him.
Another complaint in recent times has been that the members are not sufficiently informed of what is happening, and, just as important, they don't have much say in future developments. Therefore I started EAB-Update to fill this gap.
Now, with the sale of our London premises and the forthcoming appointment of a Director who, in the main, will not have to bother much about routine office administration, we are into another dimension and various paths forward can be considered.
Various questions come to mind:
What do YOU think? (Write in with your views within the next month please.)
[EAB Update Issue No. 4 Page 8]
Candidates for the Management Committee should be paid up members and nominated by two other fully paid up members. Nominations must be received at the office not later than 31st January 2000. (Candidates should be aware that as well as attending six meetings during the year, one of which will be a residential weekend, there is considerable discussion, mainly by e-mail, of matters currently before the committee.)
These should be submitted to the office not later than 31st January 2000.
[Out-dated: register of e-mail addresses for emergencies]
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