Frank Douzieth (left) discusses French culture with members of the French Language Conversation Group meeting on Monday at the Ocean City Library.It was truly magnifique!The Ocean City Public Library hosted a French Language Conversation group on Monday afternoon and the event brought out about 10 enthusiastic participants.Julie Brown, who develops adult programming for the Library, said the idea was to gather people interested in French culture to swap ideas and converse, learn about France and the language, and enjoy the company of a diverse group with a common interest.“I am excited. I drove 25 miles to be here,” said Janet Williams, a resident of Cape May who has an upcoming trip scheduled to Paris. “I like France and I am contemplating a possible move there. This is a great opportunity for me to get back into speaking French.”Monday’s initial meeting was less about speaking in French than discussing aspects of the country by the participants in English, but that could soon change. Brown said she hoped to develop different topics for future meetings. French food, cities, wine are a few possible examples.“I see this group meeting at least once a month and possibly more,” she said. “The interest is here. This is a great turnout.”Frank Douzieth, a native Frenchman and his wife Mary helped establish the group and enjoyed taking part in the gathering.Frank at one point discussed French attitudes about dining. He said the evening meal was an event that could last hours, and while you can find McDonald’s franchises in Paris, the French generally people eschew the concept of fast food.“In France when you like someone you want to get together over a period of time and a dinner could last four hours,” he said.His wife said the couple, who currently reside in Ocean City, lived in France for four years. She said the group allowed them to re-connect with others who knew and enjoyed French culture, or who wanted to learn more about it.Mary knew virtually no French when she initially met her husband, but has picked up the language over the years. “I don’t speak it well. I speak well enough to get by.”For Doug Eberly, an assistant priest at Ocean City’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, is a frequent traveler who has spent the last eight New Year’s Eves in Paris. He previously studied French from a tutor, the late Pearl Warner, a scholar who helped develop the French curriculum in New York City public schools. He is looking forward to working on his conversational mastery of the language.“This is an excellent, diverse group and very compatible,” he said. “It should be a great experience for everyone.”There is no charge to attend group meetings and all skill levels are encouraged to take part. Light snacks are provided as are learning tools such as French-English dictionaries. It next meets Monday February 29 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. To learn more about the group, call Julie Brown at 399-2434, extension 5222.
Spaghetti Junction has 559 concrete columns, some reaching to 80 feet high Construction started in 1968 and took four years to complete. It is known officially as Gravelly Hill Interchange Today, it continues to carry more than 220,000 vehicles every day It is subject to regular maintenance work, which includes the replacing of the road surface, installation of new waterproofing material, painting and vegetation The first of 45 incredible scaled masterpieces are now being recreated by a specialist team of LEGO Model Builders.More than 6,800 hours will be ploughed in to the design and construction of the entire MINILAND complex over the forthcoming months.Construction of Spaghetti Junction took some four years to complete and its elevated position sees constant maintenance work taking place underneath it, often unseen by many motorists on their daily commute.Spaghetti Junction in numbers: To mark the 50th anniversary of work starting on the road and to celebrate 2018 as the Year of Engineering, Highways England can reveal that it will be celebrated in a model at the new attraction.Construction started on the sprawling structure some fifty years ago and today it continues to carry more than 220,000 vehicles every day.The road will be joining other notable landmarks from Birmingham including The Library of Birmingham, The Cube, New Street Station and the BT Tower.Highways England’s Regional Director, Catherine Brookes, said: Spaghetti Junction is one of those structures that is known around the world and we’re thrilled to see the road included as part of the new attraction. The opening of the new attraction later this year also marks our Year of Engineering campaign which is designed to get children thinking about engineering and the world around them. It is also 50 years since work started to build Spaghetti Junction and it’s timely that it should be recognised for its local and national significance in supporting the motorway network. To find out more about the Year of Engineering, head online to the year of engineering website.LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham is set to open to the general public this summer. More information can be found online.General enquiriesMembers of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.Media enquiriesJournalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.