[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 15:23 GMT
Schroeder's Welsh English course
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
The former chancellor was not "pestered" on quiet trips to the pub
What do you do when you step down from running one of the most powerful countries in the world?

For former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder the answer was simple - enrol in an English-language school in the Welsh countryside.

Mr Schroeder, who only stood down as chancellor last month, has just spent 12 days at the school in Hyssington, on the Powys-Shropshire border.

The Park House school described their high profile student as "charming".

With a new career as a publishing consultant after handing over the reigns of power to Germany's first woman chancellor Angela Merkel, Schroeder was able to enjoy "quiet walks in the countryside and trips to the pub" during his stay.

He could go out to the local pubs without being pestered
Ann Jackson

Ann Jackson - who has run the language school with husband Charles for the last 20 - said of Schroeder and his fellow students: "They simply spent most of their days studying. He spent a lot of his free time with the other students.

"We're in the country and it is December. He visited some of the local towns and some of the local pubs, as normal people do."

Mr Schroeder was accompanied by security staff on his trip which ended on Wednesday.

The course group stayed within the language school whose website offers intensive mini group courses with tuition fees of 895 per person and accommodation in its 18th Century country house at 560 per person per week.

Ann Jackson said she could not elaborate on what English skills Mr Schroeder had gained during his visit.

'Out of the way'

And when asked why the politician had chosen Wales, she said: "I really can't answer that except we are one of the main language schools in this country accredited by the British Council and we have close links with the British Council in Wales.

"It would have been felt quite a suitable location for him to study because we are out of the way."

Nicky Simpson, landlady of the Castle Hotel, in Bishop's Castle, Shropshire, said she had not even known that the ex-chancellor had been a regular customer in the bar during his stay.

"He just came in for a quiet drink with other people from the language centre," she said.

Schroeder embarks on new career
24 Nov 05 |  Europe
Profile: Gerhard Schroeder
09 Sep 05 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific