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Knickerbocker glory

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Jennifer | 14:31 UK time, Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hello again everyone!

Thank you all for the warm welcome you've given me to BBC Learning English and well done to those of you who completed the homework - I'll give you the answers shortly.

None of you was able to guess the name of my hometown from the pictures, but I'm not surprised - it was quite tricky and my hometown is not very well-known outside of the UK.

I come from a coastal town in the north east of England called South Shields. The town is situated on the mouth of the River Tyne and boasts six miles of clean, sandy beaches. At first it may not seem as spectacular as the town described by Xiaowei, particularly because of the chilly wind which comes from the North Sea, but for me it's still beautiful in its own right.

My favourite thing to do is to go for a long walk on the beach on a spring morning, followed by a trip to Minchella's ice cream parlour. They make a mean knickerbocker glory! If you have never had one, it's an ice cream dessert served in a tall glass with lots of fruit, jelly and cream, with a couple of wafers thrown in!

Here are a couple of pictures of just such a trip home I made last year - don't the ice-creams look mouth-watering (but perhaps not so good for the waistline)?

South Shields beach

South Shields beach in the spring

Knickerbocker glory

Two knickerbocker glory ice-creams... (not both for me!)

If you're ever in England, taking a trip to the north east coast is really worth it, it's a real hidden gem. Have any of you been to this part of the UK before?

Thanks to Xiaowei for your second blog. It sounds like you are really making the most of your time in Australia and I really believe that travel broadens the mind. What's been the best thing you've discovered since moving abroad?


Again your piece is full of detailed descriptions which really help us to picture the scene, but there are some little mistakes. Let's take a look.

1) Talking about being alone

A couple of times in your blog you use the phrase "with my own" to say that you travelled by yourself. The correct preposition to use for this is 'on', so you should have said:

"I took the trip there on my own nearly a year ago..."

"It was a fantastic experience of travelling on my own."

2) Spelling

Watch out for these spellings:

"It was exactly the same time of January last year when I was on summer vocation..."

The word 'vocation' means a specific job or career path - so the word you needed here was 'vacation' (which means 'holiday').

"I turned back to wonder around the town..."

This often catches people out, even native English speakers! The verb 'to wonder' means to think about something curiously, whereas 'to wander', which is what you should have used, means to stroll or walk around.

"It's a place famous for its lighthouse, blowhole and quality surfacing beaches."

Do you mean 'surfing beaches' here?

As you can see, an incorrect letter here or there can completely change the meaning of a word, so remember to check carefully to avoid mistakes!

3) "So here comes me to introduce Kiama..."

I understand what you mean here, but it doesn't sound particularly English. You might want to say "So this brings me to introduce Kiama..." or "So this leads me to talk about..." which would sound more fluent.


Here are last week's answers:

1) I'm going to apply to run the London Marathon.
2) Can I apply for a visa, please?
3) If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
4) Have you had any success in finding a job?

This week:

The word "mouth" has come up a couple of times in this week's blog ("mouth-watering", "mouth of the river"). Here are some more "mouth" idioms - see if you can match each phrase with each meaning:

1. to bad-mouth
2. to put your foot in your mouth
3. to look like butter wouldn't melt in your mouth
4. to shut your mouth
5. to mouth off

a) to stop talking
b) to appear to be innocent
c) to moan
d) to say something stupid or embarrassing
e) to speak badly about

That's all from me for this week, but I look forward to reading your blog and comments. Oh, and if anyone has any other ice-cream recipes, I'd love to hear those too!



tricky - difficult
mouth of the river - place where a river flows out to the sea
mean - (informal) fantastic
wafer - very thin, flaky biscuit
waistline - size of your stomach
hidden gem - little known discovery


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Jennifer

    Nice to meet you. Studying of idioms is a very interesting work. Sometimes idioms in English completely coincide with idioms in Russian but sometimes they’re absolutely different. Let me try:
    1-e, 2-d, 3-b, 4-a, 5-c.

    I attend English class once a week and our teacher is from Australia. So it’s especially interesting to read Xiaowei’s blog.
    I like some “mouth” idioms which our teacher’s recently taught us: to have a big mouth; to shoot with one’s mouth.

    Looking forward to your next blog.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi, Jennifer. Your style of English appears to be perfect and opposes from that of mine. When reading your teaching piece I don't stop feeling shame: the better English I read the more upset I turn up. That makes me progress in English and push the envelope further. With grim determination I have come up absorbing the bbclearning web site to do my best in second language aqcuisition for half a year. The photos you put out are Ukrainian Azov Sea lookalike:) a little bit dirty comparatively to Red Sea in Egypt:).

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Jennifer,

    It's nice to read your interesting blog and look at the wonderful photos as well.
    The 'hidden gem' sounds intriguing and I hope one day I will be able to visit the beautisul coast. Going for a long walk and having the knickerbocker glory on the beautiful beach would be wonderful time. By the way, the knickerbocker glory ice cream on the photo is looking too big for me....^^

    Well...They are difficult idioms to answer for me...I've seen a dictionary for it.

    Here's my homework,

    1-e, 2-d, 3-b, 4-a, 5-c.

    Thank you very much.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I am new to this group, I loved your blog and learnt lots of new vocabularies. I’ve never had a chance to try knickerbocker glory! but I’d love to…

    My answers are below:

    I’m waiting to read your next blog...


  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Jennifer,

    Thanks very much again for all your careful corrections.

    I googled "South Shields" and find it's really a beautiful place, hopefully I would go and find this 'hidden gem' in the north east of England someday in the future. I came from north east part of my country as well, it's extremely chilly in winter and the season nearly lasts for 5 months a year, but people in my hometown always find something interesting to do to spend the frozen days, such as holding Ice Carvings Display and joining in ice-sports.
    The knickerbocker glory looks yami as well, it's a pity I never tried it before, though I'm a crazy ice-cream consumer in the supermarket.

    I think the best thing I've discovered since coming to Aussie is that I become more independent and confident, being able to enjoy more the life, not to mention the awesome desserts and ice-creams here.

    And my solutions for this week's homework:
    1. e 2. d 3. b 4. a 5. c

    By the way, through reading your blog I've found quality English is not made of 'big words' and comprehensive sentence structures, it's rather, can I say, the proper selection of everyday words that makes a language vivid?

    Thank you and have a nice weekend!

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi jennifer,

    just registered here and it's a pleasure to choose your blog on my first comment,by the way it's an interesting blog and watching your photos with a nice beach and a peaceful uncrowded park which you have a tall glass of ice cream, though my mouth is watering right now by looking at it co'z i love ice cream too specially chocolate flavor.It reminds me of my myself dreaming that someday will come true going in every wonderful places in the world especially the 7 wonders.I'm trying hard to force myself in learning english and to improve my fluency in reading as well
    as my writing.

    as for your homework this week
    here is my answer...


    waiting for your next blog.
    god bless....

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Jeffiner,

    Thus present study thus sought to explore best same-sex friendships of young Muslim women in relation to self-disclosure and parenting style

    I have to admit that your post is brilliant in terms of vocabulary; there are so many words I have never heard before. Hopefully, I will be able to use these new words in the future. The pictures are also beautiful. Having a house near the beech must be an amazing experience. You won't have to make plans to visit a beech but rather get your coat and walk out whenever you get a chance. I love visiting beech during summer time but since it's too far, I only go there occasionally.

    I don't know if I ever came across these "mouth" idioms. Maybe I did hear them but never paid attention to them but this is for certain that I never used them before so let me test myself to see if I can get them right.

    1=e, 2=d, 3=b, 4=a, 5=c

    Bye for now and have a nice day.


  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Jennifer (with double N),

    I am new to this site and this is the first time I read your blog and it's simply splendid. I loved the simplicity you put in your blogs. I somehow found that all the teachers, student and stuffs here are so humble that it makes me to visit this website again and again.

    Now, I'll try to answer your test:
    1. to bad-mouth - e) to speak badly about
    2. to put your foot in your mouth - d) to say something stupid or embarrassing
    3. to look like butter wouldn't melt in your mouth - b) to appear to be innocent
    4. to shut your mouth - a) to stop talking
    5. to mouth off - c) to moan

    I did some guess work here, so I'm not certain about my answers. Please let me know if my answers were right.

    Thank you once again for your blog. I would look forward to see more from you.


  • Comment number 9.

    Hi again,

    In my comment I made a mistake. As I usually write my comment on word document and then copy it here, I accidently copied a couple of lines completely unrelated to this message. Just wanted to clarify this in case you all wondering what I am talking about.

    Best wishes


  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks Jennifer,

    Today I was searching on the internet to find a web site for chatting about subjects that help me to improve my English, but unfortunately, I didn't find the right thing and after several hours, I noticed that finding a good friend in the internet is not as simple as I thought.
    In the middle of serching, I suddenly found this blog, I hope I can participte actively in your discussions and learn more.
    The answer to your question is:

    Thank you,

  • Comment number 11.

    Dear Jennifer,

    Could you give some examples for the idiom:
    "to look like butter wouldn't melt in your mouth" and explain more about it.


  • Comment number 12.

    hi jennifer,

    I am new in this site and i am feeling really very good when i found there are lot of people who are helping to each other for learning English by blogs. I really liked your this blog. I haven't seen beach site in really life. But i feel it would be very beautiful. I love ice cream very much and this Knickerbocker Glory ice creams is looking very delicious and behind you the scene looks very spectacular. Thanking you for sharing new word with us, who enhances our vocabulary. i'll try to use these words in my speaking.

    I hope it will be correct:-

    1. e)
    2. d)
    3. c)
    4. a)
    5. b)

    Thanks & and waiting for your next blog



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