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The Isle of Apples

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Kim Kim | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

Hi Marina

Thanks for your latest post about Almaty. The photos of the city look spectacular. The countryside looks stunning - and I like the mini Eiffel Tower! It appears to be a very multicultural place. Is this one of the things that makes you love the city? How long have you lived in Almaty, Marina? Are there any aspects of life in Almaty that you would change?

The photos bear little resemblance to where I live, but part of your post could have been written about Somerset, the county where I live. This area is also famous for its apples. The town of Glastonbury in Somerset claims to be the resting place of the mythical King Arthur, also known as Avalon which is believed to be the Celtic word for 'the Isle of Apples'. (Incidentally, Glastonbury is also the place where a big music festival is held each year - another link! Glastonbury claims to be the largest open-air music festival in the world.)

Orchards are a part of the local landscape and heritage around here, and they are important for the local economy. The apples that are grown here are mostly cider apples, that is, they are processed to make an alcoholic drink called cider. There is an ancient tradition called 'wassailing' which falls on January 17th each year. The ceremony takes place around the oldest apple tree in each orchard. Traditional wassail songs are sung, and sometimes guns are fired into the orchards - this is to scare off any 'evil spirits'; toast soaked in cider is put in the tree, and cider is sprinkled around the tree to attract 'good spirits'. The ceremony is ancient but thrives in this area. However, just like Almaty, orchards are disappearing - 50% have gone over the last fifty years, although there is now a move to preserve and restore traditional orchards.

Anyway...enough about apples and orchards. Let's turn to the language you used in your latest post.

Let's start with articles. In the following sentences you need to include an article with single countable nouns (city-name and city):

Some people believe that "Alma-Ata" is Russian city-name and "Almaty' is Kazakh one > Some people believe that "Alma-Ata" is the Russian city-name and "Almaty' is the Kazakh one

Almaty is green city surrounded by mountains > Almaty is a green city surrounded by mountains

In the next two sentences you don't need to use 'the' as you are talking about apples and foreigners in general:

And now we buy the apples from Uzbekistan or China > And now we buy apples from Uzbekistan or China

As I live in the so-called "business-center" of the city, almost 50 per cent of my neighbors are the foreigners > As I live in the so-called "business-center" of the city, almost 50 per cent of my neighbours are foreigners

The next phrases are nothing to do with articles! Note the following:

every person first time visited > every first time visitor

independency > independence

To all people great surprise the most of the apple orchards were cut down > To everyone's surprise most of the apple orchards were cut down

There were plenty of different apple sorts > There were plenty of different sorts of apples

one fruit was as big as a baby head! > one fruit was as big as a baby's head!

I keep thinking that nature couldn't be replaced by human being's creation > I keep thinking that nature couldn't be replaced by the creation of a human being

Well, Marina, this weekend in the UK is a long weekend, and Monday is a bank holiday (it is just called August bank holiday). It is traditional for this weekend to be dull, overcast and rainy - and true to form, the sky has clouded over! The sun did make an appearance a while ago but it's back to grey skies now. I'm not going anywhere, but I am still in a holiday mood and so for your task today how about having a go at a holiday quiz:

Enjoy the weekend,
Best wishes,

spectacular = wonderful to look at
stunning = extremely beautiful
bears little resemblance = does not look like
Celtic= of an ancient European people related to Irish, Scottish, Welsh people
landscape = a large area of countryside
heritage = culture of a society, still important in the present
cider = an alcoholic drink made of apples
soaked = made very wet with liquid
sprinkle = put a few drops of liquid on something
thrive = to be very common and popular, and increasing in popularity
bank holiday = official holiday when banks and businesses are closed
true to form = what is normally expected (based on previous experience)
cloud over = (of the sky) become covered in clouds


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Kim, How are you doing?
    I am reading about Almaty, the city of Marina. It's look very good.
    I would like to write about my city and my country. As I wrote you, I live in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil and I'd like to speak about my country, our culture, our history, our beatiful places, our social problems and some aspects of our politics. We are in front a main elections on the next october.
    So, how can i introduce myself on the site to keep in touch with all of you?
    Many thanks,

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Kim!

    Thanks again for your story about Somerset! it's quite a pity that we don't have any celebration like 'wassailing'. It looks like very nice tradition!

    Thanks for the quiz - I've scored 6 of 6 :)

    looking forward to hear from you!

    To Natanael - thank you for your comment, I hope you'll get an opportunity to share with us your stories here on BBC learning English! Good luck!




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