No days off for Federico!
Many thanks for your latest blog. I especially liked the photo of Mount Huascaran, but it scared me, too. You may remember that I told you I intend to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, in February. Therefore, I should be training really hard right now. Instead, I have damaged my foot and got a sore knee. I strained a muscle in my arm a couple of weeks ago, and my flu has stopped me taking my daily 10 kilometre run. I feel fat, unfit and very old! What fantastic preparation!
Thanks for the cold remedies. We, too, drink lemon juice with honey, hot water and a little cognac. In English, we call that a hot toddy. And, yes, I know you’re right, I should stay in bed. But it is Christmas and there are parties to go to and friends to meet . . . and lots of people to pass my flu on to!
Anyway, my life is not as busy as yours. Another trip! And so soon after the last one. You must be indispensable. Surely, you will have some time off now, or is it possible that your boss could ring you on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (and I don’t mean to wish you “Merry Christmas”)?
You really know how to make someone feel jealous, don’t you? “We are going to go to the beach. I am learning to surf, so I will be swimming the whole day." There are actually people here in London who swim in a small river, called The Serpentine, in the middle of Hyde Park, every year on Christmas Day morning! There are other – equally crazy – people who swim in the sea at Brighton, on the south coast. Why would a person do such a thing when they could be cosy and warm indoors, drinking a glass of champagne and opening boxes of chocolates? (I will start training again soon, I promise.) What will be temperature be where you will be swimming on Christmas Day?
Your presents seem perfect. I have never read Kant and the Duck-Billed Platypus, and I can’t even remember who it’s by, but have seen it and thought that I might read it one day. The Cuban music for your mum sounds good, too. Does she dance to it? You said your brother is a scout. How old is he? And your sister: does she really only like chocolates? How come she’s so slim, then?
Last night I was out for dinner at a friend’s house. It was good to get dressed up, and to go out into the freezing night (with a thick overcoat on, of course) with presents and a bottle of wine to give. I took a few balloons (red and green ones, of course) and a couple of party blowers and some tinsel. The meal was really good – poached salmon with vegetables, and a rich lemon mousse dessert with berries and Swedish ice cream.
The fog has finally lifted. This morning the sky above my cosy little house is, once again, filled with aircraft. Lucy was at a sleepover last night so the house was quiet and empty when I woke at 08.00. After opening the penultimate window in the Advent calendar and letting the Advent candle burn down a bit, I had a quick shower and shave. I truly hate shaving – more than anything else in my daily life. I would rather iron 50 shirts than spend even 15 minutes shaving. So, once my face had stopped bleeding I got dressed and went to the coffee shop. This morning there were lots of regulars there and we exchanged small Christmas gifts and bought each other coffee and small panettones. It was very festive.
When I have finished writing this I will pop round to a neighbour’s house with a small present then come home and start to prepare lunch. Lucy is, for once, at home all day, trying to catch up with some of the homework she’s not been doing. So we expect to have a fairly quiet day. Tomorrow will be very different. We’re going to an all-day party. Lucy will take her digital camera and if we can manage to get one good picture I’ll post it with the next blog. I’ll also tell you a bit more about how we spend Christmas Day and then I’ll tell you about where I’m going for New Year’s Eve.
Meanwhile, there are a few corrections and comments, below. Have fun with them!
Enjoy your well-deserved holiday (and don’t answer the phone!).
With very best wishes, as always,
SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
a hot drink made with lemon juice, honey and cognac (or whisky) and boiling water
absolutely essential. If you are indispensable to your company it means that they cannot manage without you.
An idiomatic way of asking ‘why?’:example sentences: How come you’re so late? [Why are you so late?], How come there are no newspapers today? [Why are there no newspapers today?], How come you have to work on Christmas Day? [Why do you have to work on Christmas Day?]
If you are ‘slim’ you have a thin but attractively-shaped body. It is a polite and positive word. The word ‘thin’ suggests someone is too slim. It is slightly negative.
to get dressed up
to put your best clothes on
small objects you put to your lips and blow into to make a ‘festive’ noise. Party blowers often have a curled up ‘tongue’ which opens out into a long tube when you blow into the mouthpiece,
small strips of shiny foil paper attached to a long thread. Tinsel is often used as a garland to decorate the Christmas tree.
cooked gently in boiling water or milk
pronounced like the word ‘moose’, it is a sweet, very light dessert made with eggs and cream
a party where you sleep at the place where the party was held
second from last
people who regularly use the same café or pub
full of colour, happiness and goodwill and connected to a celebration such as Christmas, which is sometimes called ‘the festive season’
make an unplanned, informal visit
to catch up
to do work she should have done earlier
SPELLINGS TO REMEMBER
busy [not bussy]
night [not nigth]
customers [not costumers]
engineers [not engeeniers]
bought [not bougth]
lemon [not lemmon]
Look again at how you have used the word ‘which’ in some sentences. I have re-written and corrected them. Can you see the mistake you have made?
Perhaps you’re thinking that I took some days of from blogging . . . (first paragraph)
You made me laugh when you said that I will forget you . . . (fifth paragraph)
I am sure that they will be happy at home . . . (sixth paragraph)
I found that there are problems with the weather in Europe . . . (ninth paragraph)
You can get it right, because you got one perfectly correct in your eighth paragraph): …I hope that she waits until Christmas Eve to eat her chocolates.
And don’t forget ‘who’ (not ‘which’) for people: As I can’t give my gifts personally, I sent them with my sister who is travelling to Talavera today. (Eighth paragraph)
COMPARATIVES AND SUPERLATIVES
The second biggest gold mine in Peru (paragraph two) is fine, so the next paragraph it should be written like this: . . . the third highest mountain in the world.
on Christmas Day
Remember that questions are formed, in English, by changing the normal order of words, so …where is the second biggest gold mine in Peru…, in your second paragraph, should be written like this: …where the second biggest gold mine in Peru is.
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.