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Monday, 23 April 2007


Dear Ana Paula,

First of all, I’d like to reassure you that I’m feeling much better now. I’m able to sit up in bed, and to eat a little solid food, and Dr Exhag tells me that in a few weeks I might be able to leave the hospital and resume a more-or-less normal life. And I’m not going to bear a grudge against you for this. In fact, I think I have learned something from this horrible, horrible experience. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “that which does not kill me makes me stronger.” It is true that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ almost killed me, but I have survived, and now I am a sadder man but, perhaps, a wiser one. In fact, I’m almost grateful that you made me eat chee… fud… ch… no, I can’t say it… I feel sick again… oh, the horror, the horror… Nurse! Nurse! More tranquilizers! QUICKLY!!!

I’d like to say thanks to all the readers who have given me their support during this difficult time. Dr Exhag passed your comments on to me, and I appreciated them very much. However, I would not like to thank Leila from Finland, who told a disgusting story about her friend from New Zealand who ate sardines with jam. This is possibly even stranger than cheese with fudge; I feel nauseous just thinking about it. I’ve certainly never eaten anything as weird as sardines with jam. Many years ago, when I lived in Poland, I was served strawberries and cream with spaghetti, which was actually quite good. Also, I had a friend in Poland who liked to drink Coca-Cola with milk, but he was a strange guy. I don’t think Coca-Cola with milk is normal in Poland (or anywhere in the world). Ana? Adek? What do you think?

Ana Paula, please say hello to your sister Rosana from me. Her writing is excellent – in fact, her vocabulary is possibly even better than yours. She used really good phrases, like “total perplexity” and “a catatonic state”, and she used them very well indeed. However, she occasionally seems to have a small problem with prepositions. Now, I’m sure your knowledge of prepositions is perfect, Ana Paula, so perhaps you can help your sister to make some corrections.

I’ve written four sentences below, and each of them needs a preposition. Can you tell me which preposition we should choose in each case? Maybe our readers can help too.

1. Ana Paula was waiting anxiously for a message _____ her dear teacher.

2. Her finger was glued _____ her computer screen.

3. Soon she fell _____ a catatonic state.

4. We hope she recovers _____ this catatonic state very soon.

That’s all from me today – Dr Exhag says that I must relax now, and recover my strength. I’ll be back soon; meanwhile, take care, and don’t eat anything too strange!

All the best,



If someone is worried, and you tell them something which will stop them from worrying then you reassure them.

To resume something is to start something again, after stopping for a while. Halfway through my lesson, I might say to the students, “OK, let’s have a break now – we’ll resume the class in twenty minutes.”

If I continue to think, “Ana Paula is mean, she made me eat cheese and fudge, she’s not my friend…” etc etc, then I bear a grudge against her. Of course, I don’t think this. She isn’t mean, she is just a woman with very strange tastes in food.

The noun horror is related to words like ‘horrible’, ‘horrifying’, etc. You’ve probably heard of ‘horror movies’ – movies which make you feel horror. In fact, “the horror, the horror” is a quotation from a movie. Can anyone tell me which movie?

The adjective ‘tranquil’ means calm and peaceful. Tranquilizers are drugs used by doctors to make their patients feel calm and peaceful.

Sardines are a kind of fish with a very strong ‘fishy’ taste. In Britain they are normally sold in cans.

If you feel nauseous, you feel sick in your stomach and you want to vomit. Another good word for this is ‘queasy’.

To serve someone has a general meaning, of course, but it can mean ‘to put food in front of someone’. A waiter serves the customers at a restaurant. Was served is the past simple passive form of this verb.

Prepositions are words like ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘to’, ‘from’, etc. If you have problems with these words, don’t worry – most students do. In fact, one of my students always talks about the ‘preposition lottery’.


we are not fools to accept Alex and his doctors story. Any how cheese and fudge episode continues. Alex still in the bed for what? get well sonn Alex from ...

Good hear Alex is recovering. The horror, the horror -quotation is not familiar to me, but remembering Alex´s taste in movies, I say that the quatation is from The Godfather. Best wishes to everyone.

Hello Alex,I have come across your blog accidentally and I read it with pleasure, especially those latest ones about your experience with cheese and fudge. I even read your blog to my daughter who likes cheese very much, but I suppose she wouldn't dare to try such a combination like cheese and fudge. You mention the dish you ate in Poland -strawberries with cream and spaghetti( or pasta).I like it very much and prepare it very often in summer when the strawberries are fresh and tasty and you can pick up the fruit straight from the little bush-yum,yum.Unfortunatelly we have to wait till June and July. P.S. I've never haird about mixing Cola and milk. Anna

Hi, Alex! I am glad to read you are recuperating from such serious food poisoning and hope soon we will enjoy another amazing blog from you! You are right prepositions are quite tricky, I am always so apt to apply the pattern from my native language, it seems so natural to do. Wish you quick total recovery!

hello Alex! I wish you to get right ASAP! It's so horrible that you suffer when you even thing about some kind of food, much of compassion for you! I'm not Ana or Adek but I woud like to inform you that I've never heard about any person in Poland who dinks coca-cola with milk. Was he Polish? If we take into consideration coca-cola, as I know, Polish people prefer vodka with it. By the way I've heard about people who prepare coffee from hot boiling coca-cola, and id has incredible power (reportedly, I've never tried). I quess (preposition lotery) that 1 - from, 2 - to, 3 - on, 4 - from. Best wishes

hi alex ,im realy happy to see ur writing today i hope u get better soon ..i've never eaten such strange food,sardin and jam,!!!and i dont emagine myself tasting milk and coca-cola....the most strange thing that ive ever heard of is eag and jam,but today i read far more strange food..the answers are1.from 3.may be on 4. of...i go to english class and we have to tell the student something new and i usually tell them some of expresions u use in ur blog . best wishes bye

hi alex,,,im realy happy to see ur writting today,,i hope u get better soon...ive never had such strange food,,sardin and jam,,and icant even emagine myself tasting milk with coca cola ,,,the most srange thing that ive ever heard of is eag with jam,howevever today i read about some more strange food,,,,good luck

Hi Alex, it's wonderful to hear good news from you. you seem to come through a serious illness. I can't beleive my ears what a strange guy your friend is!... I've never seen anybody drinking Coca-Cola with milk in my life. I've done my homework as you may see below; 1. Ana Paula was waiting anxiously for a message _from____ her dear teacher. 2. Her finger was glued __on___ her computer screen. 3. Soon she fell _in____ a catatonic state. 4. We hope she recovers __from___ this catatonic state very soon I hope all of them are correct.

Hallo Alex :: I'm glad you said strawberries and cream with spaghetti was quite good: I like it too. Most children like it but a lot of men don't. It's easy to prepare: first you cook some pasta - spaghetti is OK but it can be any sort of pasta e.g. fusilli which I like best, then you sort of smash some strawberries with caster suger and whip some cream. When all the ingredients are ready you can mix them on a plate or, and that's what I prefer, you put the pasta on a plate, then the smashed strawberies on the pasta and the whipped cream on top. Yum-yum, delicious. As for Coca-Cola with milk: I've never met anybody who would like such a strange drink. Are you sure Alex it was in Poland?

Hi Alex! I'm a Pole and I've lived in Poland for 40 years. There're not so many things in my country (country of coal and steel) which could suprice me. I know a few people who experiment with their food. I will not discribe what they eat because I want you to recover from great shock you've undergone.But if you lived in Poland you know very well that it is a "wild country" and a lot is possibly.

Hi teacher Alex you gave us the most hateful task in English grammar: to use prepositions -just kidding about hateful, but it's very difficult to learn how to use them. here my answers: 1. Ana Paula was waiting anxiously for a message _from_ her dear teacher. 2. Her finger was glued __to___ her computer screen. 3. Soon she fell __into___ a catatonic state. 4. We hope she recovers _from__ this catatonic state very soon.

Hello,I hope you feel well now.It seems like a cruel combat about Cheese and Fudge ends with your trauma.I once thought Doctor's message was a practical joke you have created which is really a good story.But now,I am sure it is not funny at all---poor Alex.

this is my first time to be here,and i am so sorry about what has happened to you. i sincerely hope that you can recover soon. have a good day.

"It is by grace you have been saved, through faith (and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God) not by works, so that no-one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9). Alex, don't think I am sooo religious. The fact is that it's too dificult to listen someone talking in english here and I am so desperate to listen that I have accepted an invite to go to an international worship service. I have listened to the preacher but if I have missed something, I hope God can be filled with compassion for me.

Hello Alex,Sounds good that you are recovering from your horrible experience of eating cheese with fudge. As you told about your friend who liked drinking milk with coca cola,I have also seen many people here who drink sprite with milk and they say it tastes great. However, I would never prefer to have such a funny drink even not once in my life time. Here we have an eatable drink which is a mixture of spaghetti, a scoop of ice-cream,a handful of dry fruits and milk,it's simply delicious. We also eat homemade ice-cream and spaghetti which tastes great. The taste of the spaghetti, served with desert, is different from the one used as food and it is made with the ingredients that make it soft.

Dear Alex; Hi! It is the first time I am writing to you , but I have been an enthusiastic fan of what you ,Ana Paula and our virtual friends have been writing from the very first blog.I am a very busy person and as such, every day I have just grabbed the opportunity to read the blogs, but have not been lucky enough to put any comments here,as I am really short of time .But now I find it appropriate and well , a matter of common courtesy to write to express my appreciation . Thank you for the very appealing blogs you exchange with this nice , smart student who has really been a perfect company in creating this friendly, attractive atmosphere that helps us make the most of the time we spend on this site.Your knowledge and teaching skills , along with the great sense of humour you are gifted with , and lest to be missed,I should add your very handsome looks , makes a perfect teacher out of you. You have brought up subjects that made more and more students share their ideas and express their feelings,while considering themselves in a fabulous,congenial class. Thank You! You Are Great! Katy /Iran

Alex, hi! My answers to your task are below. But before you check them, can I ask you a question? (Although it may be a little late). The blog about your family had the title “My Family and Other Animals” – did you pick this up from the tittle of the book by Gerald Darrel? When a kid, I loved his books and his wonderful sense of humour. I have reread this book recently, and it made me laugh all the time. Hilarious. 1. Ana Paula was waiting anxiously for a message FROM her dear teacher. 2. Her finger was glued TO her computer screen. 3. Soon she fell IN a catatonic state. 4. We hope she recovers FROM this catatonic state very soon. Best wishes, Luna

Alex, it was so good to hear from you, but pleeeeeese don’t plunge into the infinite sea of sorrow. Everything in your blog, every word, every comma, every full stop is crying: ‘Nothing will be the same again’. We can’t even ask for help Ana Paula – she’s also exhausted. What has just crossed my mind seems to be quite simple solution – you mustn’t even think of food not to say writing or talking. I would even go further and ask Paul to include it in the House Rules: never ever about food at the BBC Blog site (Paul, we count on you!!). And so consequently I wouldn’t dare comment on anything related to this four-letter word that since now is forbidden. Alex, I’m sorry about that but someone must take care of you. A short message to Ana Paula: this is really a wrong time and a wrong place to talk about Polish ..... Perhaps I could let you know what I think about that strange Polish guy and his taste some other time ....

Dear All, do you know what happened with the Stephen Column –it’s disappeared so mysteriously ... Paul (BBC LEARNING ENGLISH) Hi Ana, the column is still there. In fact, we published a new column yesterday. You can find it here. www.bbclearningenglish/com/communicate/keeler

Hey, Alex, I'm very glad to know that you are recovered from that horror experience. I think if you feel queasy, you should eat some liquid food, not valid food. Am i wrong? For the task, is it from, to, in, from? Waiting for your new update. Jill.

Hi Alex, Nice to read you back. I will only try, today, to find the right prepositions, I would say : 1-from ; 2-on (onto) ; 3-in (into) and 4-from

It's great to hear from you again.I do hope you'll be able to go back to normal soon.i reckon you need a big kiss with a big hug from your mum,Don't you think so! Best wishes!hyoshil

The movie is Apocalypse now.

Dear Alex, I am glad to hear that you are recovering from your serious disease. Your latest blog sounds as if "Apocalypse now" would not happen anymore and "the horror, the horror" (cheese and fudge) would be kept away for ever! I've tried the prepositions, too: 1) A.P. was waiting anxiously for a message from her dear teacher. 2) Her finger was glued on her computer screen. 3) Soon she fell into a catatonic stage. 4) We hope she recovers of this catatonic stage very soon. I hope you will soon be better, Andrea

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

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