I haven’t written for a couple of days because I’ve had to move and, in doing so, had no internet connection. But it’s up and running now, which is a relief because it felt very odd indeed not being connected to the worldwide web. I really felt like I was one of Homer’s Cimmerians! So what have you all been up to? Joaquina, did you pass your exam or is it too early to tell?
I’m so glad you all appreciated the individual comments in my last blog. It took me a long time so I doubt I’ll be able to do much of that again! Today I’ve written about my weekend along with some photos so you get a feel of what I get up to. I will respond to Lukasz and to some of the other bloggers next time.
Let me tell you what’s been happening in my neck of the woods. On Saturday I spent most of the day studying hard for my test on Monday. This is despite the fact that my teacher had warned me not to study in big chunks, but to do a little bit of German each day. I know he’s right but I can’t seem to get organised! I tell my students the same thing but life just gets in the way somehow and the days just fly by. It also feels as though there aren’t enough hours in the day – does anyone else feel like that?
Anyway, on Sunday I went to the Isle of Wight (click the link on the right for the map) with a couple of friends from the German course. It was a gorgeous day: the sun was shining, the birds were singing and people were out and about with their dogs. We took the Hovercraft (see pictures below) which was a lot of fun. It only took ten minutes to skim across the water. You couldn’t see much out of the windows, though, because of all the spray but on the way back we passed very very close to a huge container ship (sorry, no photos – they didn’t come out very well) which was a bit scary because it was piled high with containers.
Anyway, once we arrived, we were standing around discussing what we were going to do next (you can tell this trip wasn’t very well organised!) when my lovely straw hat (specially bought for the occasion) blew off and got carried away, twirling and dancing in the wind, before settling down nicely on some train tracks nearby! So we went to the station and asked if anyone could retrieve it, but we were told it was impossible because of safety issues. Nevermind!
We caught a bus and travelled south for about half an hour and got off at Shanklin where there’s a lovely esplanade and impressive cliffs. We stripped down to our bathing suits and jumped into the sea. Well, no, not really, I’m exaggerating! The water was pretty cold (remember, it was sunny and warm so the difference in temperature was quite noticeable), so we tiptoed in, gingerly making our way across the pebbles (this is the UK, remember, so no soft white sand like in Brazil!). After a while of trying to get used to the rather cool temperature of the water, we were finally brave enough to take the plunge (remember this expression?) and we spent a delicious half hour swimming and bobbing about. In fact, the real reason we had to keep moving was because the water was so cold!
After our little dip (remember this expression?), we went to a pub overlooking the esplanade and had fresh fish (and chips!). I had the plaice and my friends had the red snapper, fisherman’s pie and fishcakes. We then went for a stroll to walk things off and came across a brass band. So we sat down and listened to the music. It was quite nice but it reminded me of what Sir Thomas Beecham once said: "Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away." I think I might agree with him – it’s not my cup of tea.
We bought some ice-creams and walked on until we arrived at the old village of Shanklin – a fabulously twee little place with more thatched cottages than you can throw a stick at! I fell in love with the place (I’m a bit partial to chocolate-box villages) and was secretly wondering if they had any schools in the area where I could work once I finish my studies...
After a long day of swimming and walking in the hot sun we went home, tired but happy. It had been a grand day out.
up and running This means that your appliance or electrical equipment is now working.
Homer’s Cimmerians Homer's Cimmerians were mythical people living in a land of continuous darkness.
my neck of the woods Check out the link below for a detailed explanantion: Learn it! - neck of the woods
chunks A chunk is a thick piece of something like 'a chunk of ice'. So you can imagine that I have been studying German in big amounts.
out and about It means to be outdoors and walking around.
skim To move or glide lightly over or along a surface, usually water.
spray The spray is water (or any other liquid) broken up into very small droplets and blown or falling through the air.
container ship This is a very large ship designed to transport cargo around the world.
piled high A pile: things lying one upon the other, like a pile of paper or a pile of bricks. If it's piled high, then it is a very big pile indeed!
twirling To twirl is to turn or rotate rapidly. Similar words (synoyms) are spin, revolve and whirl.
esplanade An esplanade is any open, flat space, especially for public walks or drives and usually along a beach. Look at the picture above which shows people sitting on deckchairs looking out onto the beach.
stripped down to This is when you get undressed. We had our bathing suits on underneath our clothes, so we stripped down to our bathing suits.
gingerly This is when you do something prudently, with caution or with great care. Synonym: warily.
bobbing about To bob about is to move up and down with no specific aim, usually when floating in water.
brass band A picture speaks a thousand words. Have a look at the pictures above.
my cup of tea Everyone has a different way of having their tea - some with sugar, some with milk, some with one but not the other. This expression means that everyone's taste is different, so if you don't like something (it doesn't have to be tea - it can be anything!) you can say it's not your cup of tea.
twee Something which is twee is dainty or quaint.
thatched cottages These are houses which have roofs made of straw. Look at the pictures above.
more...than you can throw a stick at This expression means that there are many, many things (such as thatched cottages). You can also shake a stick at something, which means the same. There are too many things for you to shake or throw a stick at.
partial Partial has two meanings; it can mean a part of something or (in this case) favouring something or someone over another.
chocolate-box villages This kind of village is so picturesque that it could be a pretty picture on a chocolate box. Some biscuit tins in the UK also have twee village scenes.
grand There are many different meanings of the word grand but the one I mean is splendid or great.
The Isle of Wight
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