MESSAGE FOR LILY
I hope you’re well. It’s great to read all your posts; I can barely keep up! I visited Peru in 2004 with my boyfriend (as he was at the time), so I occasionally feel quite nostalgic hearing about all the places you write about. I’ll try to dig out some photos from that time, as maybe you’ll recognise a few of the locations! It was such an amazing trip; everything in Peru is so striking when you come from grey old England.
Having said that, I’m sure it’s just a case of ‘the grass is always greener (on the other side of the fence)’. Or as Aesop said in his fable about a fox jumping up to bite some juicy looking grapes, you always covet what you can’t have.
Re. your post ‘Under Stress’:
Wind, nature, flowers, animals… it sounds like the perfect antidote to the frantic pace of modern life. I read something in a magazine today which particularly struck me, as it was written by a nun who had spent 50 years in a closed order before taking a one year sabbatical from the convent to do an art course in east London (‘The Abbess’s Tale’, intelligent life, Winter 2008). She bravely tackled the tube and the crowds to get to life drawing classes, but she said that she was surprised and saddened to see so many people dressed in black, talking into a mobile with tight, pained faces, clutching a coffee and rushing along the street as if time were their worst enemy.
OK, now for some grammar notes… I hope you find them useful!
When you think a sentence is made up of too many clauses, and you need a way of connecting them, try using a relative pronoun such as ‘which’.
For example, your sentence
‘This is another place to visit in Peru is Huaraz is 7 hours from Lima’
is incorrect, because it contains too many clauses without anything to join them together. Start with the thing you want to describe:
Another place to visit in Peru is Huaraz
Then add the extra information after a comma and the relative pronoun ‘which’:
Another place to visit in Peru is Huaraz, which is 7 hours from Peru.
And voilŗ: you’ve just created your first non-defining relative clause! Easy when you know how, huh?
THE PRONOUN ‘IT’
You need to use this more often, as the verb ‘is’ nearly always takes a subject:
It is very interesting (not ‘Is very interesting’)
In questions where you don’t use a question mark, you don’t need to invert the verb & subject, nor use an auxiliary like ‘do’:
Please tell me how you celebrate carnivals in your country
(not ‘Please tell me how do you celebrate carnivals’)
These types of questions are usually introduced by a question frame:
I can’t remember…
I don’t know…
and are followed by a question word:
a) I can’t remember how…
b) I don’t know when…
c) Please explain what…
d) I wonder why….
Complete sentences a) to d) above, taking care not to invert the subject and the verb after the question frame.
Since you ask, the main one near me is the annual Notting Hill Carnival. This festival, which started in the 1960s as a celebration of Caribbean culture in London, takes the form of a massive street party, with different streets devoted to different types of music, beat out on steelpans or pumped out through sound systems. It’s fantastic - people parade down the streets and it feels like a proper holiday. In some areas, however, the streets are swarming with police: cops on trikes, cops on bikes, cops on spikes, cops on the rooftops, cops in the street…*
For the most part, however, the Notting Hill Carnival makes for a relaxing day, punctuated only by buttery barbequed corn-on-the-cob, jerk chicken and millions of people dancing in the streets.
OK, here’s some of the vocabulary I’ve used in this post. Please tell me, do you like any of the words? Which ones do you like, and why? Which ones don’t you like, if any?
to covet = to want something that’s not yours
to tackle = to face something with great determination (e.g. to tackle a problem)
to clutch = to hold tightly
to parade = to walk down the middle of the street in a display
an antidote = a liquid you drink after a poisonous snake has bitten you
a closed order = a set of buildings where nuns live in strict
isolation from the outside world
steelpans = tuned drums made out of beaten oil barrels
corn-on-the-cob = sweetcorn cooked on the cob on which it grows
jerk chicken = Jamaican-style spicy chicken, cooked over hot coals
a swarm = a group of thousands of insects moving together as one organism
cops = informal/slang word for ‘police’
nostalgic = affected by a bittersweet desire to return to the past
striking = having a strong, positive visual impact
*I once heard the political activist and comedian Mark Thomas use a similar run of words in his show ‘Seriously Organised Criminal’. It sounded funnier when he said it, but you get the spirit!
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