Happy May Day Holiday
Hello everyone – and happy May 1st! It seems to be a holiday in a lot of places round the world. Happy teacher’s day to Pary in Iran, and Leila have a good holiday in Finland. Cris – I hope you enjoy the start of 1984 on your day off as well. Let me know how you get on with it.
Bye bye Cris and thank you for your final blog. I will miss you. You can say that we ‘met’ each other whilst blogging. And how interesting to hear that you dad was a photographer. I can see that you have inherited his talent. I am looking forward to hearing from you via the readers comments soon.
Well, it’s a holiday here in Thailand too, and I have come to the beach with my family. We have come to Pattaya, which is about 150km away from Bangkok. I took a half day from work yesterday to drive down and beat the crowds. So we have put Rachel to bed (she is much better now – thank you for all the good wishes), Steve is reading his new book (Millions and Billions, or is it Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan - I think its Billions and Billions) and I am in an internet café with Josh. Josh is pretending to type, and I am doing the real thing. It is quite difficult to keep a 3-year old occupied for long, so this will not be one of my longer blogs.
Geat to hear that Xuan will be the next student blogger. She lives in Vietnam, which is not too far from my neck of the woods. I visited Vietnam 9 years ago and had a wonderful time, but I bet it has changed a lot since then. I am looking forward to finding out more about modern day Vietnam, as well as getting to know Xuan. I wonder if it’s a public holiday in Vietnam as well?
While we wait for Xuan to blog, please think about corrections to the following sentences from the readers:
(1) ** In first place, water and ice (Adriana)
(2)** I can rely on fruits and vegetables for a long time without ever missing the meats or anything else (Habooba)
(3) ** I have never thought that fridges can tell us about persons (Merce)
(4) ** Any way I liked the beach’s photo (Pary)
(5) **Peoples who live in city area are able to used fridge (Silwal Kishor)
And I'll leave with you with a short vocabulary challenge. What do 'to beat the crowds' and 'my neck of the woods' mean?
Enjoy your day, whatever you are doing, and speak to you all soon,
posted on Thursday, 01 May 2008 | comment on this post
Oh dear, we seem to be having problems with the student log in system. I am sure that it will be fixed soon. In the meantime, while we wait to hear from Xuan we can chat. Thanks you for all the comments on the May Day post and I was interested to read who you were all spending May Day holiday round the world. Ana Paula, I am glad that you got onto the PC while your sister was in the shower. Hyoshil, Thailand does have crazy golf courses, but its too hot to use them at the moment as there is generally no shade. Good luck with the competition, Chaos, and Filipo, spending your day off as a couch potato sounds good to me. I hope it was relaxing. Beatriz - I am sorry that there WERE not MANY THINGS (or there WAS NOT MUCH) to do on your holiday, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.
I am back in the internet café, but this time I am prepared. Last time I was attacked by hordes of mosquitoes and got peppered with bites. So this time, I am absolutely lathered in insect repellant. And I have brought crayons and a coloring book for Josh. He is still pretending to type like mummy on the next terminal, though.
We are having a smashing time by the beach. We had a magical moment on Thursday evening, right after I wrote my last blog. Josh and I pootled back to the room and we all got our cossies on ready to go swimming. The suddenly, the skies opened and we were hit by torrential rain. Whilst everyone else in the resort was racing for cover, we were running to get outside to the pool. For 10 minutes we splashed and jumped about in the pool while the rain came tipping down. We spend so much of our normal lives complaining about rain and trying not to get wet (I’m thinking about me getting to the office in my suit in the mornings, here…) so it was totally liberating just to be able to run about in the rain. It was a really wonderful family moment. How about you – tell me about some of your ‘magical moments’.
I have another one! The first time I saw Mount Everest. Steve and I visited Nepal a few years ago and walked the trek up to Mount Everest base camp. It is a fairly arduous hike, but quite doable if you are reasonably fit and you don’t need any specialist climbing gear to do it. There is a point on the trek, after a village called Namche Bazaar, when you come round a corner and suddenly, in the distance, you can see the top of the world. I have to admit I cried. How often in your life do you get to see something so rare and special? I remember, Steve and I sat for ages just staring at it. Then we plodded on down the track to the next tea house for a cup of mint tea and some chocolate.
So, please tell me about your magical moments and explain why they were special.
(Vocabulary challenge now. In the previous 2 paragraphs, how many synonyms can you find for ‘walk’ or ‘run’. You have to find at least 3 verbs and 2 nouns)
Well done to those of you who worked out the previous vocabulary challenge. Maione among others was correct with the definition of ‘beat the crowds’ which means in my blog ‘to avoid the traffic’. I t can also mean, as Naheed pointed out ‘to avoid large crowds of people. Chiladi from Germany got the other one right; ‘my neck of the woods’ is a reference to a physical location, and in my blog I meant that Xuan lives not far away from me (Vietnam is in the same ‘neck of the woods’ as Thailand, being located in South East Asia). One final word for you. Suzy in Malaysia said she was eating ‘breakfast cum lunch’ with her hubby. There is a nice word to describe this meal which is BRUNCH. Steve and I like to have brunch with the kids at weekends.
Here are the corrections of the sentences:
(1) In THE first place, water and ice
(2) I can rely on FRUIT and vegetables for a long time without ever missing the MEAT or anything else
(3) I HAD never thought that fridges COULD tell us about PEOPLE
(4) ANYWAY I liked the BEACH PHOTOS (or) PHOTOS OF THE BEACHES
(5) PEOPLE who live in THE city (or URBAN AREAS) are able to USE FRIDGES
OK everyone, I’m back off to the beach with Josh. I have become addicted to the hotel’s café lattes so I need another cup. I will tell you more about our holiday and show you some snaps on Monday night, when we get back to Bangkok. In the meantime, can you guess the definitions of the vocabulary (hordes, peppered, lathered, cossies, arduous, gear)? Remember to use the context of the word to guess the meanings.
Bye for now,
Anne and Josh
posted on Saturday, 03 May 2008 | comment on this post
Hi Xuan and everyone,
Did you have a good weekend? I am back in Bangkok now with Steve, Josh and Rachel. We had a good run back in the car from Pattaya and made it back before the crowds. There have been no comments on my blog ‘Magical Moments’ so far, so I’ll leave you with the vocab challenge and the grammar questions a little bit longer. I'll also tell you a little bit more about our holiday next time.
Xuan, welcome to the BBC blog and I am really looking forward to chatting with you over the next few weeks. I thought you made a very good effort with your first blog and I liked the photo of you. Tell me, how did you spend your days off? What did you do? Here are a few corrections for you. Each sentence contains 1 error - look especially at the words in BOLD. How can you change the sentences to make them correct?
1. Nowadays Vietnam is the peaceful and friendly country
2. We want to make friend // glad to make friend
3. My English is not well
4. This is my first entry on BBC's blog
Also, Xuan, here is a challenge for you. I don't know how much you know about me or if you have been reading my previous blogs or not. So, instead of me telling you about myself, I would like you to think of at least 10 questions to ask me. Think carefully about using correct question forms when you are writing your sentences. You can ask me anything you like and I will try to answer as honestly as possible :-)
OK, let's talk a little bit more about Thailand now. Today I want to tell you about spirit houses, like the one in the photo at the start of today's blog. You see spirit houses on every house compound in Bangkok, whether it be a huge, high rise condominium or a traditional Thai wooden house. Thais believe in ghosts and spirits (this belief is known as animism). They believe that there are spirits who inhabit the land. When a new building is built on a particular plot of land, Thais believe that the spirits might become angered because ‘man’ is trying to take their land away from them. So in order not to offend the spirits, when a new house or apartment block is built, a spirit house or san phra phum, is built on the same location.
The installation of a spirit house is a very technical business. Every aspect has to be carefully considered. For example, if the spirit house were located in the shadow of the main building, the spirit would not give his protection.
Here is the spirit house which is in the garden of my apartment block.
Spirit houses come in many shapes and sizes, but this one is built in the shape of a traditional Thai temple. Inside, on the raised platform, you can see a pair of male and female spirit dolls, symbolising the spirit of the place.
They are being attended by a range of servants, who sit on the balcony outside.
The cleaning staff at my apartment bring drinks and food out to the spirits every morning, which they place on the balcony. Flowers, incense and other offerings are also brought to appease the spirits and to keep them happy. It is common for people to wai, or press their hands together in prayer whilst bowing, when they walk past a spirit house, as a mark of respect to the spirits.
In this picture you can see garlands of marigolds, which are an auspicious flower, adoring the sirit house.
Finally, here is a shot of the spirit house from the resort we have just been to. it is made of teak and again is carved in the style of a traditional Thai temple.
Despite Thailand being a very modern country, traditions such as the maintenance of spirit houses are upheld and are very important in the daily life of most Thai people. This mix of old and new, modern and traditional is, for me, one of the most interesting aspects of Thai culture.
If you would like to find out more about spirit houses, I found this link on the web. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_house. Spirit house can also be found in other south east Aisan countries, such as Cambodia and Laos. Xuan, do you have spirit houses in Vietnam? Can you, or anyone else, tell us about some other traditions in your country(ies)?
That's all for today, folks. Speak to you again soon,
good run - a good drive
to attend - to serve
teak - a type of wood
to uphold a tradition - to keep a particular tradition alive
posted on Monday, 05 May 2008 | comment on this post
(image from www.allposters.com)
Good Morning Xuan and Readers,
Xuan – I hope the student blogger portal is fixed and that we can hear from you again soon. Don’t forget the task that I set you in my last blog. And please tell us about where you live in Vietnam. Are you in the north or the south?
Another early start for me today, hence the image at the start of the blog to describe how I feel! It’s 6.30am, I have a wonderful cup of coffee in my hands and I am at my desk typing away. Talking of coffee, I caught the end of a really interesting programme on the History Channel about the history of coffee. I didn’t know this, but instant coffee was invented by an British guy, George Washington (not the American president) who went to live in the US and founded his own company called Washington coffee. The popularity of instant coffee really took off during the 1st and then the 2nd world wars, when it was included in American soldiers food ration packs. By the time of the 2nd world war, there were 6 companies making instant coffee, including Nestle and Maxwell House. After the war, the popularity of instant coffee further increased and it became mass produced using a freeze-dry process. It is now drunk by 70% of all coffee drinkers around the world. It’s even more popular than ‘fresh’ ground coffee, especially with those over 50 and people in their early 20s. Well, it’s a long time since I was 20 and I have 15 years to go till my 50s, so I am going to enjoy my nice, fresh, Columbian beans until then. I don’t watch much TV, but I really enjoy programmes like that, that teach you things you didn’t know about common, everyday objects.
Anyway, talking of enjoying things, I had a really good time last night (after the coffee programme) reading all of your comments, to my and Xuan’s posts. We have a great international following on this blog, and I was amazed to see new comments from bloggers in Toronto, Singapore, Brazil, Slovakia, Costa Rica. Thanks for all of your comments and please keep them coming.
I enjoyed reading all of your ‘magical moments’. In answer to James’ question, you can say either magical or magic moments. Both words here function as adjectives to describe the noun ‘moment’ (although the word ‘magic’ can be a noun as well). Silwal, how incredible that you met the king of Nepal! Habooba, congratulations on your wedding anniversary. Monkia, I would love to go to Barcelona. Here is a new expression for you. When you wrote, ‘I couldn’t say a single word’, you could say ‘I was lost for words’. To be lost for words means that you are unable to speak in a given situation. Beatriz, I don’t think you need to prepare your blogs in advance. Just type freely. I enjoyed your description of the GLACIER. And well done Hooda, I should indeed have written ‘repellent’ (not *rapellent)
Thanks also for the comments on the ‘spirit house’ post. To answer Cris’s question (hello again Cris – how is 1984 going?), Buddhism is the main religion in Thailand. But Buddhism and animism somehow coexist side by side. Paulo from Brazil, your question about ‘start’ and ‘begin’ is not a silly one. Thank you for raising it. In some cases, these words are synonyms, and mean almost the same thing. For example, if we use them as verbs we can say ‘to start a journey’ or ‘to begin a journey’. However, both words cannot be used in all contexts. For example, we can say ‘to start a company’ meaning to set up a new company, but we can’t say *’to begin a company’*. ‘Start’ can also be used as a noun, e.g. ‘at the start of the day’. But begin cannot be used as a noun as well. The correct noun for begin is ‘beginning’, so ‘the beginning of the day’ (not *the begin of the day*). Whenever you learn words such as these, it is always useful to write down a few sentences which show you how to use the word in context.
Here are the answers to the vocab challenge I set you. The verb synonyms for walk/run were:
(1) To race for cover (to run fast, here to avoid the rain)
(2) To pootle back to the room (to amble slowly - informal)
(3) To plod down (to walk with a heavy step)
The noun synonyms were ‘trek’ and ‘hike’.
The vocabulary definitions
Hordes of mosquitoes – lots of mosquitoes
Peppered with bites – absolutely covered all over in bites (ouch!)
Lathered in insect repellent – absolutely covered in repellent
Cosies – slang for swimming costumes
Ardous – difficult
Gear – specialist equipment
OK, the kids are squeaking now so I need to go and get them up. I promised you some details about our holiday – I think this will have to wait until next time. In the meantime, here is a shot of us leaving our apartment. We took this deliberately – we take so many photos once we arrive in a place, but we don’t take many of the journey, so we decided to take a shot of us and the car before we even left home. Josh is wearing his new Thomas the Tank Engine hat, so daddy hat to wear his hat too.
And here are Rachel and I in the garden of the resort, with the swimming pool in the background. I was having a very bad hair day.
Have a great day.
Caught the end – saw the very end of a programme
To take off – here, means to start to become popular
To coexist – to exist together at the same time
Squeaking – making a noise (like little mice…)
Bad hair day – a day when your hair looks really bad (do you ever get these?)
posted on Wednesday, 07 May 2008 | comment on this post
(image from blogs.marquettetribune.org)
Hello Xuan and Everyone,
Well now I understand why we haven’t heard much from you, Xuan. You must be really busy with your exams. How are you feeling? Are you very stressed, or very relaxed about it all? When are your exams – please tell us so that we can wish you good luck. And lucky you if you are older than you look (I think this is what you meant when you said ‘my body age is younger than my calendar age).
I have been thinking about what you said, that you think you only have time for one blog per week. I would really like you to do more than this. Let me tell you why. If you only blog once a week, I will only have 2 or 3 more times to help you with your English. This is not very good for you! I would really like to help you with your English, but I need to have posts from you in order to do this. Also, part of the fun of this blog is that the teacher and the learner get to chat together frequently, and all the readers get to join in our conversations as well. If you don’t blog, then I can’t chat with you. I still have lots to write about, but it would be great to hear from you as well.
So, how can we help you to blog more often? I know you are very busy, so you don’t have much time. Here are some ideas.
(1) How about you set a target of 3 blogs per week Whatever you learn, it is good to set targets so you know what you have to achieve.
(2) Set a word limit for each blog, say 150 words. This means you know that you don’t have to write too much. The last blog you did was 155 words.
(3) Set a time limit for each blog. Don’t spend more than 20 minutes per blog. This means you won’t have to spend too much time blogging and not revising. Once 20 minutes is up, then stop writing and post what you have done.
(4) Think about when you have free time, which you can turn into ‘blogging’ time. How about if you are having a break from your revision. Do you know the expression ‘a change is as good as a rest’? This means that if you are working hard on one thing, it can be restful to work on something else for a short time, before going back to what you were doing before.
So Xuan, what do you think? I hope I am not being too strict with you :-) We are all busy with our daily lives, but somehow a lot of you manage to squeeze English into your lives. What tips do you have for learning English when you don’t have much time? What strategies do you use?
(image from www.go-2-clocks.com)
Since we are talking about time, here are some time idioms for you. Can you explain what they mean using other words?
· To have the time of your life
· In your own time
· To have time on your hands
· To move with the times
· Time is money
· To be ahead of/behind time
Well everyone, I need to ‘practice what I preach’ today (this means that you have to follow the rules you set for others). I don’t have much time today. I think I might have told you that I am studying for a Masters degree in Linguistics. I have been working on an essay all week and I have to submit it to my tutor via email tonight. It is mostly written, I just need to play around with it and get it within the word limit. So I have limited time to blog tonight. Steve has hardly seen me all week, so I have promised to take him out tomorrow night. Josh and I are going to meet some other mums and kids tomorrow morning, for coffee and play, then in the afternoon I am going to do absolutely nothing at all, apart from lie on the sofa like a great, big couch potato and relax.
(image from www.tagbanger.com)
Wonderful! Don’t you just love doing absolutely nothing at times? I promise you all a new blog on Sunday. Until then, here are a few responses to your comments. Remember, where I have written words in capital letters these are words that I have reworded from your original post.
Hello Praveen Raj – you are right, India has so many traditions, but thanks for giving us a glimpse of one of the things you do in Tamil Nadu.
Hi Pary – thank you for saying that I looked GREAT in my FLOWERY skirt. I love having curly hair. My mum has curly hair but she hates it, so she straightens it. Isn’t that sad…
Habooba – probably after 2 cups at one sitting, I shake my cup! Thanks for telling me about this custom.
Hello babu maliyakkal – welcome to the blog and thank you for your comments. Can you tell us about life in Jeddah?
Hey Elena! How wonderful to hear that while your daughter IS STUDYING in America you are learning English as well. Good luck with your own studies and best wishes to your daughter. Where is she living right now in the USA?
Hello Merce – I would love to visit Barcelona. Steve, are you listening… :-)
Hello Cris – good to hear that you are enjoying 1984. I came across this link about Orwell while I was leafing through the BBC learning site. I thought it might be of interest to you. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1758_blue_plaque/page10.shtml
Hi Ana Paula – I didn’t know about the 1930s Brazilian coffee crisis. How interesting! I am also a fan of espressos after a meal (I don’t like to drink anything to heavy after having eaten)
Hello Maryam – I have to admit that Josh is a very good brother to Rachel. Yes, he does ‘attack’ her at times, but I think this is because he forgets she is small and that he has to be gentle with her. They get on very well and are starting to play together more and more.
Hi Purplerose – I don’t get up at 6.30am every day. I am a morning person, but I like my sleep. I also enjoy HAVING a coffee IN the afternoon. Thanks for your long post and for telling us about little YunNan coffee.
And finally, nice to hear from you again Carmen, Naheed and Silwal. Thanks for your posts and please keep blogging with all of your comments.
Have a good weekend
posted on Friday, 09 May 2008 | comment on this post
Good Morning Everyone!
What have you got planned for today? A lazy Sunday is on the cards for us. I’ve just made a light breakfast for us of scrambled eggs and bacon on toast. Josh is now playing with his lego, Rachel is asleep and Steve is doing his make-up…. no, only kidding, Steve is in the shower. A perfect opportunity for me to blog.
We had a lovely day yesterday. I met a friend in the morning, Thess, who lives down my street. She has a little girl called Lucy. So we took the kids off to play and we had a good chinwag together about everything under the sun. I didn’t get my 2 hours of peace to read in the afternoon (I got 20 minutes!!!!) but never mind, Josh and I made popcorn together and then sat and ate it on the kitchen floor. Steve was out flat hunting. The lease on our apartment runs out in July, and we would like to move to somewhere bigger. We have lived in the same place for 18 months, which is a long time for us. We get itchy feet really quickly. It’s a lovely apartment, but we also need to move nearer to Josh’s school. I took the kids out for a walk in the evening to see if we could find any cats in the street. Josh didn’t want to go, but as soon as I proposed to look for cats, he couldn’t get out of the door fast enough (meaning he suddenly wanted to go and nothing could hold him back)
We’re off to look at flats again this morning. Sunday is usually a quiet day in Bangkok, so we are going to take the car out in a little while and drive up and down some streets that we have targeted. Then we’ll have a snack for lunch in a little restaurant we know. One of our favourite dishes is gung chair nam plaa, or raw prawns marinated in fish sauce, and this place does it particularly well. They serve it with slices of garlic and fresh lemongrass. Delicious - if you like raw fish, otherwise, it’s probably your worst nightmare of a dish.
We have a new lady joining our team tomorrow. She used to work on our team, then was tempted away by a glamorous new marketing job in a different company. But, she was later told that the department she had moved to was going to relocate to Singapore. She didn’t fancy the move to Singapore, so she asked us if she could come back. She is going to help us with all the team administration, so I will have more time for teaching.
She is called Pichaya, but her nickname is Noon. Most Thai people have nicknames. Thai names are traditionally very long, so most people use their nicknames in daily life. Some are really interesting. For example, there is a guy at work called ‘Foremost’. Now, Foremost is the name of a brand of milk in Thailand, so we (me, Sam, Rob and Tom) were very intrigued to know if there was any connection. Sure enough, there was. His mum used to drink Foremost milk when she was pregnant, so she decided to call her son Foremost. Some nicknames are obvious. Another guy at work is called ‘Neung’, which is the Thai word for ‘one’, so he is the first born of his siblings. Nicknames like Top, Best, Champ, King, and Win are popular as they have positive connotations. But there are some more intriguing names, like ‘Q’ (is this from James Bond?), ‘Pod’ (like pea pods?), ‘Klang’ (a noisy child?) and ‘Apple’ (parents addicted to fruit?). In one team, there is a ‘Boy’ and a ‘Man’, which can be amusing when they refer to each other.
Josh and Rachy have nicknames. Josh is called ‘Nong Jom’, which means ‘warrior’ and Rachel is called ‘Nong Moo’. Moo is the Thai word for pig, and Rachel was born in the year of the pig, but she was also quite a round baby, so the nickname ‘little pig’ suited her quite well. Moo is quite a common nickname, as is ‘Pla’ (fish) and ‘Gai’ (chicken).
There are a lot of conventions surrounding names and their use. ‘Nong’ is the word you use to refer to someone who is younger than you, or who is lower in social rank. The way to get the attention of a waiter or waitress in a restaurant is to shout ‘Nong, ka’. The equivalent to use for someone who is older than you, or who is your superior at work, is ‘Pi’. So going back to Neung, he is a team leader so most of his team call him ‘Pi Neung’. People only use these forms of address once they know the people quite well. If you don’t know someone, you would normally use their full name and address them as ‘Khun’ which is a way of showing respect. So everyone refers to my boss as Khun Chris, even though he is a westerner.
I don’t have a nickname. Do you? Do you like it? Do you have any special rules concerning names in your country?
OK folks, that's all for today. Speak to you soon,
Down my street – in my street
Chinway – a talk, chat
Everything under the sun – lots of different things
Flat hunting – to look for a new flat to live in
Itchy feet – the desire/need for change
Siblings- brothers and/or sisters
posted on Monday, 12 May 2008 | comment on this post
Hello Xuan and all our cyber friends!
Thanks for blogging, Xuan. And CONGRATULATIONS on passing your first exam. You must feel happy and relieved. What is your next exam on the 22nd? And what is your main subject (your major) at university?
To answer your question, I do know Hanoi. I visited Vietnam at the beginning of 2001. I did a month long trip, starting in Hanoi and ending up in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City. I had a wonderful time! I stayed in a little hotel on Hang Bo street (do you know this street?). Of course, I spoke no Vietnamese, the hotel manager didn’t speak any English, but when we realised that we both spoke French we were delighted to be able to communicate. I spent 4 days in Hanoi – I hired a bike and cycled round the lake most days, but I hear that a lot of the cycles have been replaced by motorbikes and cars now. Is this true, Xuan? Please tell us more about Hanoi. What are your favourite places to visit. Can you show us any photos?
Now, in the last blog I was talking about names. Ernesto asked you why you signed your name ‘Bichxuan’ and I am curious to know why too. Is this your full name, and Xuan is a nickname? Does your name have a meaning? Apparently, Anne means something like ‘whom god has favoured’. By the way – you don’t have to call me Mrs Anne. That makes me feel very, very old :-) You can just call me Anne.
Over to language now. All of sentences you rewrote are correct, apart from number 4. You missed out the word ‘the’. The correct sentence is, ‘This is my first post on THE BBC blog’.
I have a few more corrections for you.
* I’ve read your post and thanks for your advices. You can use present perfect here, but you could also use past simple, to indicate that the action is finished. Also, advice is uncountable so has no –s on the end. The correct sentence is I read / I have read your post and thanks for your advice.
* I’ve begun my final exams on May 9th. I think you should change the verb here to ‘start’. Although begin and start mean the same thing, more or less, we use them in different ways. Here, because ‘exams’ is plural and refers to ‘all your exams, not just one’, ‘start’ is a better choice. Also, because you have used a time marker, you cannot use present perfect. You need to use past simple. I started my exams on May 9th.
* Today is Saturday and I spend more time to read your blog. Again, think about your verb tense here. You make reference to today and you are talking about something you are doing on that day, so you need to use present continuous. Today is Saturday and I am spending time reading your blog.
Here is a short quiz for you! Can you fill in the blank in each sentence? I have given you the correct verb to use at the end of the sentence (present continuous, present perfect or past simple). Can you choose the correct verb tense in each case?
(1) It’s Monday today and I right now I ____________ this blog. (TO WRITE)
(2) I ____________ my blog last night. (To POST)
(3) I am glad that my exams _______________. (TO START)
(4) I _________________ my first exam (TO PASS)
(5) I _________________ my first exam yesterday (TO PASS)
Finally, well done to everyone who tried to work out the time references.
• To have the time of your life = to have a great time
• In your own time = according to your schedule, when you are free
• To have time on your hands = to have free time, to not have many other things to do
• To move with the times = to keep up to date with life, events, new technology etc
• Time is money = time has a value, it is precious, so we shouldn’t waste it
• To be ahead of/behind time = to be early / late
Ok folks. Steve and Josh have just got up (it’s another early morning blog…) Steve is making the coffee and Josh is running round with his pineapple juice.
Bye for now and have a good day.
PS – Hello to my old colleague Steven from Delhi, who posted a comment on the student response forum. Great to hear from you and good luck with your Hindi studies.
posted on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 | comment on this post
Rain, rain and more rain
Hello Xuan and readers,
Great to hear from you so soon. How is your revision going Xuan? Steve is leaning over my shoulder reading your post, as I type. Steve – do you have a message for Xuan and the readers?
Do you know how lethal this can be? (what do you think ‘lethal’ means in this context - yes, I’m a qualified English teacher too).
I think Steve means that I should not let him loose on the blog.
Hope you are all OK and enjoying Anne’s blogging. You seem like friends to me – I hear so much about you all. Xuan, Anne and I have both been to Hang Bo street but never together, we travelled separately in different years, but would love to go there together with our kiddies soon. Cris, I love Argentinean wine and would love to see the Andes one day. I am sure that we will as a family. To everyone else, I have enjoyed reading your comments and wish you good luck with your English. On that note, it’s 10.51pm here in Bangkok and bedtime for me, though Anne is going to carry on chatting. Good night all!
OK, back to me now. Xuan, you mentioned the weather in Hanoi. It’s getting really hot in Bangkok too and we are having more and more rain storms. Like Hanoi, the weather here is rainy and unstable. All of the power went off at work yesterday for 2 hours, due to high winds and a rain storm. I agree that this type of weather can make you ill (not *its easy to be ill by this weather). Ernesto asked an interesting question – do you prefer a rainy day or a hot one. You’ve got me going here. British people can talk about the weather till the cows come home. I like the rain in Bangkok. It falls really heavily, it is predictable and when it rains it is usually warm. It is good fun to go out in the rain here. When it rains in the UK it is generally cold and it is unpredictable (many a BBQ and picnic has been ruined by rain) and it is generally NOT fun to be outside. What about this picture. Do you think the man is having fun being outside with his cello? Why do you think he might be outside? If you like, have a go at making a short story about him and why he is standing in the rain on the pavement.
(image from www.allposters.com)
Having said that I don't like being outside in the UK in the rain, one of my happiest walks ever was with some friends from school, walking in the UK Lake District in the north west of England in the pouring rain. We all had our wet weather gear on, proper heavy duty walking boots and we had a ball. The colours in the countryside are so different when it rains – the green and the grass and the hills really stand out. And when it is cold and wet outside, it is great to sit by a roaring fire inside. I remember we walked all day, then stopped at a small pub in the evening to rest, and there was a huge fire blazing. So its swings and roundabouts, six of one and half a dozen of the other (i.e. both situations are good in different ways, being in the heat or being in the rain both have good points and bad points)
(image from www.dotlife.wordpress.com)
You know how much I like talking about the weather, so here is a weather vocabulary quiz for you.
• An umbrella keeps the rain off you. What is the name of the object, that looks like an umbrella, that keeps sunshine off you?
• Rearrange the letters to form name of the illness you get if you spend too long in the sun. (ROTESHATEK)
• What is the illness you can get if you spend too long outdoors in the cold and your body temperature drops to a very, very low level? It starts with the letter ‘h’.
• How many expressions can you think of in English to mean ‘it is raining heavily’
• What are wellies (this is a slang word)?
• What is a sou’wester? Do you know the history of this word?
(image from www.intersafe.ca)
Finally, well done for tackling the quiz, Xuan. You got all of the answers absolutely correct!
(1) It’s Monday today and I am writing this blog. (TO WRITE)
(2) I posted my blog last night. (To POST)
(3) I am glad that my exams have started. (TO START)
(4) I have passed my first exam (TO PASS)
(5) I passed my first exam yesterday (TO PASS)
Night night everyone and speak to you tomorrow.
PS - thank you all for your comments, and I will reply to you all this week.
to let someone loose - to allow them to do what they want, to give them freedom
You’ve got me going here – informal expression, meaning ‘I could talk about this for a long time’
till the cows come home - informal expression, meaning ‘for a long time’
it falls heavily – i.e. there is a lot of rain
to have a go - to try to do something
ruined – spoilt, unable to happen
heavy duty – big and strong
to have a ball – to really enjoy yourself
to stand out – to be distinct and visible
a roaring fire – a large, blazing fire
to blaze - to burn strongly
to tackle something - to try to do something
posted on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 | comment on this post
Hello Xuan and readers,
How are you doing Xuan and how is your revision going? It's just over one week until your next exam. I hope you are not feeling too nervous. Everyone else, thank you for all of your recent posts. Before I reply to you all, I wanted to tell you a little bit more about some of the unusual things I see on the way to work. I mean unusual compared to my walk to work in the UK, because now I am totally used to the ‘unusual’ things here. OK, let me get to the point and tell you what I want to tell you.
You all know I get the Skytain to work. I get off and walk along an overhead walkway then down a long flight of steps to get to street level. I pass a few shops, motorbike riders and fruit sellers, and then I get to the flower stalls. The flower stalls are always a hive of activity and they really brighten up my walk to work. Outside a small supermarket, some people have set up a few stalls selling flowers by the side of the road.
You can buy almost anything you want from roses, tulips and orchids, to lilies, marigolds and jasmine flowers. You can buy flowers arranged into bouquets like in the next picture….
or in garlands, as in the picture below. These garlands cost around 10 baht each (that’s $0.33 or £0.15) and people buy them to put on spirit houses, to take to temples to leave as offerings or maybe to put on any other kind of shrine at work.
It is long summer school holidays now in Thailand so the kids of the flower vendors come and sit with them at the stall to help out their parents.
So you can see, I have a very colourful and varied trip to work. Actually, I got into the lift at work this morning with a courier who had a large bunch of roses in his arms. I was very curious who they might be for. The lift went up higher and higher, more and more people got off but the courier and I remained together in the elevator. I became really hopeful that they might be for me!!!! But no. When I got off at floor 17, he stayed in the lift. But I wonder who they WERE for? Steve always buys me flowers and I’ve got 2 beautiful bunches in the kitchen right now. I’m lucky.
So here’s a question for you. When was the last time you bought anyone flowers? When was the last time you received any flowers? What is your favourite flower? There is a really nice entry on the BBC staff blog about English bluebells. If you have time, have a read, as there are some lovely pictures as well.
Finally, here is my own little flower, my little rosebud Rachel, taken tonight in the kitchen.
Ok everyone, over to you! Thank you so much for all the comments and here are replies to everyone who posted a comment to my ‘Congratulations Xuan’ post.
Pary – please don’t be embarassed about what you see as minor mistakes, or major mistakes for that matter. If you don’t make mistake then you won’t improve. Thank you for doing the ‘time’ homework and I hope you are not too busy now. Tell me, when you are really busy, what do you like to do if you have a spare moment (this mean, when you have a little free time)?
Naweed – it is my pleasure to guide you and I always try to be professional (not *profistional). Best wishes to you.
Merce – I LOVE ABBA and especially the song Dancing Queen!!!! Thanks for making me listen to it again. When I was at university, one of my favourite nights out was to go to the student union every Thursday night for the 70s disco and dance my heart away classic songs of the 1970s. ABBA was played every week. I think using song lyrics to understand English is a really good way to learn.
Hyoshil – I am glad that you are enjoying the grammar lessons. I have to thank you for asking questions. Sometimes I feel very frustrated as a teacher if my students don’t ask me any questions. You have to be curious about language in order to learn effectively, I think. So, you asked me what the difference is between ‘commanding’ and ‘demanding’. If something is commanding’, it exerts control or it can be seen as ‘magnificent’. If something is ‘demanding’, it is hard work. Let me give you a couple of sentences – which word should you put in each phrase?
• The great opera singer gave a very ____________ performance last night.
• He sung for 3 hours, which was very _____________.
Another example. Imagine that you work in the army. You would have commanding officer. This is the man or woman in charge of your military unit. If this person makes a lot of requests of you, makes you do a lot of work and is always telling you to do things, they are a demanding commanding officer
Marianna – Xuan and I are lucky to share experience about Hanoi, aren’t we (not *don’t). Marianna might have a different meaning, as a whole name, than Anne. I am sure that if you look on the web, you can find the meaning of ‘Mari’.
Naheed – you raised a question about the differences between ‘in the end’ and ‘on the end’. Let me give you some example phrases,
• We couldn’t decide what to do at the weekend. In the end, we decided to go to the cinema.
• The mouse was hiding in the end of the pipe
• The mouse was sitting on the end if the pipe
Can you work out the different meaning of each phrase in each sentence? Two meanings are about physical location and one is a reference to time.
Gianna – well done for trying to very homework. Tell us, where do you live in Italy and what do you do for a living? Are you a student, or do you work?
Cris –Did you really learn French at high school FOR 5 years? I did French at university and have lived in France for about 3 years. I also learnt German, but found it much more difficult than French. I also speak very bad Italian and Spanish – I am very proud of the fact that I can order coffee on the phone in Spanish. Very useful when you are staying in a hotel and need coffee on room service! And of course now I am trying to learn Thai, but that is very, very difficult.
Habooba – how interesting to hear about nicknames in Iran. You still seem to have a lot of variations in names and lots of ways in which you can change them. I know you live in Ahwaz in Iran. Can you tell us a little bit about your town? How far is it from Tehran? What is it like to live there? I am very interested to hear more, as I know very little about Iran.
Danijel – you are right to be proud of your name. It is your identity, to an extent. I think this is the first time that I have read a comment from you on the blog, so welcome from me. Please keep posting your comments.
Filippo – so, you like rain too? We have affair amount of stuff to pack, but not too much. Mostly furniture and big things, like fridges, rather than small things, like ornaments and clothes. So we will need a removal company to help us when we do eventually move. Steve is looking at flats again at the weekend.
Hello as well to Purplerose, Marianna, Simone, Jospephine, Miche, Marcel, Beatriz, Paula, Anwar, Celina, Ana Paula, Bahar, Leila, Maryam, Jermaine, Maione and Praveen Raj. Thank you for all your comments on my Time post. Please keep blogging.
I will reply to all your comments on my Rain, Rain and More Rain post at the weekend.
Best Wishes from,
a hive of activity – very busy
courier – person who delivers letters and packages
have a read - why don't you read it?
posted on Thursday, 15 May 2008 | comment on this post
Tourists in our own town
Hello Xuan and Everyone,
Great to hear from you Xuan! You said that you have been busy for the past 3 days (not *I was busy on 3 days). I bet you have spent most of the time revising for your next exam. Only one more week to go (not *one more week pass) until the exam. Good luck to you! (not * good luck for me). Or you can say, 'wish me luck'. The pictures of the flowers are beautiful – thanks for posting them.
You talked a little bit about the weather in Vietnam. I also like it when it rains at night. I love being in bed and hearing the rain hammering at the window. Thailand is a tropical country as well. Like you, when its hot, we tend to stay at home too. Or we go to places that have air conditioning. It’s really difficult to get around town with the kids when its really, really hot. We live about a 10 minute walk from the nearest metro stop, which is a long walk when you are 3 years old. I took the kids out to play this morning and we walked back home from the metro. Poor Josh was exhausted when we got back. However, we are very lucky in that we do have a tuk-tuk service to take us from our building to the end of the road. Here is a picture of me and my friend Maria, who lives in my building, at the end of our road in the tuk-tuk. Can you see what a tuk tuk is, now?
Normally I use the tuk-tuk (Josh likes to sit on the front seat and help the driver drive). You can phone the driver when you get off the metro, and he will come and pick you up, but today I wanted to buy some spring rolls from a particular lady who has a stall on my street. This meant that we had to walk home. Do you like spring rolls, Xuan? I especially love Vietnamese spring rolls, either the ones that you deep fry, or the ones made out of rice paper that is so fine. Do you know the ones I mean?
Anyway, talking of electricity, we had a big power cut a few weeks ago. One of the cranes on one of the building sites on my street (there are 2!) collapsed. It literally fell over. Fortunately, no one was hurt but it took all the electricity pylons down (they fell like dominoes) so we had no power for 2 days. They are finally getting round to completely fixing it this weekend, so the power is going to be off for 2 days again. As this is difficult to manage with the kids (don’t really want to have candles in the kids’ bedroom…) we have decided to check into a hotel. We have a voucher to exchange for a free stay in a hotel 2 streets away from our house, so we have decided to use it. We are going to be tourists in our own town! Monday is a bank holiday, so we can make a nice long weekend of it. I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog.
(Image from www.bluepeak.net)
Well done for having a go at answering the quiz questions, Xuan. You got all 3 questions correct.
• An umbrella keeps the rain off you. What is the name of the object, that looks like an umbrella, that keeps sunshine off you? A sunshade or a parasol.
• Rearrange the letters to form name of the illness you get if you spend too long in the sun. (ROTESHATEK) Heatstroke. Cris also suggested sunstroke, which is correct as well.
• What is the illness you can get if you spend too long outdoors in the cold and your body temperature drops to a very, very low level? It starts with the letter ‘h’. The answer is hypothermia.
• How many expressions can you think of in English to mean ‘it is raining heavily’? You all had lots of ideas. Here is a summary: it’s raining cats and dogs; its pouring (down); it’s bucketing down; it’s tipping it down; it’s chucking it down; the heavens have opened.
• What are wellies (this is a slang word)? They are waterproof boots that you wear when it is raining. These can also be called gumboots, as Silwal Kishor points out. Leila – I had no idea that NOKIA started out by making wellies. How incredible!
• What is a sou’wester? Do you know the history of this word? A sou’wester is a type of rain hat. According to wikepedia, a sou’wester, “was traditionally worn by sailors off the Noth coast of the USA and Canada and is distinguished by a wide brim that becomes especially long in the back for to protect your neck from the elements. The name derives from nor'easter which is generally considered the worst storm pattern in the area. A sou'wester protects one from the elements and is thus named opposite the storm.” (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sou'wester)
Now, on to the challenge I set you to write a story about the black and white photo of the man standing in the rain with the cello. Well done to Vladimir and Maione for attempting the task. I have corrected what you wrote and posted it below. Can you compare my version with yours and identify what changes I have made? You can ask me any questions to clarify what I have changed, if you need to. And Vladimir, welcome back from your trip. Did you have a good time?
VLADIMIR. Frankly speaking, it’s a bit of a sad story. I suppose, the man certainly had colourful aspirations when he started to play the violoncello forty-five years ago. There is no doubt, there were a lot of ups and downs in his career as a cello player. Probably, one of the most significant events was the day he successfully passed all his exams and his mother shed a tear of joy. There were many other stepping stones in his life and all of them came to mind as he was standing on the pavement, when a second later he recognized his first love amongst some women who were passing by. That’s why he is lost for words and still standing in the rain on the pavement.
I really enjoyed this story. I was not exactly sure about the sequence of events here. Was he thinking about the other stepping stones in his life WHEN AT THE SAME TIME he saw the woman, or did one event first followed by the other? I hope I haven’t changed what you wanted to say.
MAIONE. The man in the rain is a famous musician who, after many misadventures, is living in poverty. The only thing he still has is his cello that he keeps playing on the road to survive. After the death of his wife he refused the success and the company of his old friends. Now, he is alone and is obliged to go out even in the rain to collect some money. At the moment the umbrella is protecting the instrument rather than him and he is dreaming of a blazing fire, because it's raining cats and dogs. Let's hope he doesn't get hypothermia.
You were right, this is a sad tale but it is well written. I liked the way you used some of the ‘rain’ vocabulary from the quiz. Well done!
Thank you to everyone else for your comments. I am really sorry but I have to fly off now, so we can get the kids to the hotel in time for their tea.
Image from http://z.about.com/d/goflorida/1/0/e/8/sunset4.jpg
Take care, have a good weekend and speak to you all soon,
PS – can you guess the meaning of today's vocabulary? Use the context to help you, as always.
hammering at the window
fell like dominoes
posted on Saturday, 17 May 2008 | comment on this post
Hello Xuan and everyone,
Hope you had a lovely weekend. We had a great time at the hotel. The kids had a ball (i.e. a great time) – that’s the only way to describe it. I had lots of plans to visit Bangkok, but the weather was against us. So we just watched movies in the room (it was absolutely tipping it down this afternoon) and swam in the pool. The hotel had a beautiful pool – one of the best I have ever seen – with lots of secret nooks and crannies (that means lots of different parts, where you could explore and hide) so the kids enjoyed playing hide and seek (do you know this game?) and splashing around.
But we have got home, and nothing seems to work properly. The cooker and the fridge are on half power. We’re trying to cook a chicken for tea and it is not going very well. So I can’t blog for long – I think I will have to dash off to the food stalls at the end of the road to get something for the kids to eat.
Ooops, in fact Steve is staring at me now, indicating that I have to stop typing, jump into the lift, dash off in the tuk tuk to get food for the kids. One final task before I go – here is the vocabulary from last time. Well done to everyone who tried to guess the meanings.
Hammering at the window – hitting the window hard
Power cut – when the power e.g. electricity stops working
Fell like dominoes – knocked each other down, one after the other
Fly off – go away quickly
Sorry that I have to fly off again everyone. Speak to you again tomorrow night, hopefully in a less rushed fashion.
Anne and family
posted on Monday, 19 May 2008 | comment on this post
Hello Xuan and everyone,
Only 2 days to go until your exam, Xuan. I think we all have our fingers crossed for you. Good luck and I am sure you will let us know how it went. Best wishes also to Ha from Viet Nam who wrote that students all over Viet Nam are having their final exams right now. What are you studying, Ha? I hope you are not too stressed.
Well, talking of stress, last night’s chicken problems turned out all right in the end. You are right, Merce, I am an optimist and have a very optimistic view on life. I couldn’t help taking some photos of the whole thing. I forgot to take the camera to the hotel at the weekend. Steve offered to trek back to our flat (2 streets away...) to retrieve it, but I wouldn’t let him. If we had really been on holiday, we would not have been able to get it, so I said we had to follow the rules and not go back for anything that we had forgotten. Anyway, when we finally got home I really wanted to take some pictures.
Here the children are happily jumping on Steve in the kitchen. The chicken is in the oven, not cooking.
In protest at not being fed, the children decided that they really needed to attack daddy.
What was planned as a family meal, turns into a romantic dinner for mummy and daddy. This was an unexpected treat. I put one of our favourite jazz CDs on (Love Songs by Dave Brubeck) and we sat and waited for the chicken to cook.
At last it was ready!
Mmmmm delicious. Steve is actually a really good cook. We ate the chicken with sautéed potatoes, green veg and gravy.
Now, a few replies to everyone.
Merce – I think I agree with you, that people who have travelled a lot can be more used to solving problems than those who haven’t. I think it certainly makes you very resourceful and resilient.
Hello Mimee and welcome to the blog. Please ask any questions about grammar that you like. Good luck with your Spanish studies.
Hi Silwal – thank you for your concern about our electrical equipment. We have called out a technician to come and look at everything. This evening, we just used the microwave to heat up some take-out food.
Hello Cris – can you guess what star sign I am? I am a Virgo and Steve is a Libra. In Chinese astrology, I was born in the year of the Rat, and he was born in the Year of the Dragon. According to details displayed on the table mats in a Chinese restaurant we used to go to in Delhi, we are very compatible. What star sign are you and Oscar?
Hi Duke Lee. You asked me about how to improve your writing. Writing is a difficult skill to improve – you need to have a proper reason to write and you need to have something to say, as I think you comment on in your post. My advice would be to keep reading the blog and to make a comment when you have something to say. Why not ask some of the other readers some questions, and in return, they might ask you some things. This will then give you a good reason to write a reply.
Hello Ana Paula – yep, childhood is a great time! When you’re an adult, you can’t jump up and down on your dad’s tummy as he lies on the kitchen floor and you’re too big to play hide and seek. But, there are good things about being an adult. You can eat a whole bar of chocolate and you can do all of the things you always knew you would do, despite being told the opposite by your parents, when you finally get a place of your own (do you know what I mean…?)
Hyoshil – good to hear from you again. I have been thinking about the sentence you asked me about. Do you think they might have said, “it must be the biggest kitchen we’ve seen so far”? Can I ask you, why were you looking at colour schemes. Are you planning to do some painting?
Hello Elina – Finland sounds like a very efficient country. I think children love all kinds of transport. How old is your son – does he like trains as well?
OK, its getting later here. As my mum used to say when my sisters and I were little, ‘It’s time to climb the wooden hill to Bedfordshire’ (meaning, ‘get up the stairs to bed’ – ‘Bedfordshire’ is a play on words containing the word ‘bed’ and is meant to sound like a made-up name for a region in the UK. There are other expressions to mean ‘time for bed’ like ‘it’s time to hit the sack’ or ‘let’s turn in now’. Can you think of any other expressions like these in English? What expressions do you have in your own language for this?
Night night everyone,
compatible - get on well together
resourceful - can think of lots of ideas to solve problems
resilient - tough or hardy, can withstand a lot
posted on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 | comment on this post
Today is the day...
Hello Xuan and everyone,
Well, today is the day! I hope your exam went well today and that you are feeling optimistic about the result. Please tell us how it went (did you tell us already what the subject was?). And of course, what is next? Do you have another exam, or is this the last one?
I really enjoyed the photos. I think I told you that I visited Vietnam about 9 years ago. The pictures of the rice fields reminded me very much of my trip. Your country is indeed beautiful. Green is a very restful colour, so I think people generally like to see images of the countryside. Fields in England do look different. If you have time, scroll through some of the picture on the BBC staff blog. There are some lovely shots of British countryside. Here is a picture of some of the countryside where I live. We do have yellow wheat fields, Xuan, but also green fields of grass. This view is taken near the historic Roman Wall, which was built by the Romans roughly 2000 years ago to protect England against Scottish invaders. It is mostly in ruins now, but some parts are still standing.
I have a quick quiz for you, Xuan. I want you to think about quantifiers. Quantifiers are the words that describe the quantiy, or amount, of something. In some cases you have used these correctly (e.g. there are many rice fields in my country) but in other cases you make some errors (e.g. *there is a little car, motorbike in my home town). Have a look at the following phrases. Can you decide which quantifier should go in each space – choose from the following list. Can you remember the rules for each one? Tell me what rules you can remember and I will remind you about anything you forget in my next blog.
LOT OF // MANY // FEW // MANY // A FEW
1. There are _______ cars or motorbikes in my home town.
2. There are not _______ cars or motorbikes in my home town.
3. There are only ________ cars and motorbikes in my home town.
4. There are a _________ rice fields in my country.
5. There are __________ rice fields in my country.
I enjoyed reading all of the different phrases for going to sleep. I like the idea of putting yourself in an envelope to go to sleep (Cris and Betriz).
Merce – you did not make a mistake. You can say ‘view on life’ or ‘way of life’
Ernesto – we don’t like to wear shoes in our house. Normally when you visit someone in Thailand, you are expected to remove your shoes.
Hyoshil – you are not a pain in the neck. Teachers love questions! ‘Expanding’ does mean ‘extending’; they both mean ’to make bigger’. Usually, when we say that we are extending a house, we mean that we have added an extra part to it. Are you really expanding (i.e. building extra parts on the house) or just renovating, or updating?
Maione – I can’t imagine an explanation about the people from Pisa. Is it about the volcano eruption many years ago? Please can you explain?
Hello Maria – I have never been to the Amalfi coast. Please tell me more about it.
Hi Cris – we Virgos are very demanding! At the end of the day, the chicken incident was quite funny. I don’t believe that you don’t have a sense of humour – is this really true?
Ana Paula – one day, you will have a big, beautiful place to live, that you will own. Until then, enjoy not having to worry about bills, renovations, property tax or any other downside to owning a property.
Hello Ha – I actually do own a copy of the film A Beautiful Life. But! It is the original Italian version with subtitles. This is fine for me, but when I sat down to watch it with Joshua a few weeks ago, he was a bit confused. I will watch it one of these days. There is also a really god film called a Beautiful Mind, with Russell Crowe. Do you know it?
Hello Marianna – I like your expression ‘dangle dollies’. That suits the kids really well.
Elina – you can say, ‘my children are the same age as Josh and Rachel’. If you are talking about your son, you can say either, ‘he is the same age as Josh’, or ‘they are the same age’ (no *of)
Hello Silwal – I enjoyed both your stories. Thank you for taking the time to write. Being a ‘parent pillow’ as you describe is not so bad It sounds like you have a very happy family and lovely children.
Naweed – you are right, Steve is a funny guy. I would be interested to hear more about your youth work. Do you work directly with young people?
Hi Paula – I can’t send you any chicken because we ate it all. But Steve has made some chicken soup with the bones. If you are in Thailand this weekend, you can round for a bowl. I can’t say fairer than that!
Hello Habooba – good to hear from you and thanks for your kind words.
Kuldeep – you make a good point about children relieving stress. No matter how tired I am when I get in from work, it is always refreshing to see the kids and I feel rejuvenated (i.e. no longer tired)
Maria – Steve loves playing with Rachel as well. Dads and daughters!!!!
OK everyone, I am really tired, so I must go and hit all the people from Pisa who are waiting for me in a sack inside the envelope (is that right…)
Night night everyone
PS - I taught a class today, and we had a long discussion about how to improve listening skills. What do you all do to work on your listening skills? Can you give my class any tips?
In ruins – damaged
Still standing – still exists nowadays
posted on Thursday, 22 May 2008 | comment on this post
Found a flat near the park
Hello Xuan and everyone,
It’s Saturday today and I am really tired after a long week at work. But, so far it has been a great day! We’ve been out looking at apartments this morning and we have found a lovely apartment, near one of the big parks here in Bangkok, Lumpini Park. It is a beautiful park, with a huge lake in the middle, where you can hire rowing or pedal boats.
(Image from http://www.hellosiam.com/images/Bangkok/lumpini3.jpg)
If you get up early enough in the morning, you can see hordes of people doing Tai Chi, yoga or aerobics, and if you are really lucky sword or fan dancing (I am sure these latter two have proper names, but I don’t know what they might be…).
(Images from tevanalexander.com and http://www.nytimes.com)
Steve loves to go running here, and there are lots of other animals – turtles, lizards, cats to name but a few – to keep the kids happy.
Anyway, back to our flat-hunting. There is one problem with the apartment. It is furnished, and we have furniture. We have spoken to the landlord and we don’t think they are willing to move their furniture out. So, maybe the search will continue.
After looking at flats, we carried on to a local department store which has a large play area for the kids. We plonked the kids in there to let them blow off some steam and then we met up with some friends for lunch. The girl you can see sitting next to me is my friend Carmen, with her son Andrei. Carmen is married to a Thai-Chinese guy, Ake. Just so you can see him too, I have copied 2 shots below.
They met in Colorado, in the USA. Now, I know that you are thinking what were a Thai guy and a Rumania girl doing in Colorado? Well they met on a sports camp and now they both work together in Bangkok, teaching swimming to kids. They are a great couple. Andrei was born 6 weeks before Rachel. We kind of hoped we might be able to get the 2 kids together. However, during their first meeting Rachel hit Andrei on the head, and the second time they met Andrei hit Rachel back, so we think that their relationship is doomed from the start…..
I think you can recognise Steve, Josh and Rachy in the back left hand corner of the photos. Next to them are Carmen’s mum and dad, who arrived from Rumania yesterday after a marathon 32 hour trip. They will be staying here for 3 months.
Over to Xuan, now. I think you did very well in this post. You are using a range of verb tenses quite accurately, like “I wish I had checked it” and “I am sure that you had a delicious meal”, a variety of conjunctions like ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘so’ and some other good adverbs like ‘unfortunately’ and ‘carefully’. Keep up the good work! I am sorry that you felt a bit nervous (not * a bit of nervous) before the exam, but it sounds like you did OK. We did have a delicious chicken meal, thank you. We eat a lot of it here in Thailand and as far as I know, there is no chicken flu pandemic here (hope not anyway – we’re having chicken again tonight!). Do you mean that, due to the pandemic, you don’t eat chicken less now than you did before (and not *I eat it little than that)?
I’ll give you a bit more time to do the quantifiers quiz, if you have time before your exam on Monday. Good luck with that and let us know how it goes.
OK, everyone, I am really tired now so I am going to go and put my feet up with a cuppa. As always at the weekend, I’m going to leave you to guess the meanings of the vocabulary (use the context to help you) and I will give you the answers next time. Thank you for all of your posts and please keep blogging. Welcome especially to our new bloggers Guzin (from Turkey) and Lalit (from India). And welcome to to Felicitas from Germany - if we are to work out if you are the oldest blogger, then I will have to ask you how old you are, if this is not impolite :-)
Best Wishes to you all and have a lovely weekend,
to name but a few
Plonked the kids
To let them blow off steam
To get the 2 kids together
posted on Saturday, 24 May 2008 | comment on this post
good luck with exam number 3 !
Hello Xuan and everyone,
It’s Monday and the start of my last week as teacher blogger. I am really, really going to miss doing this. I have had a lot of fun writing the blogs and chatting with everyone.
Anyway, now is not the time to get down. We still have one week together!
Xuan, thank you for your post on Sunday. Good luck for your exam today. I hope this is not a silly question, but if you left school in 2006 why are you going to a school year ending ceremony now? I am very curious! Was this for your class, or the class after you? Or was this more of a reunion (this is where a group of people who once knew each other get together again)? What are your classmates doing now? Have you all gone to university together, or have you gone your separate ways (this means, have most of you done different things)?
Let’s review the quiz I set you last time. Here are the rules. All of the words can all be used with countable nouns, but only ‘a lot’ can also be used with uncountable nouns. Be careful when you say that few has a negative meaning. I know what you mean – it means ‘not many’, but we use it with a ‘positive construction’ e.g. there are few shops open before 9am (meaning, not many shops open before 9am). Again, ‘little’ implies a negative meaning, but we use a positive verb construction, e.g. there is little hope of finding survivors (meaning, there is not much hope of finding survivors). We don’t say *there is not little hope. Here is a quick summary of some examples.
• There are few cars on the road (countable, positive – means ‘a small number of cars’ i.e. not many)
• There are a few cars on the road (countable, positive – means ‘a small number of cars’)
• There are many cars on the road (countable, positive)
• There are not many cars on the road (countable, negative)
• There are a lot of cars on the road (countable, positive – can also be used with uncountable)
• There are not a lot of cars on the road (countable, negative – can also be used with uncountable)
Sentences (1) and (3) you got the wrong way round. The answers should be:
There are few cars or motor bikes in my home town.
There are only a few cars and motorbikes in my home town.
Sentences (2), (4) and (5) you got correct.
And here are the vocabulary definitions from last time.
Hordes - lots
Plonked the kids – to plonk something down means to put something down forcefully
To let them blow off steam – to run around and get rid of tension
To get the 2 kids together – to push the 2 children into a relationship (here, used in a joking sense)
Doomed – can never be successful
Well, let me tell you about something that upset me today. I was working late tonight and did a bit of shopping on the way home. I finally got to the end of my street at about 7.30pm, to be met by a very large elephant. Seriously, a large, grey elephant with a howdah on the top (this is a type of seat) and a red flashing light tied to its tail. It was the type of red light you see on the top of tall buildings, to warn planes that the building is there, or the type of light you see on a bicycle, that only comes on when the rider is pedalling furiously, to show motorists that there is a bicycle on the same road as them. I didn’t know whether to be angry or sad. Angry, because I don’t think its right to keep an animal in captivity this way (a big city must be a scary place for an elephant); angry, because tourists were lining up to feed the poor animal sugar cane and have their photo taken with it (why, why, why do you want a photo of yourself with a captive elephant); sad, because the elephant was moving very slowly and just didn’t look happy. Hey, I’m not an animal psychologist, nor I am an expert in elephant behaviour, but that poor old beast looked really down and did not seem to be enjoying itself. The authorities here have supposedly stamped this type of thing out, and elephants are technically banned from the city centre, but some people can clearly slip through the net. Its not often I get angry, but this raised my blood pressure a little.
So tell me. What makes your blood boil? What raises your blood pressure? What annoys you just a little bit or what makes you really, really angry? Grrrrrrrr.........
(image from www.thesituationist.files.wordpress.com)
Anyway, that's enough negative energy :-) Its late so time to turn in and hit the sack. I plan to get up nice and early and be in the gym by 7.30am. What do you think – can I make it?
Speak to you all tomorrow,
PS – thanks for all of the tips on how to improve listening skills. There was some great advice!
to get down – to be sad
furiously – here, quickly
captive – not free
down - unhappy
to stamp something out - to put an end to something
to slip through the net – to break the rules
raised my blood pressure – made me angry
makes your blood boil – makes you angry
annoy – irritate
posted on Monday, 26 May 2008 | comment on this post
Replies to readers
Hello Xuan and everyone,
How are you all doing this evening? I see that lots of comments have suddenly appeared on the blog. I think its because there has been a bank holiday in the UK and the BBC office was closed yesterday, so there was no-one to moderate the comments. So thank you to everyone who has posted a comment. Here are my replies to the posts from Sunday.
Hello Guzin! We are very happy to have you blogging with us and thank you for your long post. I hope that when I get to be 50, I am like you. I think it is great, the way you are using your retirement to learn new skills, like English, to travel, and to discover new things. You prove to us all that age is not a barrier to doing anything you want. Do you know the expression, ‘you’re only as old as you feel’. This means that if you think you are old, then you will probably feel old. If you think you are young, you will feel young and have lots of energy. I hope you don’t get discouraged too often. By the way, Steve (my husband) has visited Izmir and said he had a lovely time. He had a long trip to Turkey a few years ago. And we have a soft spot in our hearts for Turkey, as we got engaged in Istanbul at the top of Galata Tower (Steve proposed to me there at sunset in September 1999…) which you can see in the next shot.
(image from bp1.blogger.com/.../s400/galatatower.jpg)
Hello Concetta – I don’t think that we have ever blogged before, so hello and nice to meet you! You got the vocabulary definitions correct. Where in Italy do you live? Tell us a little bit more about yourself, when you have the time.
Hello Felicitas. Thank you so much for your long post. You would get on very well with my mum. She is also a believer in letter writing and she works very hard to keep this method of communication alive. Some people call letters ‘snail mail’, because nowadays it is a very slow method of communication. But, there is something really nice about receiving a letter. You can take it with you, you can read it again and again, it’s a tactile as well as a mental experience. It’s exciting to find a letter in your letterbox, don’t you think? Despite all this, I still find it difficult to find the time to actually sit down and write a letter. I like to send my family photos of the kids and try to buy nice picture greeting cards to send to them. Do you write your letters on paper, or on cards? Good luck with your conversation classes. It’s a good idea for your teacher to tell you the subject in advance – I think I might try this with one of my classes this week.
(image from i146.photobucket.com/.../snailmail.jpg)
Now, here is a question for everyone. It is true that the art of writing a letter is dying, as people use email more and more, and people don’t want to carry paper things around with them. What about books – do you think that paper books will ever be totally replaced by electronic books? How would you feel about this? I’ll tell you what I think tomorrow.
Hello Merce. You ask me an interesting question about the price of flats in Bangkok. Do you know the expression, ‘how long is a piece of string’? This means that there are many, many possible answers to your question. You could pay $100 per month or $10,000. And it’s hard to give you an average price, as it depends on a lot of factors: area of the town, type of accommodation, which floor you live on, if you live in a tall apartment block (higher floors are more expensive). What Steve and I feel, is that London is around 4 times more expensive that Bangkok. For example, we currently live right in the centre of town – for us to afford a similar flat in London, in an equivalent location, would cost us 4 times as much as it does here. This is a generalisation and only our opinion – others might disagree. For food, again you could pay less than $1 to eat noodles in a street-side food bar, or over $300 to eat a 3-course meal, with wine, in a top hotel. But this is one of the things I like about Bangkok – whatever your income, or lifestyle, there is a place for you. You can find your niche. Thai salaries are very low by western standards, but people have a much larger support network, as they live in extended families so all resources are shared. Here is something you might find interesting, and more accurate than my waffle! Mercer (this is a Human Resource Consulting group) have just produced an updated survey on the cost of living in different countries. I have attached a link here. http://www.mercer.com/costofliving If you read it, let me know what you think.
Hello Mahjabeen. You asked me about Thai food, which is one of my favourite topics. Tom Yum is not exactly like Chinese chicken corn soup. Tom Yum is a clear soup, made with stock, lemongrass, onions, galangal (ginger) and either vegetables, chicken or prawns. It is extremely tasty. If you add coconut milk to the soup, it becomes Tom Kha, which means soup with coconut. My favourite Thai food is chicken green curry, which is like a thick Tom Kha and is quite spicy. I could eat it until it comes out of my ears (do you know this expression – it means I could eat a lot of it). What foods do you like?
(image from www.orchid-catering.co.uk/.../prawn_soup.gif)
Hello Cris. Great to hear from you again. To be honest, I know lots of Thai people at work, but it is difficult to make really close Thai friends because I don’t speak the language. However, I am having lessons and will get there with time. Most friends we have here are either through work or parents of kids who go to Josh's school. From our travels, we have various friends dotted around the globe but our best friends, really, are those we have left behind in the UK. I have just joined a new mother and baby group, so I am hoping I can meet some more people through that. You are right about pouring a drink in the UK. When you start to pour someone a drink, you tell them to ‘say when’ which means ‘tell me when I have given you enough to drink’. When you have been given all that you want, you say ‘when’ to make the other person stop pouring. Why do we do this? That’s a good question – I don’t know.
Hello Manu. Thank you for finally plucking up the courage to write a post. Your course in translation and interpreting sounds really interesting. Why did you choose this line of study – do you plan to work as an interpreter? This makes me think of the film with Nicole Kidman, The Interpreter. Have you seen it? In the film, Nicole works at the UN headquarters in New York, and she unearths (this means discovers) a plot to assassinate a foreign head of state (I can’t remember who, exactly…). Please do keep blogging and tell us more about yourself.
Hello Habooba and good to hear from you again. How are you doing? You are right – where has Pary gone? We haven’t got the place by the lake yet, but we are working on it. Steve went to see another place today and I am looking at one tomorrow. Best Wishes to you.
Hello Maryam – your post made me smile, because my post on the day after you wrote your comment was all about me getting angry. So, to answer your question, I don’t often get angry but occasionally I do. What about you? Do you ever lose your cool (another way of saying ‘do you get angry’)?
Hello Maione. Well done for doing the vocabulary questions, which you guessed correctly. Thank you also for your good wishes for our house hunting.
Hello Filippo – did seeing Steve bring back memories of you playing with your dad? My dad was not good at cooking either. He could just about cook by following a recipe ‘to the letter’ (this means ‘exactly’, ‘without deviation’) but I think that the sign of a good cook is that you can take a recipe and adapt it. It might say ‘add 2 large onions’ but you might think that it is better to add ‘1 small onion and some garlic’ instead. A good cook is flexible, adaptable and creative, in my opinion. Generally, my dad was none of these things when it came to cooking (he would admit this – I am not being disloyal to my dad), but he did have some signature dishes that he made very, very well. Later in life he became a big fan of Indian cooking, and he could make a mean (i.e. a good) lamb curry. Now that I will never forget! Anyway, Fili, what do you think makes a good cook?
Talking of food, Maryam and Habooba, can you tell us about any typical food dishes from Iran? I am asking because I know nothing about Iranian food. And for everyone, can you tell us about any dishes / meals that you will never forget?
Hello Jeronimo14. I have to ask you, is this your real name? Is this what your friends call you? Ho ho, just teasing you. If it is a secret, then you don’t have to tell us. You asked me about apartment sizes. The apartment we currently live in is around 140m2. This includes all the balcony space. The apartment by the lake is 142m2, but the flat Steve saw today is 260m2!!!!! This is way too big for us. The average 2-bedroom flat here ranges in size from 75m2 to 150m2.
Hello Belgian Antonio in Romania. How is your trip going? When is the wedding? How come your friend is getting married in Romania? I feel that there is a story here that you need to tell us… Thank you for doing the vocabulary definitions and you got them right.
Hello Lalit – from where in India are you writing? Please keep reading the site and posting blogs. Tell us, what do you do for a living? Best wishes to you too.
Hello Vladimir – so, you reckon all is not lost with Rachel and Andrei. Your counsel (i.e. your advice) is, as always, very wise. My sisters and I used to fight like cat and dog when we were younger, but now we are all very close and great friends. I have 2 sisters, Louise and Alison. There are a lot of green spots in Bangkok. In fact, from where we live now we have access to 2 parks; Queen Sirikit park , which is another huge park like Lumpini Park with a large boating lake though not as nice, in my view) and a small enclosed garden called Chuvit Gardens. I love this place! It is a little oasis right in the middle of the city. It has a small jogging track round the outside, fountains in the middle, beautiful plants and is well-maintained by an army of gardeners. I often take the kids there at weekends, so they can meet up with their friends. The next picture shows the back of the park.
(Image from www.flickr.com)
Hello Muugii. Welcome to the blog and I hope to hear more from you. I am sorry that you broke up with your boyfriend but glad that you clearly have some happy memories from your trip. Please tell us more about life in Mongolia.
OK folks, that’s all for tonight. I have deliberately not given you any vocabulary definitions tonight, and I know that I have included some tricky words at times. If you would like to check the meaning / usage of any words with me, then you know where to find me….
posted on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 | comment on this post
Books rule !!!
Hello Xuan and everyone,
I am very, very relieved. There seem to be a lot of book supporters out there. Technology is all very well, but it cannot replace the physical sensation of holding a book or turning pages. It also seems like a lot of us feel more ‘comfortable’ with paper books than electronic books (these are Ernesto’s words here – thank you Ernesto, this is a good way to describe how many of us feel). I like the way Cris’s friend, Mary Ellen, has embraced technology by sending an email to say that a letter is on its ways – this is a nice touch.
I am trying to type, but the kids are making an absolute racket (i.e. they are making a lot of noise). I cannot blame them. Steve has decided that it is time to teach them both how to rugby tackle. So they are running up and down the corridor, jumping on Steve, screaming and yelling with joy, and Steve is encouraging them. I cannot shout at them, or Steve, as I have a very sore throat. My voice has gone (this means, I can't speak at all). My boss might say it’s because I talk too much, but in fact I have caught a bad cough and cold from Steve (you see, I am blaming him for this as well…) At least I can still talk through the computer, so technology is good for some things, ho ho.
Xuan, I really enjoyed your post. So, you have a handsome American teacher who speaks too fast and who has invited your whole class out for coffee. I really think you need to tell him to slow down. Perhaps he doesn’t know that he speaks too quickly. Where will your class take him for coffee? I remember that there are some great coffee shops in Hanoi. I have not heard of the organisation Language Link, so I will look it up on the web.
You asked me about bank holidays. I think (but I am not 100% certain) that originally, these were days when the banks in England were closed. Nowadays, these have become public holidays for all companies, not just bank employees. You also asked me about Vietnamese food, which I love. When I was in Vietnam I ate a lot of Pho - you have 2 days left to write a post and tell everyone what this is. In Bangkok, there is a Vietnamese restaurant called Thang Long that Steve and I go to a lot. Does the name mean anything? We always order spring rolls, deep fried crab rolls, fish with lemongrass and barbecued beef. We are creatures of habit (this means we always do the same thing, we always order the same food ever time we go there).
Ok everyone, since my last post some more comments to my previous blog have appeared, so here are some more replies to all of the bloggers. Please let me say how much I appreciate the time you spend replying to my posts and I am sorry if I don’t always manage to reply to everyone every time. I do read all of your comments, as do the other readers and teacher bloggers, so please do not think that what you write goes un-noticed.
Hello Concetta –I am glad that you have lost your shyness with us. Please do it again sometime! And how wonderful that you have been to Newcastle. I presume you mean Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK (and not Newcastle in Australia). This is my home town!!!!!!! I am going to send Steve out to buy The Caliph’s House for me. Thank you for your recommendation. Please blog again and tell us (1) how is your ankle now and how you broke it (2) more about your daughters and (3) what is your favourite meal of all time. Lovely to meet you and best wishes to you and your family.
If there is anyone else shy out there, please follow Concetta’s example and send us a comment. The more people we have blogging, the more conversations we can have and the better we can all get to know each other.
Hello Fatima – I was very concerned by your comment. Have I really ignored you? I have just been back through all the comments and have found a post by you on 17 May, but not later than this. Here you asked me what the expression ‘having a go’ means. This means to try something, or to attempt something. Look at the following 2 conversations
Judy: What are you doing?
Mark: I’m feeding the baby dog. Would you like to have a go? (this means, would you like to feed the puppy as well?)
Tim: Hey, this computer game is excellent!
John: Yeah, it looks great.
Tim: Would you like to have a go? (this means would you like to join in too?)
John: Great, thanks!
Hello Habooba – thanks for all of your good wishes. I have really enjoyed chatting with you in cyberspace. I have wanted to visit your country for a long time. When I first travelled to India (11 years ago) I met a French couple who had just been to Iran. They told me wonderful stories about beautiful mosques, great food and very very friendly people. I hope that one day I will be able to visit Iran with my family. Best Wishes to you.
Hello Danijel. Is it too nosey or impolite to ask why you are in Bosnia and your girlfriend is in Cape Town? Love letters must be the best letters of all to receive. And you have made me want to watch Farenheit 451! Best Wishes to you.
Hi Beatriz – let me teach you a new expression. It never rains, but it pours. Let you give you an example of what this means. You are waiting for a bus. The bus it late. It gets later and later. Then suddenly, 3 buses come at once. So there were no buses (it never rains…) and then there were 3 all at once (…but it pours). This is what is happening with our flat hunting. All of a sudden, we have found 3 flats that we like and we don’t know which one to choose. Best wishes to you.
Hello Kuldeep – you description of Steve as a ‘stout reader’ made me laugh. Stout means ‘large’ or 'fat'. I think you meant ‘avid reader’ i.e. someone who reads a lot. I can tell you, Steve is never without a book and generally has 3 books on the go (this means he is reading 3 books at the same time). Do you have any books on the go right now? I like your ideas about learning English – I might try Chinese whispers with my students next week. Best Wishes.
Hello Pary – you are back! And with a comprehensive listing of websites for Persian food. I love eggplant, so I think I would really enjoy Mirza Ghasemi. Fesenjon stew also sounds very intriguing – I can’t imagine what chicken, pomegranate and walnut taste like altogether but I bet it is amazing, a great combination of different tastes and textures. Thanks for taking the time to provide all of the links. Best Wishes to you.
Finally, here is a puzzle for you. I am intrigued, and I hope you are too, about who will be the next teacher and student bloggers? What do you think? Post your replies before Saturday. Will the next teacher and student blogger be a guy or a gal (i.e male or female) , and which countries do you think they are they from? (By the way, I really honestly truely don’t know…..) I’ll tell you what I think on Saturday (my last blog...) and then we can see if we are right next week.
OK, I am going to sign off and drink more green tea. I have been drinking green tea all day to help my throat. I have to thank Sam, my workmate, for this tip.
Night night all
posted on Thursday, 29 May 2008 | comment on this post
From BBC Learning English
Doesn't time fly? It's the end of May already, and that means we are about to say goodbye to Anne. Well, not just yet: there is still tomorrow!
Thank you for your very interesting postings Anne - it's great to know you enjoyed blogging as much as we all enjoyed reading your blogs, admiring the pictures and learning a bit about Thailand. And good luck for the new flat!
From !st June we have a new teacher blogger, Sophie Handy. Welcome Sophie!
posted on Friday, 30 May 2008 | comment on this post
Goodbye and good luck from Anne
Dear Xuan and everyone,
Thanks for all of your messages and good wishes. I am feeling much better. This is mostly because I have been to see a top notch, expert, highly skilled local doctor. Here is a photo of him. I admit that he does look a bit young (and curiously, a little bit like my son Josh…) but he has a lot of equipment. After several injections, my throat was miraculously healed.
I hope you have time to write a quick blog to us all today, Xuan. You seem to have had a very busy month with all of your exams, and it was nice to chat with you when you had the time. I enjoyed hearing about your grandparents, your visits to the country and your school reunion. And you showed us some beautiful picture of flowers, countryside and your friends. I wish you all the best for the future and your English studies. If you can’t blog today, please log in through the comments page and let us know how you are doing.
Well, the BBC have announced the next teacher and student bloggers, so it is time for me to say goodbye. I have really, really enjoyed blogging with everyone and thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, make comments and ask questions. The blog would not be half as good without all the readers, so thank you for all of your efforts. Best wishes to you all for the future and KEEP BLOGGING! Here are a few replies to everyone who posted a comment on my last blog.
Hello Pary – I have told Steve that I need to take a month off work to visit Iran. He said ‘no problem, but what about your boss’? Hmmmmm. I’ll have to work on that one. Please keep blogging when you can and best wishes to you and your family.
Hello Lalya – hello and welcome to the blog. Technically, taking a bath and taking a shower are 2 different things (because a bath and a shower are not the same). But, they both mean ‘to get clean’ or ‘to have a wash’. So if you say ‘I’m going to take a bath’ when in fact you are having a shower, it’s not the end of the world.
Hello Silwal Kishor – thanks for all of your blogs and news from Nepal. I hope that Steve and I will be able to revisit your country one day and show the kids some of the beautiful scenery you have there. Best wishes to you and your family.
Hello Vladimir – I think the best season for visiting Thailand for Europeans in from November to February. This is when it is not too hot, and you can do lots of outdoor activities. But each season has a good side – the monsoon rains in July are fabulous (and it doesn’t rain all day, just in the mornings and evenings). Thank you for all of your posts and comments, and best wishes to you and your son.
Hello Ernesto – the tips about the honey was good. Thankfully, the kids are fine and so far have not caught anything. I think a glass of good, Chilean red wine will also help once I feel 100% recovered. I have enjoyed chatting with you in cyberspace and all the best for the future.
Hi Hyoshil – I hope you have a great half term with your family. I have enjoyed chatting with you as well. Have you chosen your new paint yet? I hope the redecorating goes well and all the best to you and your family.
Hello Maione – thank you for your post. I have also enjoyed chatting with you and I hope you will continue to log in and keep blogging. Best Wishes.
Hello Carme – hmm, I guess teaching English is sometimes difficult, as is any job, but it is made interesting and varied by such wonderful students as we have here on the blog. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all of us in a room together – I bet we’d have a great time. Keep blogging and best wishes.
Hello Guzin – well done for noticing you didn’t sign your name, I was trying to work out who it could be. You are right, I think this website can get addictive – I will certainly keep logging on once I stop writing. All the best.
Hello Lucia – please do keep trying to use everything you read on the blog. Conversation and chatting is a great way to improve your English. Best wishes to you.
Hello Concetta – thank you for telling us about your favourite meal. I wonder where Steve and I will spend our 25th wedding anniversary (18 years away…) You seem to have a very artistic family. Best Wishes to you all for your English studies and the future in general.
Dear Cris – we were both wrong! I also through the next teacher blogger might be a guy, but ‘Sophie’ is very much a female name. Thank you for being such a wonderful student and I hope that we can say we have become good friends as well. I will miss you, Xuan and all of the bloggers very much. But, as you said when you closed your post last month, what a wonderful experience for everyone this blog is and it is great that we all have the opportunity to meet and chat together. Best Wishes to you, Oscar and all of your family for the future. Bye for now…
Hello Ana Paul – how is your throat? Did the green tea work? I hope you are feeling better. You have such a healthy lifestyle, that I think you should be better in no time. Best wishes to you and your family, keep doing aerobics and eating apples, and keep blogging!
Hello Kuldeep – you have asked me a very big question (and very interesting!) about the differences between British English and Indian English. I cannot possibly answer this properly in a few sentences, but from living in India, I did notice that there were a lot of differences in vocabulary. But this is just one example. I hope this link is helpful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_English Thank you for all of your posts. You always make a big effort to write and it is very much appreciated. Best wishes to you and your family for the future.
Hello Valeriy – I echo your advice. Read as often as you can and chat as much as possible!!! I think I probably write like I speak – quite quickly with the occasional blunder. Please keep blogging and chatting to us all and best wishes.
Hello Alied. Aaah – another interesting question just as I am about to leave! You asked me what the difference between yet and but is. They can both be used as a connector, to mean ‘nevertheless’ e.g.
- She is strange yet kind // She is strange but kind
The word ‘yet’ does have other used though. For example, it can mean ‘up to now’
- I would like to go to China, but I haven’t been there yet (i.e. I have not visited before now)
Thank you for your question and all the best.
Hello Madhav Paudel – I am sorry if I have not given a personal reply to you before. Please accept my apologies, as I do try to reply to everyone. You might be a latecomer for me, but please make the most of being a ‘newcomer’ or ‘early arrival’ for the incoming teacher blogger. Best wishes to you.
Hello Leila – thank you for your final message. I admire you for being so active. I hope that I am like you when I am 58! I really believe that being active is good for us. You know the expression, ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ :-) I am sure that you will keep blogging and best wishes for the future, to you and your family.
Hello Monika – I hope some of the words and phrases you have learnt on the blog have been useful to you in real life. And thanks for the tip about milk and honey. It sounds too good to be medicine! Best wishes to you.
Hello Adek – please feel no pressure to write lots of comments. It has been great to chat to you from time to time and thank you for your message. All the best for the future.
Hello Silvana – it has also been a pleasure for me to chat to everyone on this blog. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s stories, comments and most of all just getting to know people. Please keep blogging and best wishes to you too.
OK folks – that’s it. Here is a final shot of me at my desk, signing off to everyone.
Lots of love and best wishes from,
Anne, as well as Steve, Josh and Rachel
posted on Saturday, 31 May 2008 | comment on this post