It's a lovely day for sailing, so Rob and Li decide to take an excursion on a boat. On the water, not only does Rob need to learn about idioms related to sailing, but also how to sail a boat!
The script for this programme
Rob: Hello. I'm Rob. And this is Li!
Rob: The weather is so great today we're outside on the sea, sailing in this beautiful boat. What do you think Li?
Li: Impressive. Rob, I didn't know you had a sailing boat – in fact I didn't know you could sail a boat!
Rob: Don't worry Li, I know what I'm doing.
Li: Mind that rock!
Rob: Whoa…it's ok Li. I’m in control – just keep your hand on that rope. We've got the wind in our sails, the sea is calm – we can just easily sail around this island and be home in time for tea.
Li: Oh right. I thought our excursion was going to be trouble free – or plain sailing.
Rob: What? Plain sailing? We're not sailing any planes Li.
Li: No Rob. Plain sailing. It's an expression used to describe an activity that goes well or smoothly and is easy and uncomplicated.
Rob: Yes of course – this sailing is going well and is actually quite easy – so you're right – this is plain sailing. But can we only use the phrase to describe sailing boats?
Li: No. Although it was originally a sailing term, it can really refer to any activity. Listen to these examples:
- Driving through the city was difficult but once we were on the motorway it was plain sailing all the way.
- Once we found some office space and recruited staff, setting up our business was plain sailing.
Li: So plain sailing means things are going well. I have to admit Rob, your sailing skills are very good and …oh watch out for that big wave!
Rob: Whoa...ouch! I've hit my head on the boom. Oh no, we're heading for the rocks again…hold the rope Li, quick!
Li: I've changed my mind Rob, this isn't plain sailing anymore! That's taken the wind out of your sails Rob.
Rob: Err, it's still windy Li. Look at the sails.
Li: No Rob. That's another sailing idiom – to take the wind out of your sails is an expression that means your boasting and arrogance has been challenged. Let's hear some other people using this expression:
- I was all ready for a big argument but when he bought me some flowers it took the wind out of my sails.
- The negative feedback from my boss has really taken the wind out of my sails.
Rob: Hmm, Li you've certainly taught me a lot about sailing today – there are some really good expressions – but one thing you haven't taught me is how to sail this boat.
Li: You said you knew how to sail it.
Rob: Well when I said I had been sailing several times I had….but I meant on a ferry….as a passenger.
Li: Oh. Watch out!
Rob: That was close. I've a feeling this really isn't going to be plain sailing after all.
Li: Too right! Bye bye.
Rob: Bye. Now Li could you just hold that rope there please.