crosswordYes, English people love to talk about the weather.

And as you know, we have a lot of rain and a lot of words for rain. As they say in my village :

“When you look out of your window and you can see the big tree in the middle of the field, that means it’s going to rain.”

“And if you can’t se the tree, it means it’s already raining.”

  • It’s raining
  • It’s spitting
  • There’s a little drizzle
  • It’s pouring out of the heavens
  • It’s a cloudburst
  • It’s raining cats and dogs !

Try this crossword to check your weather vocabulary.

The Kiss 1901-4 by Auguste Rodin 1840-1917As February is the month of St. Valentine’s day, we couldn’t forget a post about kissing.

Rodin sculpted his masterpiece ‘The Kiss’ in 1889.

The kiss of life is when you help someone who has stopped breathing, and it is sometimes called mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

American teenagers sometimes write S.W.A.L.K. on the back of their love letters: “Sealed With A Loving Kiss”.

And did you know that the Ancient Romans had 3 words for kisses:

  • ‘basium’ – a kiss for acquaintances
  • ‘osculum’ – a kiss between close friends
  • ‘suavium’ – a kiss between lovers

Finally, Coco Chanel was once asked a simple question:

“Where should one use perfume?” a young woman asked.

“Wherever one wants to be kissed.” replied Coco !

Laurel_&_Hardy_in_Flying_Deuces_1_edited Abbott_and_Costello_circa_1940sYou probably know the names Laurel and Hardy. They were very famous from the 1920s to the 1940s.

After this remarkable duo, another pair of comics became celebrities: Abbott and Costello. They were famous in the 40s and 50s.

In this particular sketch, Abbott owes his landlord 7 weeks’ rent and at $13 a week, the landlord wants $91. However, with Abbott’s maths (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) he calculates $28 only.


David's joke

David’s joke

One dark night outside a small town, a fire started inside the local chemical factory and exploded into flames.  The alarm went out to the volunteer fire departments in the nearby towns.

When the first firefighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fire chief and said, “All of our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department that puts the fire out.”

The fire chief ordered his men to attack the fire but after two hours of fighting the fire, nothing had changed. The fire was getting bigger and bigger. Another fire department arrived and the president of the chemical company offered $100,000 to the firefighters who could put out the fire. After another hours, the fire was still burning, and it seemed even bigger.

Suddenly, in the distance, they saw an old fire truck rushing towards the fire. It was another local volunteer fire company composed entirely of men over the age of 65. To everyone’s amazement, the little fire engine raced passed everyone and drove straight into the middle of the inferno. Outside, the other firemen watched as the old men jumped out of their truck and began to fight the fire like heroes, jumping up and down on the flames. In a short time, the old men had extinguished the fire and saved the secret formulas.

The chemical company president announced that for such a fantastic job, he was increasing the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each of the brave, old fire fighters.

The local TV news reporters rushed to speak to the old men and asked, “What are you going to do with all that money?”

“Well,” said the 70-year-old fire chief, “the first thing we are going to do …  is buy some new brakes for our truck.”

Stop being sexist ! Yes, some men can cook and many women are happy doing DIY (decorating, repairs and modernising homes).

During my last trip to the UK, I saw a van that advertised a women’s building firm. If you thought the FBI was an American secret servie, check out and see how “craftsmen” are becoming “craftswomen” on the Female Builders and Interiors website.

Just before you do that, try this short activity to see if you know this helpful vocabulary.

vocab - tools


The magic roundabout

The magic roundabout

You can find roundabouts in most countries. It’s a simple way to allow traffic from different roads to move into other roads.

Back in 1972, the British Road Transport Department created an experimental “multi-mini” roundabout, which consisted of 5 mini roundabouts connected together. They say that anybody who survives this roundabout deserves a medal. Here is is.


Click here for the Swindon Magic Roundabout page !

Horrible Histories is a BBC TV show for children based on a series of books. It describes historical facts and includes all the ‘unpleasant’ parts of the stories so that children find it interesting.

The TV show was a great success because it was funny and interesting. Children and adults loved it. It covered many different historical periods and gave them names such as:

  • The Savage Stone Age
  • The Groovy Greeks
  • The Rotten Romans
  • The Vicious Vikings
  • The Stormin’ Normans
  • The Measly Middle Ages
  • The Terrible Tudors
  • The Vile Victorians
  • The Frightful First World War
  • The Woeful Second World War

Here is the scene about William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda. They were married for 30 years and had 11 children, but their romance had a difficult start.


English children (and adults) have a technique to remember the colours of the rainbow. They memorize the sentence:

“Richard of York gained battles in vain.”

  • Richard – Red
  • Of – Orange
  • York – Yellow
  • Gained – Green
  • Battles – Blue
  • In – Indigo
  • Vain – Violet

Easy, isn’t it?

The fab four

The fab four

In March 1957, John Lennon was sixteen and formed a group with some friends from Quarry Bank school. (A ‘quarry’ is a place where you extract large rocks and stones for construction). They first called themselves the Blackjacks but then changed their name to the Quarrymen. In July of that year, fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney joined as a rhythm guitarist. In February 1958, McCartney invited his friend George Harrison to watch the band and George, who was fourteen at the time, auditioned for Lennon. Lennon liked George’s playing but initially thought that he was too young to join the group. However, they finally enlisted him as their lead guitarist. By January 1959, Lennon’s Quarry Bank friends had left the group, and he began studies at the Liverpool College of Art. The band was now a group of three guitarists and they played under the name of Johnny and the Moondogs. They played rock and roll whenever they could find a drummer, and when Lennon’s art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe, joined the group in January 1960 as a bass guitarist, it was he who suggested changing the band’s name to Beatals, as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. In May, they became the Silver Beetles and in early July, they were the Silver Beatles.

Finally, in August, they were officially the Beatles.

Clich here to visit the fantastic Beatles site.