Yes, 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.
As 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 !
You 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.
So you ‘ve heard of the Statue of Liberty ! But do you know who gave it to the Americans ? Of course, you do. It was the French !
But do you know when ? 1886, 1906 or 1916 ?
And how many people visit it each year ? 2 million, 4 million or 6 million ?
Click here and discover a website that explains 50 fantastic facts about the Statue of Liberty.
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 http://www.femalebuilders.co.uk 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.
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
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.