Showing posts from 2009

Auld Lang Syne

This is the song we sing in Scotland on important occasions such as New Year.

It was written by the National Poet - Rabbie Burns.

and this is a newer version.

Which do you prefer?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne


auld lang syne - times gone by
be - pay for
braes - hills

The Prince and the Paupers

Watch this CBS News report on Prince William sleeping rough.

Prince William sleeps rough for homeless charity

Prince William has spent a night sleepingrough in an event organised by a charity for the homeless.

William slept in a sleeping bag near Blackfriars Bridge in central London last week, as part of his role as a patron of the Centrepoint organisation.

He said he could not "even begin to imagine what it must be like to sleep rough night after night".

Clarence House said a "small element of security" had remained with the prince during the night.

Prince William said the experience had deepened his understanding of homelessness.

"Poverty, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency and family breakdown cause people to become and then stay homeless," he said.

"Centrepoint's work - along with many other organisations' - in tackling these fundamental causes is desperately important if we are ever to end homelessness in this country."


Vive la Carla!

Carla Bruni gives tramp 100 euros

The French first lady, who lives in the chic 16th arrondissement when not at the Elysée palace, struck upconversation with Denis, 53, after passing him every day on her school run with her son, Aurélien, eight.

"She asks after me, she gives me one or two 50 or 100 euro notes. We talk about music," he told the magazine Closer, who tracked down Denis after Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy mentioned him in an interview she gave to Macadam – a magazine sold by the homeless.

She told Macadam: "Over time we've built up a friendly relationship. I stop sometimes to greet him and very soon we talk about books and music."

The 41-year-old model-turned-singer even handed him a signed CD of her latest album, and even offered him to sing in her next one.

"My friends from the street told me that as (the CD) has got her signature, it's worth a lot of money. I couldn't care less, I prefer to keep it; having said that I lent it to someone two mont…

I just want to get home for Xmas

Snow and ice delay Christmas getaway

Snow and ice continues to cause travel chaos in large parts of the UK, a day after thousands of motorists were stranded by wintry conditions.

Flights from Luton, Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are still disrupted.

Eurostar resumed a limited service on Tuesday, after being closed for three days due to extreme weather in France.

The freezing conditions are affecting parts of England and Wales, with the south east and London worst affected.

BBC forecaster Chris Fawkes said ice was the major problem, and there would be more snow in northern Scotland and north-west England during the day.

He said Aberdeen might have a white Christmas but the rest of the UK could expect dry conditions.

Christmas service

Roads in south-east England were brought to astandstill on Monday, forcing thousands to spend the night in their cars or emergency rest centres.

Many flights were also suspended, with people stranded at airports or unable to reach the te…

Time to give up smoking

Minister confirms Spain to implement extended smoking ban next year

Restaurant terraces and bull rings will escape the harsher measures

The Health Minister has confirmed that Spain is to introduce an extended smoking ban next year, when, from an as yet to be confirmed date, ‘No Smoking’ signs will be seen in all closed public places. The legislation which has been in place since 2006 currently permits the smaller bars and restaurants to choose whether to allow smoking on the premises or not; if they do allow it, they must provide a separate closed-off area for smokers.

That option will no longer exist once the changes are brought in, but Minister Trinidad Jiménez has confirmed however that the stricter measures will not extend to open air premises, such as restaurant terraces and bull rings, where smoking will still be permitted.

Europa Press reports that the Minister said in a radio interview with Rac1 on Monday that the government’s decision is fundamentally based on protecting healt…

Pres Perfect/Pres.Perf.Continuous v Past

Are the following sentences right or wrong? Correct the ones that are wrong.

How long are you living here in Madrid?He's been playing tennis from when he was a child.We know each other since we were at university.I have been in New York.When did you be to London?I haven't never seen "Gone with the Wind".I have been liking dancing since I met my girlfriend.I have worked there from March to October.Where have you met your wife?We are best friends since then.She's been talking on the phone since at least an hour.Have you ever forgot something really important?How long do you have your present car?I didn't hear from her for ages.They have been married last July.We've been studying during two hours.I am interested in cars all my life.They have started work since this morning.When did you last spoke English?We've driven around France 5 years ago.He's bought a new car.

Catalonia shows the way

Barcelona considers bullfighting ban
On theoutskirtsof Barcelona, a group of boys trains every week to join one of Spain's most celebrated professions.
For three hours the would-be matadors twist and turn on a stripof land, waving bright pink and red capes before them. Their moves are smooth and graceful, like dancers.
But the trainee toreros fear the days of bullfighting in Barcelona could be numbered.
The corrida, or bullfight, has long been a part of Spanish life. But this week the Catalan parliament in Barcelona will consider a proposal to ban it, becoming the first region in of Spain to do so.
Campaigners collected 180,000 signatures of support for their proposal to parliament. It asks deputies to include the bull in existing animal protection legislation.
It also recommends compensation for those currently working in the industry, including breeders of the bulls. They are cautiously optimistic that a majority of members of parliament will support them.
"Bullfighting is …

Holidays in sight

I'm really looking forward to escaping from Madrid for the holidays. I didn't go home for Christmas last year and I won't be home for Christmas Day this year either. I won't get home until Boxing Day (26th Dec). My parents have put off* Christmas lunch until 24 hours later. So hopefully, problem free travel permitting, I will arrive just in time for the turkey.

I would love to go sooner but I don't finish classes until the 22nd and the 23rd is ridiculously expensive. I can't afford it.

I am going to spend most of my time with my parents. I hardly ever see them and I feel like being with them.

It'll be cold and dark so I guess I'll be spending most of my time indoors.

I haven't beenhome for New Yearfor 11 years. I was in London for the Millenium and have been eatinggrapes ever since then. This year I will be having a quiet night in with Mam and Dad.

I am fed up of partying. It's always the same and I need a change.

I am really looking forward to

Pet Shop Boys - Always on My Mind

I was surprised the other day when a student claimed never to have heard of this song.

This popular version is from the 80s but it was originally sung by The King (Elvis Presley - he was before my time too lol!).

Which version do you prefer?

Listen to the song and complete the lyrics.

Maybe I didn't treat you

Quite as good as I should have

Maybe I didn't love you

Quite as often as I could have

Little things I should have said and done

I just never took the time*

You were always on my mind*

You were always on my mind

Maybe I didn't hold you

All those lonely, lonely times

And I guess I never told you

I'm so happy that you're mine

If I made you feel second best

Girl I'm so sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind

You were always on my mind


You were always on my mind* means I was always thinking about you and I was concerned about you.

You look worried. What's on your mind?
He's not normally so forgetful. Maybe, he's got a lot on his mind.

Make up…

Confusing words review

Go to Labels and review the confusing words. Then look at the following sentences and decide if they are right or wrong. Correct them if they are wrong.
He hasn't attended the last two meetings.I am in my second year of my law career at university.My doctor made me some proofs.A: Can I try it on? B: Yes, the changing rooms are over there.Let's go to the shadow. It's too hot in the sun.Where's he living actually?A: Do you care if I open the window? B: Not at all.A: I think I'm getting constipated. B: You should take some aspirin and lots of vitamin C.The party was funny. I met a lot of nice people.I fell asleep so I don't know what happened in the end.I think it's just a topic. I know many Catalans and they aren't mean at all.He's going on a travel to Germany next week.She's worked in the shop for many years and knows many customers by their first names.I'm really tired and I don't want to discuss with you.The new opera house is really imp…

Int - module 2 Right or wrong

Are the following sentences right or wrong? Correct them if needed.

I worked in Barcelona when I met her.What were you doing this time last week?I went to the supermarket yesterday but I didn't buy much.I used to be frightened of the dark when I was a little boy.I never use to like vegetables but I don't mind them now.I listen classical music when I need to relax.You remember me of my brother. You have the same laugh.We will lose the plane if you don't hurry up.A. Where did you use to go on holiday as a child? B. to my parents' home in the country. We still go there sometimes.I recognise the handwriting. Is it yours?Why do I always get the blame for things that go wrong?My parents were buying me a car when I was 21.

Int - module 2 vocab

Complete the following sentences with a word in the correct form.
Most women agree that George Clooney is g....... I b..... i... an old friend while I was walking to work this morning.My car is at the garage. Can you g... me a l... home tonight?I won a p.... for swimming when I was at school.The children usually behave well but they were really n...... today.I sometimes s....... to understand my teacher's explanations.Can you r..... me to post the letter tomorrow?Colin b...... some of the younger children because he knows they are afraid of him.Sara is really b..... She has passed all her exams with top marks.I like a film with a good p... and a surprising ending.I used to collect stamps in my c....... I don't collect anything now.There is no rule. You just have to learn the expressions by h....

Bye bye to Barcelona?

Catalonia votes on independence from Spain
This weekend, 700,000 people in Catalonia are eligible to vote in the region's first ever referendum on independence from Spain.

Organised by activists and volunteers, the vote is not officially binding but it is taking place at a tense time in relations with Madrid.

Supporters hope it is the first step towards a formal ballot for a separate state.

Deep in the nationalist heartland of Catalonia, campaigners have been drumming upsupport for the vote.

In the medieval town of Vic, hundreds of residents have already cast an early ballot at a tent in a corner of the main square.

Many say the autonomy Catalonia already has is not enough, and they are voting "Yes" to independence.

"More and more people think we have no room in the Spanish house, so we need a house of our own," organiser Alfons Lopez Tema says.

"[The Spanish] don't want us, they don't love us, they don't give us what we want. So the best thin…

Stand by me - John Lennon

Do you prefer this version or the original one by Ben E. King?

Source: You Tube (severin109) Key Words: Lennon stand by me

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won't be afraid
No I won't be afraid
Just as long as* you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No I won't sheda tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Oh, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darling, darling stand by me
Stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

*Spotlight on vocabulary:

as/so long asis used to say that something must happen before something else can happen
I can come as long as

Scandal hits golf

Tiger Woods to take 'indefinite leave' from golf

Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite break from professional golf to tackleproblems in his private life.

In a statement on his website, he said he was aware of the disappointment "my infidelity" had caused to his family.

The world's top golfer said he wanted to "try to repair the damage done" and asked for privacy.

Woods' biggest sponsor, Nike, said it would continue to stand by*him, but his agent said it was too early to discuss the impact on any other businessdeals.

On his website, Woods said he was "profoundly sorry" and asked for forgiveness.

"I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding," the 33-year-old said.

"What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safehaven we will need for personal healing.

"After much soul se…

Get/have it done

Look at the Grammar section on the left-hand side of this page. There you will find lots of exercises to practice different tenses and constructions.

There you will find the construction "get/have something done". In the first part you will have the opportunity to listen to a lesson using the construction as well as practice it.

This has been taken from the BBC Grammar Challenge page. Look at the list pf previous challenges which feature:
so and suchpresent perfect/past simpleed/ing adjectivesquestion tagsetcIn the second part you have a further opportunity to practice this construction.
Here are some more examples of get/have stg done from a previous post.

Home comforts

More young adults in 20s and 30s living with parents than in past 20 years

The meals are hot, the fridge is always full and the rent is free. So is it any surprise that more twenty- and thirtysomethings in Britain are living at home with their parents than at any time in the past 20 years?

The Office for National Statistics says many young adults in their mid-20s and early 30s, and especially men, are increasingly postponing the transition to adulthood.

One in three "adult-kids" who have not left the parental nest say they are still living at home because they cannot afford to get a toehold on the property ladder by buying or renting. But others, who have been dubbed kippers – kids in parents' pockets – are, say the demographers, staying through choice.

In the past, British children have tended to leave home earlier than their European cousins but the latest ONS figures, published today, show that 25% of men aged 25 to 29 now live with their parents. This is almost doubl…

Up Int - module 2 vocab

Complete the following sentences with a word in the correct form. All are taken from module 2.
I thought it was a d............ film. It had great reviews but I wasn't so impressed.I try to e........ my students to study as much as they can and d......... them from speaking Spanish in class.Calm down, p... yourself t....... and tell me what's happened.Drinking coffee after 6 will k... you a.... at night.Bill Gates is one of the w......... men in the world.He is d........ to find a better job. He has sent his CV to hundreds of companies and is trying to improve his language and computing skills.He was given a l... s....... for the horrendous crimes he committed.How do you c... with the stress? Do you have time to relax?I think he is o...-c........ He thinks he will pass the interview without any problems but I am not so sure.I find it really a....... when people don't call to tell you that they are arriving late.I was h....... at maths at school but I was quite good at scien…

Confusing words - support

A. ¿Te gusta tu jefe? B. No lo soporto.

A. Do you like your boss? B. I don't support him. WRONG
A. Do you like your boss? B. I can't stand him. RIGHT (= I hate him)

No soporto este calor. / I can't stand this heat. (= hate/tolerate)

No puedo con la hipocresía. / I can't stand hypocrisy.

No sé cómo soportas la situación. / I don't know how you put up with the situation. (= tolerate)
I don't know how you support the situation. WRONG

He aguantado/soportado esto demasiado tiempo. / I have put up with this for too long.

No aguanto la mala educación / I can't bear rudeness/bad manners.

No podía aguantarlo más / I couldn't bear it any longer.

I can't stand people who don't consider others. The world would be a better place if people thought how their everyday behaviour affects others.

I can't bearmeanness. I understand people have to be careful with money but stingy people, especially those who can afford to spend money, are intolerable.

I have had…

Saint Andrew's Day

Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November.

St. Andrew was one of the Twelve Apostles and brother of Simon Peter (Saint Peter). He was a fisherman by trade, who lived in Galilee.St. Andrew is believed to have died on a diagonally transversed cross, which the Romans sometimes used for executions. The cross St. Andrew was crucified on has been adopted as the national flag of Scotland, later incorporated into the Union Flag. The blue stands for the sky.


Around midnight on Nov. 29, the day before St Andrew's Day, it was traditional for girls to pray to St. Andrew for a husband. They would make a wish and look for a sign that they had been heard.A girl wishing to marry could:Throw a shoe at a door. If the toe of the shoe pointed in the direction of the exit, then she would marry and leave her parents' house within a year.
Peel a whole apple without breaking the peel and throw the peel o…

The Classic

Barcelona 1-0 Real Madrid

Barcelona's £60m striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench to score the only goal of a fiercely contested El Clasico against Real Madrid and move the champions back to the top of the league.

Barca, who started the game a point behind their arch rivals, had to play with 10 men for nearly 30 minutes after Sergio Busquets was shown a second yellow card.

But by that time they had a lead courtesy of Ibrahimovic's brilliantly-struck left-foot volley from Dani Alves' right-wing cross - the Swede netting just minutes after coming on for Thierry Henry.

Real created the better of the chances in the Camp Nou, but paid for their wastefulness, with substitute Karim Benzema most culpable as he ballooned haplessly over with only five minutes left.

Barca captain Carles Puyol twice crucially denied Marcelo with last-ditch blocks as the Brazilian prepared to shoot and, despite a fraught last few minutes, Barca held on for victory.

Real ended the game with 10 me…

fun v funny

What's the difference between fun and funny?

If something is funny, it makes you laugh.
I never miss an episode of "Family Guy", I think it's really funny.You should see a funny film if you are feeling sad.I don't find his jokes funny.My brother-in-law is so funny. (He tells jokes and says things which make me laugh) but
The match last night was funny. WRONGMadrid is a funny city. WRONG In the above two examples we should use fun as sporting events and cities don't make us laugh.
Funny has another sense too. It can mean strange or unusual too.
What's that funny smell?The milk tastes funny, doesn't it?There is something funny about him. I wouldn't trust him. If something is fun, it is entertaining or enjoyable. You like it. If someone is fun, they are good company.
Let's invite David to the party. He's goodfun.As well as learning lots of new things, our teacher's lessons are fun.I had a lot offun last weekend. Let's go out again soon.Fun

in the end v at the end

In the end usually means finally. It is often used after a sequence of events.
We thought about going to the Seychelles for our honeymoon. I quite liked the idea of going to Cancun but in the end we decided on Paris.They tried to make their relationship work but in the end they split up.At the end is usually followed by an expression of time or space.
Our teacher wrote the homework on the board at the endof the lesson.The museum is at the endof this street.At the end of the day it's just a game of football. It isn't worth getting upset about.It's the same difference between in the beginning and at the beginning.
In the beginning everyone was happy with the arrangement but then.......I get paid at the beginningof the month.

Soap operas

What do you watch on TV? In the UK, soap operas are very popular. Read and listen to a text about themhere.

The text is taken from theBBC Learning Englishsite. It contains many interesting stories which you can read and listen to. You should explore the site.

It even has its own soap opera calledThe Flatmates. It has been created to help English language learners and there is a weekly episode, which you can now watch on You Tube.

What kind of programmes are popular in Spain? Which ones do you usually watch? What programme would you never miss? What's it about and why do you enjoy it?

Int - module 1 Vocab

Complete the following sentences with a word in the correct form.

I absolutely hate doing h......... ; especially the ironing.A: How was the j...... to work this morning? B: Ok, there wasn't so much traffic today.He didn't w.... any time and he finished the job early.I usually h... o.. with my friends at the weekend. We watch a movie or just chat.We have r.. o.. o. milk. Can you buy some from the shop downstairs?I often go for a drink with my c......... when we leave the office.K... in t..... PS Send my love to Anne.I'm l..... w...... I am only 75kg this month. Last month I was almost 80.Just d... me a l... when you know the date and time of the next meeting.I like my s.......... She has been married to my father for 10 years now.I have written 10 e-mails s. f.. today; I only have another two to do.The v... m....... of people were against the Iraq war.I've got a s... head. Do you have any aspirin?I pay an equal s.... of the bills with my flatmate.He normally wears a s..…

Int - module 1 Right or wrong

Are the following sentences right or wrong? Correct them if needed.

A: How do you do? B: I'm fine thanks. And you?A: How are things with you? B: Great! I've got a new job.A: What means this word? B: I don't know.I'm quite good at cooking.My wife spends too much time to chat on the phone.He is working there until he finds a better job.It's getting cold in here. Close the window.Maria isn't coming to class today. She's got a cold.Are you usually finishing work late on Friday?A: I don't like shopping. B: Me too.A: Has your sister dark hair too? B: No, she hasn't.Neither of us have lunch at home.How do you write your surname?My father is really into football. He reads the sports pages every day.The Spanish work an average of 35 hours per week.

Good news for grumps

Feeling grumpy 'is good for you'

In a bad mood? Don't worry - according to research, it's good for you.

An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly.

In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed.

While cheerfulnessfosters creativity, gloominessbreeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

'Eeyore days'

The University of New South Wales researcher says a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain "promotes information processing strategies".

He asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life, designed to put them in either a good or bad mood.

Next he asked them to take part in a series of tasks, including judging the truth of urban myths and pro…