Showing posts from November, 2009

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…

Up Int - module 1 Right or wrong

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

You've been to Madrid before, haven't you?A: John's found a job at last. B: Did he? That's great.Nice to meet you. See you again soon.Your English has improved a lot over the last few months.Nadal was number one in the world last year but actually he's number two.He does speak very well. Where is he learning English?He's been living in London during the past few years.I think I get on really well with most of my colleagues.The first James Bond film was made back in the 60s.She's suddenly being very nice to everybody. I don't get it.My boss attended the meeting but I haven't.A: Have you heard of Iker Casillas? B: Yes, I have, actually.At one time he was just a shop assistant but now he owns a chain of stores.I look forward to meet you when you are in Spain.James has worked in the accounting department for 2 years but now he works in human resources.

Up Int - module 1 Vocab

Complete the following sentences with a word in the correct form. All are taken from module 1.

Sorry, I couldn't help o.......... your conversation.Are you from Scotland too?The shoppingcentre is h... , it's easy to get lost there.I like getting away fromt... tot... (n.. and a....) ; it helps me relax.Aznar is a f..... prime minister of Spain.Have you seen Almodovar's l..... film?I'm really surprised that they have s.... u.. I thought they were happy together.I used to l...... going to piano lessons as a child but my sister loved going.I think it is o......... how the city hall is wasting our money on such things.I wouldn't say he's a friend, he's more of an a.......... really.I don't want you to get into t...... with your boss because of me.We've been together for twenty years and never even had a r.....I hope she g... o.... the flu soon; we need her here in the office.OK, that's me finished. I'm o.. See you tomorrow.Sorry to b....... you bu…

Gibraltar tension

British ambassador forced to apologise after Royal Navy ship 'used buoy painted colours of Spanish flag for target practice'

The Royal Navy was accused yesterday of using a Spanish flag as a machine-gun target.

Giles Paxman, the UK's new ambassador in Madrid, was forced to apologise after sailors fired at a red-and-yellow flag affixed to a buoy while patrolling off Gibraltar.

He was summoned to the Spanish Foreign Ministry for a dressing down and officials said he had conceded there had been an 'error of judgement'.

But the ambassador - who has been in post for just a month - denied that the crew of HMS Scimitar had been insulting Spain's flag.

Instead, he told them the sailors had actually been firing at Nato's maritime flag for the number '1' which shares the same distinctive colours.

Mr Paxman promised an investigation into the incident.

But diplomatic sources said Madrid was taking revenge following a spat in May when the Royal Navy forced a Spa…

Football is like life - unfair!

Republic of Ireland World Cup replay request after Thierry Henry handball rejected by Fifa

Thierry Henry’s ‘Hand of God’ contribution to William Gallas’s decisive extra-time goal prompted the FAI to write to both Fifa and the French Football Federation (FFF) on Thursday demanding a replay for the sake of ‘the integrity of the game.’

But despite the Irish citing Fifa’s decision to order a replay of Uzbekistan versus Bahrain in Sept 2005 following a ‘technical error’ by the referee, the world governing body has ruled out a replay of the France clash.
Source: Daily Telegraph
to reject -

a request -

to prompt -

to demand -

for the sake of ... -

despite -

to rule out -

to hold (a match) -

a clash -

the draw (for the World Cup) -

the likelihood of ... -

successful (adj) -

to (re)stage an event -

to cheat -

a referee -

to lead to ... -

to challenge -

The hand of frog:

Here is a news report on the handball that robbed Ireland of a place in the World Cup final.

Isn't it now time tha…

Giant of the air

BA and Iberia agree merger deal

British Airways and Spanish airline Iberia say they have reached a preliminary agreement for a merger expected to be completed in late 2010.

The merger, which must be approved by the European Commission, would create the world's third biggest airline.

Under its terms, Iberia would take a 45% stake and BA, which last week reported a six-month pre-tax loss of £292m, a 55% stake in the company.

Iberia says it can pull out if BA fails to resolve its pension deficit problem.

'Growing dominance'

"The merger will create a strong European airline well able to compete in the 21st Century," said BA chief executive Willie Walsh.

"Both airlines will retain their brands and heritage while achieving significant synergies as a combined force."

The two airlines had been discussing the deal at separate board meetings.

It would create an airline with 419 aircraft flying to 205 separate destinations, and would save the two partners 400m euro…

Underdogs upset Galacticos

Real Madrid are out of the King's Cup

The Galacticos score only one goal in the Bernabéu

Two weeks ago the Alcorcón from the Segunda B division had a four nil win at their home ground, and the Real Madrid guns were out for the return leg at the Bernabéu on Tuesday night, but with Pellegrini’s side needing five goals to remain in the competition they could score no more than one.

It was still goalless at half time, and the always critical home crowd started to call, with whistles and handkerchiefs, for the resignation of the Chilean manager.

The single goal from Van der Vaart in the second half, in the 80th minute, was little comfort for the fans.

The result takes sport onto the front pages of Spain this morning, and as Público puts it – ‘A fascinating failure’.

Real Madrid therefore knocked out of the King’s Cup before the last 16 for the second consecutive year.

Now the post mortem will start, and it has already emerged that Sergio Ramos was not called to play as the club mistaken…

Confusing words - topic

Another false friend - topic!

A topic is a subject that is discussed.
What was the topicof conversation between the two Prime Ministers?A number of topics will be discussed at the meeting tomorrow
You often translate "topico" as "cliché" or "stereotype", depending on the context of course.
A cliché is a comment that is very often made and is therefore not original and not interesting:
My wedding day - and I know it's a cliché - was just the happiest day of my life.I hate to use a cliché but really you shouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill.A stereotype is a fixed idea that people have about what someone or something is like, especially an idea that is wrong.
The stereotypical Englishman wears a bowler hat but I have never seen anyone wear one.He is just the opposite of the stereotype of a mean Scotsman.

What clichés do you hate?

What are the stereotypes of different nationalites or of people from different parts of Spain?

20 years on from the fall of the wall

Berlin marks 20 years since the fall of the wall

Tens of thousands of people, including dissidents, songwriters, priests and political leaders who helped to engineer the collapse of communism in the former eastern bloc, braved a cold, persistent drizzle today to mark 20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the cold war.

Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, retraced the first steps she and tens of thousands of other east Germans made to the west 20 years ago, as celebrations across Europe included memorial services, candlelit vigils and – the highlight of the day – a scheduled toppling of 1,000 giant dominoes along an almost one-mile stretch of the wall's route.

Source: The Guardian

to mark (an anniversary) -
to brave -
drizzle (n) -
candlelit (adj) -
a highlight -
to topple -
to throng -
to hang -
to shrink -
felt (n) -
to bask in the limelight -
an onlooker -
to clutch -
heady (adj) -
to chant -
to urge -
to lead up to -
to turn round -
to get the better of you -