Showing posts from 2010

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Judy Garland sang this song in the musical "Meet Me in St. Louis". Here is a modern version from Coldplay:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be far away

Here we are, as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us
Once more

Through the years, we all will be together
If the fatesallow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Why not google to discover the lyrics to your favourite Xmas song?

if you have time over Xmas....

Use the labels to find anything related to Christmas:

In Blog 3 you will find stories about the Christmas cracker, the Gordo and an unusual Christmas song.

In Blog 1 you can listen to John Lennon and Bing Crosby sing a seasonal song.

Right here in Blog 2 you can find posts about lottery superstitions and read Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol.

Use the archives to find stories from Decembers past:

In December 2007 you can read the story about how the Spanish tip generously.

In December 2008 you can find a cure for hangovers.

In December 2009 you are given a year's notice on the introduction of the smoking ban.

Remember to at least write "I have read it" after reading very post!!!!

Christmas pudding

Here is a recipe for traditional Christmas pudding but you are too late if you want to make one for this Christmas.

Make this pudding a couple of months before Christmas day. Feed it with booze regulary for the flavours to develop.


225g/8oz golden caster sugar

225g/8oz vegetarian suet

340g/12oz sultanas

340g/12oz raisins

225g/8oz currants

110g/4oz candied peel, chopped

110g/4oz plain flour

110g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs

55g/2oz flaked almonds

1 lemon, zest only

5 eggs, beaten

1 level tsp ground cinnamon

1 level tsp mixed spice

5g/1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg

pinch of salt

150ml/5fl oz brandy or rum

Preparation method

1.Lightly grease 4x600ml/1 pint or 2x1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basins.

2.Mix together all the dry ingredients.

3.Stir in the eggs and brandy and mix well.

4.Spoon the mix into basins. Put a circle of baking parchment and foil over the top of each basin and tie securely with string. Make a string handle from one side of the basin to the other so it is easier…

Flying is no fun

Spain under state of alert over air strike chaos

The Spanish government has declared a state of alert after a strike by air traffic controllers grounded flights, stranding thousands of travellers.

The measure will allow widldcat strikers to be charged with a crime under the military penal code.

About half of the controllers showed for their shift on Saturday morning but most refused to work, in a dispute over hours and conditions.

National carrier Iberia has cancelled all flights until 0500 GMT on Sunday.

There are huge crowds of passengers at Spain's airports, many hoping to get away at the start of a national holiday, many of them frustrated and angry, says the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Madrid.

The army was called in to take charge of the country's air space on Friday, but cannot direct air traffic.

Announcing the state of alert, Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the air traffic controllers were trying to protect "unacceptable privileges".


Saint Andrew's Day

Today in Scotland, and indeed in many parts of the world, people are celebrating Saint Andrew's Day.

The picture of the Scottish flag above is traditionally known as the Saint Andrew flag. It is thought to be the oldest flag in the world. It dates back to the 12th Century.

The origins of Saint Andrew's Cross and Flag

Whilst in Southern Greece Andrew stayed some time in the city of Patras where he healed many sick people. At the time the country was ruled by the Romans and he healed Maximillia, the wife of a powerful Roman General. She converted to Christianity.

Her husband was so angry at his wife becoming a Christian that he wanted to stop this new religion and ordered his soldiers to put Andrew to the death.

The origins of the St Andrews flag and cross comes from when Saint Andrew was crucified by the Romans at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea. His crucifixion was not like that of Jesus, but done diagonally on a cross of the form called Crux decussata which translates to X-shaped …

Battle of wills

RSPCA challenges decision to overturn will

Couple left charity their £2.35m estate, but court later awarded it to their daughter

The RSPCA today launched a high court challenge to a ruling that overturned a will leaving the charity a £2.35m estate after a daughter contested her parents' legacy.

In a case with potential implications for the charity sector, the animal rescue organisation said it had a duty to fight the ruling "to uphold the wishes of those that choose to bequeath it a legacy".

Christine Gill, 59, a university lecturer from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, last year won a high court battle to overturn the will in which her parents left their 287-acre farm to the charity.

A judge in Leeds found that Dr Gill's "bullying" and "domineering" father had coerced her mother into making the will, in which they left everything to the RSPCA and nothing to their only child.

But the RSPCA told the court of appeal that the judge was "wrong to f…

Lemon tree - present cont.

Here is a link to three previous posts on the Present Continuous which includes a translation exercise, a song to complete and a cartoon to watch. In the post with the cartoon there is a link to Agenda Web, where you will find hundreds of exercises to choose from.

Here's a song that you will all know but can you complete the lyrics:

Source: You Tube (Santiago Reinoso) Key Words: Fools Lemon Tree

I___(1)____ here in the boring room
It's just another rainy Sunday afternoon
I___(2)____ my time
I got nothing to do
I___(3)____ around
I___(4)____ for you
But nothing ever happens and I wonder

I___(5)____ around in my car
I___(5)____ too fast
I___(5)____ too far
I'd like to change my point of view
I feel so lonely
I___(4)____ for you
But nothing ever happens and I wonder

I wonder how
I wonder why
Yesterday you told me 'bout the blue blue sky
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon-tree
I__(6)_____ my head up and down
I__(6)_____ _______ _______ _______ _______ around

Using archives and labels

Remember that you can also read and make comments about posts from the past; not just the recent ones! There are two ways to access past posts - either through the archives or labels.

Among the posts from Novembers past:

November 2009:
Giant of the airIberia/BA merger20 years on from the fall of the wallNovember 2008:
Palin's prank phone callBerlusconi puts his foot in it againNovember 2007:
Tennent's lager advertMy worst journey

What is your favourite post from Novembers past?

Among the labels are:
Confusing words such as fun v funny, ill v sick, trip v journey ....Madrid  from stories about Olympic dreams to lottery wins.Phrasal verbs a chance to practice your phrasalsVocabulary Practice a chance to improve your vocabulary

You can also find relevant labels at the end of the posts.

Which labels do you find the most interesting or useful?

I look forward to reading your comments on the old posts too even if it's just to say that you have read it!

Royal Engagement

Royal wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton say time is right for marriage

Announcing their engagement Prince William said: "The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy." Miss Middleton added that joining the Royal Family was a "daunting prospect" but said: "Hopefully I'll take it in my stride."
The couple were speaking at a photocall hours after Clarence House announced that they planned to marry in spring or summer next year, delighting the couple's parents, politicians and well-wishers.

Prince William asked for Miss Middleton's hand in marriage while they were on holiday in Kenya last month, and the wedding will be held in the spring or summer next year.

She will then move in with her husband in Wales.

This afternoon it was confirmed that the Prince proposed with the blue sapphire and diamond ring that his father, the Prince of Wales, gave to Diana, Princess of Wales, in February 1981.

Diana chose the ring, which cost £28,0…

Essay mistakes

The essays that I got the other day were good but not without a few mistakes. Correct the following sentences.
I am studying English two years ago.English is very difficult; sometimes I don't understand nothing.I like talking but I like more listening.I'm civil servant and I only work in the morning.In my free time I love play padel.I play tennis and I like too to dance.I have blonde hair and black eyes.I love my job because is very creative.I think I am a positive and glad person.I'm not very talkative. I prefer listen.I live with my childrens, Maria and Javier.I love going to the concerts or listening direct music in small places.

Armistice Day

Armistice Day silence falls overs Britain as millions honour the dead
Two-minute silence to honour those fallen in combat since the first world war provokes a mixture of respect and protest

Ninety-two years after the guns ceased firing on the Western Front, Britain today remembered its war dead, as millions observed the traditional two-minute silence to mark Armistice Day.

Crowds gathered beneath glowering skies at war memorials throughout the country to lay wreaths of Flanders red poppies, marking the end of the first world war and commemorating the fallen of conflicts past and present. In shops and offices, railway stations and airports, heads were bowed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

At the Cenotaph in Whitehall, Big Ben's chimesyielded to the lone buglestrains of the last post, heralding the silence during a service attended by the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, defence secretary Liam Fox, veterans, military associations and schoolc…

Essay / class mistakes

Here are some sentences with mistakes that I have taken from homework or heard in class. Correct them.
I am married with Javier. We got married ten years ago.I am working here since 19 years.I have a really tired job.I think the English are too much polite.The Germans are hard working and are always in time.Everybody think I look like my father.Spanish people don't look up to other nationality.Most people hope come back to Spain one day.Did they immediately have successful?He was educated by his mother after his parents separated.

Just as Spain is about to ban smoking ...

THE Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to overturn its smoking ban.

A new liberal government is to allow smoking, though only in small owner-run bars with no other staff.

Here one of the Dutch campaigners, from the Foundation To Save Small Bar Owners, explains why he is so pleased with the change :

We had a blanket ban on smoking brought in here in 2008. It unfairly attacked small bar owners who couldn't afford to build outdoor smoking areas.

And small bars, or pubs as we call them too, are a huge part of Dutch life. There are more than 3,000 of them.

So two smokers' rights organisations decided to join forces with the bar owners.

We felt it was a bad law.

I know of many bars that never even put their ashtrays away. But now it is official and people are delighted.

The latest polls say between 70 and 80 per cent of Dutch people are behind this partial lifting of the ban.

This is great news for small bars and the common man. Lower-class people tend to drink …

Papal visit

Pope Benedict XVI begins Spanish visit in Santiago
Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela at the beginning of a two-day visit to Spain.

He was greeted at the airport by Crown Prince Felipe and Church officials.

The Pope will celebrate an open-air mass outside the cathedral and on Sunday travel to Barcelona.

There he is due to consecrate the Sagrada Familia church, still unfinished more than a century after Antoni Gaudi designed it.

This is Benedict's second visit during his papacy, and a third visit is planned next year for World Youth Day, a sign of how important the Vatican considers the health of the church in Spain.

Only 14.4% of Spaniards regularly attend mass, and legal changes to allow divorce, gay marriage and abortion have caused concern to the Catholic church.

But 73% of Spaniards still define themselves as Catholic.


In Santiago, the Pope will pray at the tomb of St James, the focus of pilgrimage to the city for many centu…

Fluorescent prostitutes

Spanish prostitutes ordered to wear reflective vests for their own safety
Women touting for customers on a rural highway outside Els Alamus near Lleida in Catalonia have been told to don the yellow fluorescent bibs or pay fines of 40 euros (£36) under road traffic laws.

Police claim the sex workers on the LL-11 road are not being specifically targeted because of what they do but because they posed a danger to drivers

The prostitutes are in breach of 2004 law which states pedestrians on major highways and hard shoulders must wear the high visibility garments.

A spokesman for the regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra said: "In the past couple of months the prostitutes have been fined for two reasons: for not wearing the reflective jacket and for creating danger on the public highway."

The move follows recent legislation introduced by Els Alamus town hall to ban prostitutes from offering sex for sale in public urban areas. The mayor Josep Maria Bea has been accus…

Do you take a nap?

Ecuadorean super-snorer wins siesta contest in Spain

A jobless security worker has won a competition billed as Spain's inaugural siesta championship, napping for 17 minutes in a busy shopping centre.

Ecuadorean Pedro Soria Lopez took first place and 1,000 euros (£890) for his efforts - or lack of them.

Judges praised the 62-year-old not only for the duration of his 40 winks, but also for his volume, notching up snores of 70 decibels - around talking level.

The contest was run by Spain's National Association of Friends of the Siesta.

It was part of a campaign to revive the Spanish power-napping tradition, which is seen as threatened by the fast pace of modern life.

Over the course of nine days, 360 competitors were challenged to sleep for as much of a 20-minute period allotted to them as possible.

Participants stretched out on sofas in the Madrid shopping centre while their pulses were monitored to check they were asleep.

Judges awarded points for the speed with which participa…

Now no smoking in cars

Ash Scotland calls for a ban on smoking in vehicles

An anti-smoking charity has called for a consultation on banning smoking in vehicles in Scotland.

Ash Scotland made the call, along with 32 other recommendations, as part of a strategy to tackle "Scotland's biggest killer".

The charity said the change would highlight the impact of second-hand smoke on others.

However, the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association said such a move would be a "step too far".

Latest figures suggest a quarter of all adult deaths in Scotland can be attributed to smoking-related diseases.

Setting out their "Beyond Smoke Free" document, Ash Scotland said the country had taken major steps to cut smoking in the past six years, but that more needed to be done.

The document calls for a consultation on introducing legislation to ban smoking in vehicles and the development of "robust" intermediate and endpoint targets to reduce the effects of passive smoking in the home and…

Pre Int - mistakes

Here are some mistakes that I have heard in class:
A: Was the time OK? B: Yes, it was sunny.I hate doing the homework, especially the ironing.I'd like to visit others countries.A: I went to the beach in the summer. B: I too.She lives in the same neighbourhood that me.A: Do you have many English speaking friends? B: No, I haven't.A: Does he see often his parents? B: Most weekends, I think. She is quite tall and has a long, black hair.Find the mistakes and correct them.

Three benefit stories

The UK government has started making huge cuts in spending in an attempt to reduce the country's equally huge deficit. There will be changes to the benefit system and child, disability and housing benefits are among those affected. Here are three stories, one about each benefit, which illustrates the madness of the system.

A FECKLESSlayabout has fathered eight children by eight different mothers – with two more on the way.
Jobless Keith Macdonald sparked outrage last night after it emerged that he does not see any of his children and does not give any money to their mothers, meaning taxpayers will have tofootthe massive £2million benefits bill.

In a damning example of Shameless Britain, Macdonald, whose ninth and tenth babies are due next year, whinged: “Why should I pay a penny for them?”

Just £5 a week is deducted from his incapacity benefit, which he claims for a bad back, to go towards the children’s upkeep. Last night critics condemned 25-year-old…