Showing posts from September, 2014

This is me

My name is Graham - a name that some Spanish students have difficulty pronouncing.

I'm from Inverness which, unless you've been to Scotland, is a city that you have probably never heard of. It is in the far north of the country and the most famous lake in the world lies next to it.

1. How is Inverness?
It's a pleasant city to visit. It has a castle on a hill with some nice views of the surrounding countryside. There is a river that runs through the centre.

2. How long time are you teacher?
Over twenty years now. I never thought that I'd still be teaching in my forties.

3. What would you do if you don't be a teacher?
I'm not sure but when I was younger I liked the idea of being a journalist.

4. How long are you living in Madrid?
Thirteen years.

5. Do you enjoy to live here?
Not as much as I used to but I still think Madrid is a great city.

6. Have you lived in other country besides Spain?
I lived in Rome for nearly eight years.

7. Where did you go on holidays the last summ…

Another v other v others (Part 2)

It's been ages since I posted Part 1 about another. Here in Part 2 we will focus on other and others.

While another is used with singular countable nouns, other goes before plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns.
Some people drive while other people (/others) prefer to cycle.I didn't help her because I had other more important things to do.Have you got any other trainers (/any others) or are these your only ones?He's not just a chemistry teacher. He teaches other sciences too.Don't you like any other music apart from rock?

When followed by a noun, other does not form a plural.
We have othersother colours if you'd like to see them.He has othersother cousins who live in Australia.

We can use other before singular nouns (when we specify something) but we need to use another determiner before it.
I like this restaurant but I prefer the other one.María lives in Madrid but his other sister has been living in London for ten years.There's one other thing I want to m…

5 loves and hates about ...

Source: Youtube (woltersworld)
Try to predict the five things that he loves and hates about Spain, from the point of view of an American tourist, before listening to the video.

What are the five things that he loves and hates? Were your predictions correct? Do you agree with him?

Listen as many times as necessary. Check the word list below - can you hear them in the video?

Vocabulary: *Hi guys! - whether - *awesome (adj) -

tons to love -

to dislike - to end on a high note - funny = (adj) - downright hot -

Southern (adj) - *you'd better... - oppressively hot -

heat (n) -

a mild irritation - the lack of ... -
to take a nap - actually - tourist stuff - might not - supplies (n) - to purchase - annoying (adj) - a fool - to rip sb off (v/n) -

to turn out - to get drunk - a pickpocket - cool (Spanish students) - to warn sb - to watch out for stg - to lock (a door) - a bag snatcher - the sights - the landscape - a fair - the beauty - to keep up with sb -
to have a blast - no matter if ... -
to …

Now it's the turn of the Catalans - or is it?

Catalan parliament approves independence vote
Catalonia's parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving its regional president the power to call an independence "consultation".
Spain's government opposes the Catalan "consultation" vote and is taking the dispute to the Constitutional Court.

The move comes a day after Scotland voted against independence from the United Kingdom.

Catalan President Artur Mas said Scotland's referendum had "shown the way" for Catalonian independence.


overwhelmingly / overwhelming (adj) / to overwhelm -

a dispute -

large-scale -

support (n) -

to expect -

rejection (n) / to reject

a setback -

legal frameworks -

to welcome stg -

painful (adj) -

a surge in stg -

resentment (n) / to resent

to count on stg /sb -

to go ahead -

main (adj) -

to call for stg -

Post Scottish referendum speeches

Alex Salmond - First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party

Listen to the speech. - *it starts here.

Can I say thank-you for that reception but above all thank-you to Scotland for 1.6 million votes for Scottish independence. Our friends in the Highlands of Scotland are still to speak so the final results aren't in, but we know there is going to be a majority for the No campaign.

It is important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process *and Scotland has by a majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country. I accept that verdict of the people and I call onall of Scotlandtofollow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland.

I think all of us in this campaign will say that 45%, that 1.6 million votes, is a substantial vote for Scottish independence and the future of this country. Let us say something which I hope unites all campaigns and all Scots. I think the process by which we have made our d…

Tordesillas - the shameful side of Spain

Protestors and supporters clash at annual Toro de la Vega bull hunt
Elegido, the 596-kilo bull at the center of this year’s Toro de la Vega bull hunt in the Valladolid town of Tordesillas, got to live a half-hour longer thanks to the efforts of around 300 protestors who joined together to stop the 45 registered participants from setting out on their expedition.

“We’ve come to prevent a murder!” said Daniel, who had journeyed from Mallorca to try to stop the controversial annual event. Much reviled by animal rights groups for its cruelty, the Toro de la Vega involves hunters on foot and horseback chasing a bull through a pine forest before spearing it to death.

Source: El País Vocabulary: a protestor / to protest - a supporter / to support - a hunt (v/n) - to clash (v/n) - to set out on (an expedition) - to revile - on horseback - to chase - to spear (v/n) - to remove - to drag - nevertheless - to cheat (v/n) - to threaten / a threat - to file a report for stg / to report sb for stg - a breath / …

Czech / Hungary Quiz

This summer I was in Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Complete the following questions with an appropriate word before answering them.

1. What are the ___ of Hungary and the Czech Republic?

A:     Forint  /  Euro
B:     Forint  /  Koruna
C:     Koruna  /  Ruble
D:     Euro  /  Dinar

2. What are the rivers that ___ through Budapest and Prague?

A:     Danube (B)  /  Danube (P)
B:     Danube (B)  /  Elbe (P)
C:     Rhine (B)  /  Danube (P)
D:     Danube (B) /  Vltava (P)

3. Which two countries share a ___ with both Hungary and the Czech Republic?

A:     Slovakia and Austria
B:     Croatia and Slovakia
C:     Slovenia and Croatia
D:     Slovenia and Austria

4.  In which years did the Soviets invade to put an ___ to an uprising / political reform?

A:     1966 (H)  /  1949 (CR)
B:     1961 (H)  /  1972 (CR)
C:     1956 (H)  /  1968 (CR)
D:     1970 (H)  /  1958 (CR)

5. What was the name ___ to the revolution that ended Soviet rule in the Czech Rep in 1989?

A:     the velvet…


Once upon a time, "amazing" meant "very surprising"; something that you found incredible - generally in a good way.
I still find it amazing how many things you can do with a tiny mobile phone.She learnt to speak Chinese in just one year. It's amazing when you think about it.
Nowadays too many people use the word to describe something that they really like. I find it really annoying and I just wish "amazing" would return to its original meaning.

When people ask:
How was your holiday? more than likely, the reply will be:
Oh it was amaaaaaaaaaazing.
In a guide book you will read:
It's really worth the climb to the top because there is an amazing view of the whole town.
We had the most amazing meal at that new Italian restuarant.

So what are the alternatives to amazing?

How was your holiday?
We had a great time. / Wonderful.  / We really enjoyed ourselves.

There is a spectacular / an impressive view of the whole town.

We had a really nice meal at that ne…

Don't look down!

Spain to reopen 'world's most dangerous walk'
Malaga authorities have begun work on restoring Andalusia's infamous Camino del Rey walkway, a nerve-wracking gorge pathway in disrepair that for the past 20 years only adrenaline junkies and experienced climbers have dared to use.

El Caminito del Rey, or the King’s Pathway is a well-known trail through the gorge of the Guadalhorce River near the Malaga town of El Chorro — fairly easy if you're fit and healthy, but next to impossible if you have any kind of fear of heights.


to restore -

infamous (adj) -

nerve-wracking (adj) -

a gorge -

in disrepair -

a junkie -

to dare to do stg -

a trail -

fairly -

next to impossible -

a helmet -

narrow -

to be ridden with -

to scramble -

a drop -

to dodge -

to lurk -

a feat -

a fine -

up to -

a trespasser -

no longer -

to undertake -

refurbished -

to attend-

a budget -

hairy (adj) -

so-called -

to do up -

to rust -

hands-on -

support (n) -

to lead to stg -

to surround

Give up meat - save the planet.

Greenhouse gas fear over increased levels of meat eating Global consumption of meat needs to fall - to ensure future demand for food can be met and to help protect the environment - a study says.
Research from Cambridge and Aberdeen universities estimates greenhouse gases from food production will go up 80% if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate.

Source: BBC News

to meet demand


current rate

to meet a target

to urge


a boom

to highlight

to lead to stg

sizeable (adj)

arable crops


to keep up with demand

to turn over to stg


to release (gases)


to halve

Would you ever consider giving up meat for any reason?

Read the article again. It will help you when you listen to the following report about the same story.

Now look at the next text. Imagine what the missing words are and then listen to the report again. Try to fill in the gaps.

As people get richer (a), they’re eating more meat and (b) produce.

It’s an inefficient way…