Showing posts from 2017

More quack-quack, less peep-peep

Researchers suggest replacing car honks with duck quacks
Researchers are tackling sound pollution from loud car horns by developing a beep which apparently sounds like a duck's quack.

The pleasant-sounding horn is designed to alert people to danger while notstressing out others within the vicinity.

A quacking sound was chosen after different sounds were tested on 100 volunteers and it was found to be the most friendly for pedestrians passing by.

The researchwas conducted at Soongsil University in Seoul, South Korea, and looked at the development of the vehicle klaxon since it was first introduced in 1908.

The classical car horn's "ah-oo-gah" remains a famous sound in early motoring, but it came to be replaced by other attention-grabbing sounds.

Some of those klaxons have come to be found very irritating, however. The team of scientists set about trying to find less distressing sound for passers-by.

Lead researcher Professor Myung-Jin Bae said: "In our study we…

No more "manspreading" on Madrid metro

Madrid tackles 'el manspreading' on public transport with new signs  Transport authorities in Spanish capital want to encourage men to respect boundaries on bus seats and keep legs closed  Madrid’s transport authorities are taking a stand against seated male selfishness with a campaign to tackle the social scourge that is manspreading.

Fed up with men whose thighsfail to respect the boundaries of bus seats, the Spanish capital’s Municipal Transport Company (EMT) is to put up signsdiscouraging the practice.

The EMT – which explains that “el manspreading” is “an English term that describes the posture of men who open their legs too wide and take up neighbouring seats” – said the new signs are intended to remind people of the need to respect the space of all bus passengers.

Would-be manspreaders will hopefully be deterred by small pictures of a thoughtless, faceless red man invading the seat to his right.

“This new information sign is similar to those that already exist in other t…

More Verb Patterns

Which of the following sentences are right?  Correct those that are wrong.

 1. A: He recommended us to take the train there.      B: I wouldn't recommend eating there.      C: I bought this mobile after a friend recommended it to me.      D: Doctors recommend that we do thirty minutes of exercise every day.

 2. A: We would like that you come with us.      B: I wouldn't mind to see his latest film.      C: Would you prefer sitting outside?      D: I'd much rather stay in bed than go to work today.

 3. A: She denied lying on her CV.      B: They denied that they had broken any rules.      C: He denied to have cheated in the exam.      D: I refuse to fly with British Airways ever again. 
 4. A: Remind me to phone her tomorrow.      B: Passengers are reminded that smoking is not permitted during the flight.      C: Did you remember to lock the door?      D: I don't remember seeing her at the party.      E: I forgot to thank her for the flowers.

 5. A: She apologised me for…


A Day In The Life Of: A Rent-a-Pilgrim
Any Roman Catholics who have vowed to make the pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal which is famous for religious visions but can't fulfil their promise, help is at hand -- rent-a-pilgrim. 

For 2,500 euros (1,671 pounds), Pilgrim Gil will make the journey in your place -- and send you a certificate stamped along the way to prove he walked your every step. 

Carlos Gil, 42, who owns a small computer company, took up this mediaeval practice four years ago when he suddenly "felt an urge to walk to Fatima" and said charging each client was simply a way to keep doing what he loves. 

"I make the trip to Fatima once or twice a year because it elevates my spirit," said Gil. "Sometimes the trip is so intense that I forget I'm doing it to fulfil my client's promises." 

Like a true pilgrim, Gil begins his seven-day journey to Fatima on foot from his home in Cascais, a small town on the outskirts of Lisbon, about 160 kilomet…

Guernica anniversary

80 years on, Picasso's powerful anti-war Guernika still resonates
Exactly 80 years ago, in a crowded market square, the small Basque town of Guernica was bombed by Nazi aircraft at the behest of General Francisco Franco.

Days later Picasso heard about the attack and painted Guernica in a Paris attic, a haunting work of art that has become a universal howl against the ravages of war, from 1937 Spain to 2017 Syria.

The canvas mixes stark images of agonising humans and animals to depict the horror of the bombing of the small Basque town of Guernica on April 26, 1937 during Spain's civil war.

Luis Ortiz Alfau, a 100-year-old Spaniard, was there that day "to pick up the dead and the injured," he told AFP. "

Around 4:00 pm, three planes started arriving every 15 minutes, they were German and Italian planes," said the former soldier on the Republican side.

"They dropped explosive bombs, then incendiary bombs, and the town started to burn."

War in Syri…

It's official - on the road to Brexit

Brexit: The UK's letter triggering Article 50 
 Dear President Tusk

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe - and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty T…

Benidorm - the eighth wonder of the world

Boozy Spanish tourist hotspot Benidorm plotsbid to become Unesco world heritage site alongsidewonders of the world
The package holiday destination could join sites including the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef on the list 
BENIDORM – the home from home of boozed-up sunburnt Brits – could become a world heritage site alongside iconic landmarkssuch as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Spanish town’s council plans to submit a bid to Unesco next year for heritage status, according to The Times.

The Costa Blanca holiday hotspot would be a surprising addition to the list. But mayor Antonia Perez insisted the town has plenty to offer.

He said: “We are unique both in terms of our natural beauty and our man-made model of a sustainable city.

“We have beautiful beaches and a vertical city which is very sustainable.

 “Benidorm has expanded upwardsunlike many other cities and we have not built on our bay or the islands nearby.”

The town reportedly has the t…

Writing a review - St Paul de Vence

This time last week I was in the south of France. I stayed in a hotel near St Paul de Vence, in the hills surrounding Nice. On Saturday I had a lovely lunch in a famous restaurant in the village.

Just out of interest, I checked out reviews on Tripadvisor.

St Paul de Vence

“Charming Hill Top Village”
 ***** Reviewed 4 weeks ago 

The small hilltop village of St-Paul-De-Vence apparently had a quiet and largely uneventful history, until Pablo Picasso took up residence in the 1920s and helped transform it into an artists’ village. Today there are numerous galleries and studios with working artists throughout the narrow alleyways, interspersed with cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and clothing stores.

There are about 300 permanent residents and what seemed like 300,000 visitors each day in summer, or that’s what it seems like in the crowded alleyways and carparks. It is a popular day trip for people staying on the coast in summer. Arrive early to find a parking space close to the village an…

"Sinpa" en masse

Eat-and-flee gang hit second Spanish restaurant 
Police are investigating whether a gang who ate thousands of euros of food in a restaurant in Spain beforefleeing had targeted another eatery.

Last week, about 120 diners, who had consumed about 2,000 euros of food and drink, left a restaurant in northern Spain as dessert was due to be served.

It has now emerged a second restaurant only 10km (six miles) away was previously targeted in the same way.

The owners said they believed they were the victims of the same group.

In the first case, the group, purporting to be celebrating a baptism, paid a deposit of €900 ($950; £770) to eat at the El Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, in the north-western Castile and Leon region.

"It happened in the space of a minute," owner Antonio Rodriguez said. "It was something they had planned and they left in a stampede."

 El Carmen's case felt more than a little familiar to Laura Arias, the owner of El Rincon de Pepin, a restaurant in n…

FCE Use of English tips

Reading and Use of English Part 1

- Read the text quickly to understand the topic, style and tone of the piece.  Read the whole text and don’t look at the possible answers on the next page: they are designed to confuse you!

- Sometimes it is possible to guess the missing word without looking at the options. 

- Pay close attention to the words before and after the gaps, they will help you decide what words can and can’t be used.

- Nowlook at the answer choices.  Select any answers that you guessed and then read the sentences carefully, before and after the gaps, to help you confirm you decision.

- Don't spend too much time on this part. You can't find the answer using logic. If you don't know the answer, move on. Put an asterix next to the ones you are not sure about.

Autoenglish(commonly confused words, phrasal verbs, preposition combinations, linking words and a timed example question)esl-lounge(18 quizzes)Flo-Joe (synonyms, collocations, phrasal verbs, phrases and expressions…

Fly from A to B

Dubai announces passenger drone plans 
A drone that can carry people will begin "regular operations" in Dubai from July, the head of the city's Roads and Transportation Agency has announced at the World Government Summit.

The Chinese model eHang 184 has already had test flights, said Matt al-Tayer.

The drone can carry one passenger weighing up to 100 kg (220 pounds) and has a 30 minute flight time.

The passenger uses a touch screen to select a destination. There are no other controls inside the craft.

It is "auto-piloted" by a command centre, according to a videoreleased by the government agency.

It has reported speeds of up to 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour) and can fly 31 miles (50km) on a single battery charge.

"This is not only a model," Mr al-Tayer, according to a report by the Associated Press.

"We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai's skies."

The device was also approved for testing in Nevada…

Fears of (some) UK nationals in Spain

Brits in Spain fear post-Brexit backlash and want their voices heard
British people who have made Spain their home are fearful that they will suffer a post-Brexit backlash over the UK government’s treatment of foreigners , and are anxious to make their voice heard.
As details emerged of an EU report that assesses the future status of 1.2 million Britons residing in EU countries, hundreds of Brits living in Spain signed an open letter to the citizens of Spain and its government calling for understanding.
"We adore Spain, love living in our adopted country and feel blessed to be here, " wrote Gemma Middleton, a documentary film maker living in Valencia who started the petition on
She felt it was important that Spain heard the voice of those Brits who did not vote to leave the EU and want to remain in Spain as members of their adoptive country.
"We all want to remain living here in Spain and we will work side by side with you to make sure that we can continue to d…

Januaries past

Do you remember when the Spanish national anthem almost got lyrics?
AnthemsAnthem update

An atheist advertisement caused controversy. There's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy life
City centre signs discouraged anti-social behaviour. No pavement pizza!
Spanish nuns joined You Tube to find new recruits. Nuns on the net

Some amusing announcements from pilots and flight attendants. Funny aeroplane announcements
Apparently, Scots drink the equivalent of 46 bottles of vodka a year. Scots don't drink that much surely
A man was fined for blowing his nose while driving. Unusual traffic offence

Use the Blog Archive to find other posts.

English only in this White House

Trump removes Spanish-language link from White House website
Newly installed president also closes government’s social network accounts directed toward Latino community 
Barely two days into office, Donald Trump seems to be sending a silent message to the US Hispanic community, his country’s largest minority. After announcing a Cabinet with no Latinos in it, the first time this has happened in three decades, the new team at the White house has closed the government’s Spanish-language accounts on social networks. Furthermore, nobody has yet been announced to replace the Obama administration’s spokesperson for policies or topics relating to the country’s Latino community.

At midday on Friday, while a newly sworn-in Trump was making his inauguration speech, the White House was changing hands, analogically and digitally. President Obama’s Twitter account was handed over to Trump, as was the White House website, which soon posted a photograph of the new incumbent. That wasn’t the only chan…

The Donald's inauguration speech

Source: You Tube (RT) Key words: trump inauguration speech
Transcript of Speech:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you. We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done. Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.…