dissabte, 27 de novembre de 2010

Presentació del Mountain Walking in Southern Catalonia

Dilluns, 19.30, presentació del llibre Mountain Walking in Southern Catalonia a la biblioteca de Tortosa.

Philip and Vivien Freakly have written a guide to walking in the mountains of the Ebre region, in English. It will be presented in public in Tortosa library on Monday at 19.30.

divendres, 26 de novembre de 2010

Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving Day is known as Black Friday. It is traditionally the first day of the US Christmas shopping season with many shops extending their opening hours and offering special promotions.

There are two possible origins of its name. Many claim it is due to the intense traffic jams caused by shoppers, while others claim it is often a day that shopkeepers actually move "into the black" - that is, they start making profits.

Happy shopping!

dijous, 25 de novembre de 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the USA on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a celebration which goes back to the 17th century, the time when the first pilgrims to reach American shores gave thanks to God for surviving the winter. The story goes that the celebration consisted of a three-day feast shared by pilgrims and native Americans alike.
Nowadays many people take a four-day weekend and the main feature of the celebrations are large family meals with turkey, vegetables, pumpkin pie and other traditional foods.
Another well-known aspect of the day, thanks to Hollywood and numerous films, is the parade held in New York by Macy's department store - a clue that Christmas is just around the corner!

Conta-contes en anglès

Continuing with the intense calendar of activities organised by Tortosa's library, today is the turn of the story-telling in English. At 6pm, a famous fairy tale will be told, and acted out, by the library's collaborators. Aimed at 4 to 8 year olds, but I'm sure all ages would enjoy it.

diumenge, 14 de novembre de 2010

Remembrance Sunday

Many learners of English ask why most British people appearing on the news this week are wearing this red flower.
World War I finished at 11 o'clock in the morning, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. British people commemorate this event every year on the second Sunday in November, Remembrance Sunday. On this day, we remember and pay our respects to those who lost their lives in both World Wars, and other conflicts which have happened since then.
Solemn and emotive services are held at War Memorials in towns all over the UK, with a two-minute silence at 11am.
The red poppy flower was chosen as a symbol for this day as they bloomed all over the blood-drenched battle fields of France. They are made of paper and plastic and "sold" for a voluntary donation which goes to charities devoted to ex-servicemen, disabled soldiers, army widows and so on.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae

dilluns, 8 de novembre de 2010

Confusing English (1)

Sentences or expressions which may or may not confuse learners of English (or even English learners), no.1:

The children were playing up downstairs.

divendres, 5 de novembre de 2010

Bonfire Night

On November 5th we celebrate Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night) in England. This celebration commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot ...

In 1605 a group of Catholics tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill the Protestant King of England, King James I, with the aim of replacing him with a Catholic head of state.

However, the plot was discovered, and the barrels of gunpowder. The plotters were arrested and executed. The most famous member of the group was their leader, Guy Fawkes.

Fortunately this celebration has lost its anti-catholic connotations over the centuries and is now a great night out to blow away the winter blues. People build huge bonfires in gardens and public parks. Children traditionally make an effigy of Guy Fawkes (called "a guy") and used to drag him around the streets asking for money from passer-bys ("a penny for the guy"). When the bonfire is lit, everyone gathers around and the "guy" is thrown on to be burnt. Firework displays are very common. And, as with all great festivities, plenty of treats are consumed - jacket potatoes, toffee apples, pie and peas ...