miércoles, 25 de abril de 2018


Hi my dear friends, today we're going to read a short story. Coincidences! I hope you'll like it!

Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy vamos a leer un relato corto. ¡Coincidencias! ¡Espero que os guste!

From:  Speak Up magazine.
Photos: news.bbc.uk

COINCIDENCES by Rachel Roberts. (When Jenny met Richard on a train, a series of coincidences made their meeting seem predestinated...)

The train came to a stop not long after we left Paddington station. I didn't notice at first because I was on the phone to my new assistant Bethan, carefully going over her instructions one more time. She was very young, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer!

I finished the call and realised we'd stopped moving. Then I heard the announcement. "This is the 15.52 London Paddington to Oxford train. We apologise for the delay to this train which is due to circumstances beyond our control."

I groaned aloud and the man sitting next to me made a similar noise. We looked at each other and smiled.
-You know this is so awesome!" My neighbour had a soft American accent.
-"What? The delay?"
- "No, this coincidence. I just read that exact same announcement in this book;  word for word!"

He was holding a Colin Dexter novel about Inspector Morse, an Oxford-based detective. It wasn't that much of a coincidence, but my neighbour had that fun, enthusiastic expression typical of Americans, so I laughed.

-"That's really funny!"

He stretched out his arm and looked at his wristwatch. "Do you think we'll be stuck here long?"

The watch caught my attention. The face showed a picture of Chairman Mao waving to the people. His arm moved to and fro in time to the seconds. I had bought an identical one years ago in Hong Kong. "I have a wristwatch just like that one," I said. "I think they're quite rare."
-"Really?"  Again he was happily enthusiastic. "My wife bought this for me in 1997 in Hong Kong. A shop called Shanghai Tang."

-"Yeah? That's where mine came from!" I was glad he'd mentioned his wife. It made me feel more relaxed about talking to him.
-"I wasn't even supposed to be on this train." the American went on. "I wanted to go earlier and now I'll definitely be late for my appointment. My assistant booked it for me and he's hot -what is it you Brits say? - he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer."
I looked at him. That phrase!

I had thought those very words about my own assistant only minutes before.  I began to feel intrigued. With a series of coincidences like this, maybe there was a reason for our meeting.

-"I'm an acupuncturist!" I said, wondering if maybe he did the same job.
-"Yeah?" he smiled. "I'm a computer systems analyst."  No links there, then. "Oh, and I'm Richard, by the way."

We shook hands. "Really? That's my brother's name. I'm Jennifer, Jenny."
-Nice to meet you." I began to feel inadequate.  All the coincidences were coming from him.
-"I don't even know how long it'll take me to get to my appointment from the station," said Richard. "I'm going to the China Centre. It's part of Oxford Univeristy. They're having problems with their new computers."

This was too much. "You're not going to believe this!" said Richard. "You know I'm beginning to think there must be a reason for us meeting!"

Me too. In fact I had thought those very words just seconds previously. "I don't suppose you're staying at the Linton Lodge Hotel, by any chance?"
-"Oh no. I'm going straight back right after the meeting."

Damn! Why did I never come up with any coincidences?

Richard looked a little embarrased. Maybe my mentioning hotels had made it seem like I wanted to meet up later. We fell silent and a few minutes later the train moved off. Richard went out of the window, still wishing I could have found the link between myself and this likeable American.

We arrived in Oxford only 20 minutes behind schedule and walked out of the station together. The front of the building was covered in scaffolding because of renovation work and I helped Richard find the taxi rank. He offered to share a taxi with me. My meeting was much later and I wanted to do some sightseeing first, but I didn't want to let him go. Not yet.

-"Richard, come and have a quick coffee."
His hand was on the door handle of the taxi.He hesitated and checked his Mao watch. "I'm kind of late."
-"Oh, go on. Maybe you have a message for me," I said.
He smiled. "OK, just a couple of minutes."

We walked away from the taxi and some other passengers climbed in. We had just turned around to look for the closest coffee shop, when we heard an immense crash followed by screams and cries of alarm.  Spinning round, we saw to our horror that part of the scaffolding had collapsed right on top of the taxi, burying it in twisted metal and brickwork. Things didn't look good for the people inside.

-"Oh my God," said Richard, "if you hadn't stopped me, I'd have been there!" We looked at each other, in shock. "Wow", said Richard, "so that was why we met!"

-TO GROAN: quejarse.
-ALOUD: en voz alta.
-AWESOME: increíble.
-STUCK: parado.
-CHAIRMAN: presidente.
-TO AND FRO: de un lado para otro.
-THOSE VERY WORDS: las mismísimas palabras.
-LIKEABLE: agradable.
-SCAFFOLDING: andamios.
-I'M KIND OF LATE:  tengo un poco de prisa.
-TO SPIN ROUND: girarse.
-TO COLLPASE: derrumbarse.
-TO BURY: enterrar.
-TWISTED: retorcido.
-BRICKWORK: enladrillado.


martes, 17 de abril de 2018


Hi my dear friends,  cooking seems to be a "must" in our society nowadays and so we can watch plenty of TV programmes dedicated to  "competitive cooking". In the UK one of this famous programmes is "THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF" and this post is about it. Bon appétit!

Hola mis queridos amigos, cocinar parece ser un imprescindible hoy en día en nuestra sociedad y así  podemos ver cantidad de programas de televisión dedicados a la "cocina competitiva". En Reino Unido uno de estos famosos programas es "The Great British Bake Off" y esta publicación es sobre él. ¡Que aproveche!

Info: SPEAK UP magazine.
Photos:  razzmag.wordpress.com  / bookriot.com / express.co.uk


One of the most popular TV programmes in the UK is a reality show called "The Great British Bake Off". Each week, ordinary people compete to make the best cakes and bread within a time limit. The competition takes place in a very large tent in a big garden. There are two judges and two hosts, and each week the judges choose a "star baker" (the best baker).  They also choose one person who must leave the competition. At the end of ten weeks there is one winner.


The programme started in 2010, and nobody expected it to be popular. People really enjoyed watching the baking and the good atmosphere on the show.

Originally broadcast on BBC one, last year the show made a risky move to Channel 4.  Many people thought that this would mean much smaller audiences but they were wrong!  In fact, and despite competition from big digital giants such as Netflix, Apple and Amazon, that show received high ratings especially among 16 to 34 year-olds, who are the hardest audience to attract.


"Bake Off" is very different from other reality TV shows. Some people think the show is typically British, with a good sense of humour and friendly people. Viewers also really enjoy learning how to make different types of cakes, biscuits and bread.

Since the show started, baking has become very popular in the UK, and many young people have started baking at home. Shops have sold lots of products for baking, like bowls and food mixers.  More than 19 per cent of British people bake at least once a week at home now.


Around nine million people watched the final episode of the show last October. The winner was former Army officer Sophie Faldo. She beat health and safety inspector Kate Lyon and marketing professional Steven Carter-Bailey.

The new hosts are the comedian Noel Fielding and the quiz show presenter Sandi Toksvig. The judges are food columnist Prue Ruth and celebrity chef Paul Hollywood, who stayed with the show after it moved to Channel 4.  There was controversy as Ruth mistakenly announced the winner eleven hours early on Twiter. She apologised and explained that she was in Bhutan and had become confused by the time difference. Everyone laughed and forgave her!


Write the correct word in the gaps. The first letter and a description are given in brackets to help you.

a) The UK reality show The Great British Bake off  s___________(began) in 2010.
b) At the beginning nobody expected the programme to be  p_________(successful).
c) The  c________ (contest) takes place in a large tent in a big garden.
d) Viewers especially enjoy the good  a___________(ambiance) on the show.
e) Usually 16 to 34 year-olds are the hardest  a__________ (spectators) to attract.
f) Since the show started, shops have sold a lot of  p_______(articles) for baking.


-TO BAKE: hornear.
-ORDINARY PEOPLE: gente corriente.
-HOST: presentador anfitrión.
-TO LEAVE: dejar, abandonar.
-TO BROADCAST: emitir.
-RISKY: arriesgado.
-MOVE: mudanza,  trasladarse.
-DESPITE:  a pesar de.
-HIGH RATINGS: altos índices de audiencia.
-AMONG:  entre (varios, más de dos).
-VIEWER: espectador.
-FOOD MIXER: batidora.
-FORMER: ex, antiguo.
-TO BEAT: derrotar.
-MISTAKENLY: por equivocación.
-TO FORGIVE: perdonar.

a) started  /  b) popular  /  c) competition  /  d) atmosphere /  e) audience  /  f) products



viernes, 13 de abril de 2018


Hi my dear friends, the month of May approaches and so today we are going to see a destination to go to,  where Art and Nature join together! The destination and Nature  is the County of Derbyshire (UK) and the Art,  its artistic Wells!

Hola mis queridos amigos, el mes de mayo se acerca y por eso hoy vamos a ver un destino para ir, donde Arte y Naturaleza se unen. El destino y la Naturaleza es el Condado de  Derbyshire (Reino Unido)  y el Arte, sus artísticos "Pozos".

Info from:  Speak Up magazine.
Photos: welldressing.com  /  derbyshire-peakdistrict.com  /  megalithic.co.uk


The county of Derbyshire in the English Midlands has some interesting customs.  One of these is well dressing.  Well dressing is an old tradition that the people of Derbyshire still enjoy today.

We don't know the exact reason for decorating wells, but some people believe that it started as a pagan tradition.  Others think that it was a way of saying thank you for clean water supplies during the Black Death.  The Black Death spread throughout Derbyshire very quickly and it was difficult to find uncontaminated water.


When Chirstianity came to Derbyshire, people stopped well dressing because it was probably a pagan tradition, but in 1349 the villages wanted to revive it.

Tissington was the first village to start decorating its wells again.  Well dressing in Tissington is very important and on the first day there is a service outside St Mary's church.  After the service the vicar and the congregation walk round the village and bless each well.

In Etwall, well dressing day is a festival and there are lots of fun things to do, like a children's art competition and various food stalls.


Today most villages in the Midlands follow the well dressing custom and they still use traditional methods during the preparation.  First, an artist draws a picture on clay, then the people in the village colour it in. They use petals and flowers but also seeds, pieces of coloured glass and plastic.

The pictures are usually of important events that have happened in England. Because the villages are jealous of their designs, they plan them months before and keep them a secret for as long as possible.

In 2012, a lot of the designs were of the Olympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  It takes five or six days to complete a well dressing, but you can only see it for about a week, while the flowers stay fresh.


The best time to visit Derbyshire and the wells is from May to August, but some villages decorate their wells in September and even in December.

For more information about the well dressings, go to  www.welldressing.com



-MIDLANDS: región central.
-WELL: pozo.
-DRESSING: decoración.
-STILL: todavía.
-SUPLY: abastecimiento.
-BLACK DEATH: la Peste Negra.
-TO SPREAD:  extenderse.
-TO BLESS: bendecir.
-STALL: puesto, tenderete.
-CLAY:  arcilla.
-SEED: semilla.
-IT TAKES:  se tarda.




a) The best time to see Derbyshire's well dressings is in autumn ______
b) Well dressing might be an old pagan tradition ____
c) Towns try to publicise their well designs ___
d) Designs celebrate little-known events ____
e) Pictures usually depict a scene from medieval history ____
f) Well decorations last for about a week ____
g) A town may have about twenty well dressings ____
h) Villages in Derbyshire decided to revive the tradition in 1349 ____


a) grass / dress / decorate
b) custom / tradition / faith
c) dirty / clean / uncontaminated
d) village / centre / town
e) church / vicar / competition
f) flowers / clay / paint


a) False  b) True  c) False  d) False  e) True  f) True  g) True  h) True

a) grass  b) faith  c) dirty  d) centre  e) competition  f) flowers


martes, 27 de marzo de 2018

GOTHAM - BATMAN'S VIOLENT HOMETOWN / GOTHAM - Violenta ciudad natal y hogar de Batman.

Hi my dear friends, are you fond of comics? Today we are going to know a bit more about BATMAN and his violent hometown "GOTHAM".

Hola mis queridos amigos,¿sois aficionados a los comics? Hoy vamos a saber un poquito más sobre Batman y su violenta ciudad natal "GOTHAM".

Info:  Speak Up Magazine.
Photos: allposters.es / lists.20.minutos/ comics.books.com



Like all Batman movies, "The Dark Knight Rises" is set in Gotham CityGotham City is a major economic centre located on the northeast coast of America. It has major industries such as Ace Chemical Processing, Incorporated.  This is where the Joker fell into a vat of chemicals. There is the Diamond District, famous for its jewellers.  This district was ruled by the Penguin.  The Penguin also dominated the celebrated Fashion District.  Then there is the East End, where Italian and Irish criminals fight for control.  This is also the location of Crime Alley, where Batman's parents were murdered.


Another important landmark is Arkham Asylum. Gotham's insane super villains are imprisoned here. In contrast, we can go uptown to Gotham Heights. Here we find Wayne Manor, a stylish country home. Bruce Wayne (Batman's real name) lives here. It is also, of course, the location of Batman's famous base, the Batcave.


Is Gotham City based on New York?  Well, Gotham City is one of New York's nicknames.  In the 19th century the writer Washington Irving compared New York to a corrupt English village, Gotham in Nottinghamshire.  The people of this village pretended to suffer from a dangerous plague.  In this way they avoided visits from the taxman.  Irving was writing about the corruption of New York.


Many New York businesses adopted Gotham as their name.  Batman writer Bill Finger remembers: "Originally, I liked the names Civic City, Capital City and Coast City. Then I saw the name Gotham Jewellers in a New York phonebook. That was it: Gotham City!"

Finger didn't call it New York City because he wanted everyone to identify with the story.  Ironically director Christopher Nolan chose Chicago as the main location for his film "The Dark Knight Rises".


Gotham City's history is very similar to that of New York City.
It was founded by a Norwegian mercenary.  Later the English took control of the City.

New York City was founded by the Dutch. It was originally called New Amsterdam. During the American Revolutionary War, Gotham City was the location of an important battle. Gotham City appears in other DC comics:  the story of this battle takes place in the Tomahawk series, for example, New York was the site of the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776.

On the other hand, Gotham City has suffered terrible disasters. The city was hit by a virus called the Clench. The city survived, but immediately after this, there was a terrible earthquake. It measured 7.6 on the  Richter Scale.


Gotham was a village in a farming region in Nottinghamshire. The name Gotham comes from Old English: "gat" was goat and "ham" was home. So Gotham means "goat home!" (goat farm)

-TO WOUND: herir.
-TO SHOUT: gritar.
-MAJOR: importante.
-VAT: cuba, tanque.
-CHEMICAL: sustancia química.
-TO RULE: controlar, gobernar.
-LANDMARK: lugar emblemático.
-INSANE: loco.
-NICKNAME: apodo.
-TAXMAN: recaudador de impuestos.
-DUTCH: holandés.
-GOAT: cabra.



miércoles, 21 de marzo de 2018


Hi my dear friends, from time to time we read or listen to curious news or information. Today we're going to look at some of these curious things.

Hola mis queridos amigos, de vez en cuando leemos o escuchamos información o noticias curiosas. Hoy vamos a ver algunas de estas cosas curiosas.  

Info: Speak Up magazine.
Photos: psiquicos.org / makeuseofcom / amazon.es / huffingtonpost.co.uk/ newsweek.com


If you have ever experienced a lucid dream, that is, a dream that you knowingly experience and control, then you will be aware of its potential benefits.  In an attempt to potentially trigger such a dream, an online community surveyed its users, who reported being more likely to have a lucid dream after the morning alarm had been switched off.  This led to a study which found that you are more likely to have a lucid dream if you're woken up during the late stages of sleep and then drift back off again.  If you want to test out this theory  my advice would be to set two alarms -just in case.


A mini safe wallet designed by Ögon Designs allows you to carry and protect your most valuable personal effects: cash, credit cards, driver's licence...
The CODE WALLET features a 3 digit locking code and RFID blocking technology designed to deter pickpockets while also protecting your contactless cards from electronic data theft.


The death of a loved one is devastating, but BIOS URN offer a way of creating a natural homage and reminder of that person.
The Bios Incube acts as an urn, an incubator and a plantpot. It containes a seed that, nourished by human ashes, cultivates a tree which will grow in the name of your loved one.


Company Kuvée claims to have designed a bottle that keeps wine oxygen-free and so "fresh" for up to 30 days.
It consists of a sealed capsule with a valve that replaces the cork. An outer, sealed valve opens when a pin punctures it and reseals again after the wine has been poured.


A crutch by Mobility Design, bids to improve a user's quality of life by making crutches more comfortable.
The M&D crutch has flexible armbands that hold it to the arm, allowing the crutch to be used hands free, while concentrating the body weight on the elbows not on the armpits.



-KNOWLINGLY:  a sabiendas.
-TO TRIGGER: desencadernar.
-TO DRIFT...AGAIN: volver a dormirse.
-TO TEST OUT: comprobar.
-TO SET: poner.
-TO DETER: impedir, disuadir.
-PICKPOCKET: carterista.
-REMINDER: recuerdo.
-PLANTPOT: maceta.
-SEED: semilla.
-ASHES: cenizas.
-COMFY: cómodo.
-CRUTCH: muleta.
-TO BID: pretender.
-TO HOLD: ajustar, sujetar.
-ELBOW: codo.
-ARMPIT: axilar.


martes, 6 de marzo de 2018


Hi my dear friends, today we are going to know a bit more about National Parks and especially about the oldest National Park in the  USA :  "YELLOWSTONE".

Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy vamos a conocer un poquito más sobre Parques Nacionales y especialmente sobre el Parque  Nacional más antiguo de Estados Unidos: "Yellowstone".

Information: from Speak Up magazine.
Photos: alpinehouse.com  /  yellowstonenationalpark.com  / yellowstonepark.com / largestnationalpark.com


Millions of children love Yogi Bear.  This popular cartoon character was on TV for the first time in 1958, and has been in many comic books, TV shows and films.  He lives in Jellystone Park and often steals picnic baskets from the park's visitors, to the disapproval of Park Ranger Smith.  But did you know that the cartoon is based on a real place and on real people?


The place is Yellowstone National Park, which is the oldest national park in the US.  The people are the National Park Service Rangers, or simply park rangers. They work for the National Park Service (NPS), a US government agency that protects all of the country's national parks.  The NPS was 100 years old on August 25th last year so that was an important year in its history.


Before Yellowstone became a national park, it was simply another area of land in North America, situated over the biggest supervolcano on the continent. For 11,000 years, Native Americans lived there alone. Then in the early 1800s, explorers from Europe began to go there and document what they saw : hot springs, geysers, canyons, forests, rivers and animals, including of course bears like Yogi!


In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant officialy named this area of almost 3,500 square miles in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park.  A national park is an area that the government protects and preserves for public enjoyment. Today there are 59 national parks in the US, and many other protected monuments and properties.


So who's going to protect and preserve those millions of acres? The answer is:  park rangers. If you go to any national park in the US, they will probably be among the first people you see. They are indenfifiable by their iconic uniform, which includes a grey shirt, green pants and a hat. Their job is to educate people and enforce the law by helping visitors, for instance, and ensuring that they obey the rules.


If you want to become a park ranger, you must have a bachelor's degree or one year of pertinent work experience. You must also do special training.  Most people who are interested in the job begin by volunteering at a national park. Each year, more than 85,000 volunteers do more than three million hours of work in US national parks, so their role is also very important.



-YOSEMITE National Park (California)
-GRAND CANYON National Park (Arizona)
-CARLSBAD CAVERNS National Park (New Mexico)
-GLACIER National Park (Montana)
-HAWAII VOLCANOES National Park (Hawaii)


In general, national parks are very safe but accidents sometimes happen.

In April 2015 a 29-year-old man from Nevada tragically died after he fell 120 metres into the Grand Canyon.

In August, a French couple died of heat exhaustion while hiking in the desert at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.

Three days later, a grizzly bear killed a 63-year-old man in Yellowstone National Park.

But the biggest killer seems to be water. According to the National Park Service, 34 per cent of all deaths in the parks are caused by drowning, followed by falls (14 per cent) and motor vehicle accidents (12 per cent)


**Forget forests and desert:  New York's Statue of Liberty and Alcatraz Island off the coast of San Francisco are also officially National Parks.

**Sequoia National Park, California is home to the largest living singlestem tree (one trunk only) in the world, the wonderfully named "General Sherman".  The tree is 84 m tall.

**The biggest park is Wrangell-St Elias in Alaska.  It covers an area larger than Switzerland.

**Poor Delaware!! It's the only state in the country not to have a national park, monument or any other site in the federal system.

**White Sands National Monument in New Mexico contains the largest gypsum dune fields in the world. But because the park lies adjacent to a military installation, it is often closed to the public.



1 Choose the noun from the list that best fits the gap.
explorers  /  characters  /  programmes  /  parks  /  rangers  /  volunteers

a) Yogi Bear is one of the most popular cartoon _______ in the US.
b) The country has 59 national _______ of which Yellowstone is the oldest.
c) These are protected and preserved by the park __________, who work for the NPS.
d) They are joined by thousands of _________many in the hope of a permanent job.
e) Yellowstone was first documented by European _______ in the early 1800s.
f) A series of special ______ was planned to celebrate the NPS's 100th anniversary.

2 Park rangers have different responsibilities. Match these duties fo their meanings.

Protect        a) defend
Preserve      b) maintain
Enforce       c) uphold
                    d) apply
                    e) administer
                    f) shield
                    g) impose
                    h) sustain
                    i) guard


-SPRING: manantial.
-GYPSUM:  yeso.
-ENJOYMENT: disfrute.
-PANTS: pantalones (en inglés americano)
-TO ENFORCE:  hacer cumplir.
-LAW: ley
-BACHELOR'S DEGREE: licenciatura, grado.
-HEAT EXHAUSTION: golpe de calor.
-TO HIKE: ir de excursión, hacer una caminata.
-TO DROWN: ahogarse.



Exercise 1  a) characters  b) parks  c) rangers  d) volunteers  e) explorers  f) programmes
Exercise 2  PROTECT:  defend, shield, guard.  PRESERVE: maintain, uphold, sustain. ENFORCE: apply, administer, impose.



viernes, 9 de febrero de 2018


Hi my dear friends, have you ever watched "The Muppets"? I suppose so. Today we are going to  know more about these lovely "muppets" and his creator Jim Henson.

Hola queridos amigos, ¿habéis visto alguna vez Los Teleñecos? Supongo que sí.  Hoy vamos a conocer más sobre estos encantadores muñecos y sobre su creador Jim Henson.

Info: From Speak Up magazine.
Photos: retroland.com  /  muppet.central.com


 In British English a "muppet" is a slang term for a stupid person. It comes from the famous TV show of the same name. Technically, the original TV show has celebrated its 40th birthday in 2016 but the characters are even older. Some of them have been around for more than 60 years. 


The first Muppets were created in 1955, by a young American puppeteer called Jim Henson. The Muppets appeared in TV commercials and in a show called "Sam and Friends".  Later Henson worked on a more famous puppet show, "Sesame Street", but he wanted to change.  Sesame Street was for kids and Henson wanted to create a show with a more "adult" sense of humour.  He wanted to use the Muppet characters, and produced a pilot show but American TV executives weren't interested.  Strangely enough. a British executive, Lew Grade, was.  And so The Muppet Show was British, even though its characters, like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear were all American.  So was the show's format:  it took place in an old vaudeville theatre called the Benny Vandergast Memorial Theater.


The first episode was broadcast on September 5th, 1976. It was a big hit with fans of all ages. Celebrities loved to appear as guests on the show as it was good publicity. They included singers like Elton John, Diana Ross, ballet dancers, actors, etc.  The Muppet Show ran for five seasons until 1981. Muppet fans were sad when the show ended, but they were even sadder when its creator, Jim Henson died suddenly in 1990. He was 53.


The Muppets' popularity continued long after the show ended.  There were many repeats, many movies and many TV movies. Clearly, the  Muppet brand was still very strong and so a new Muppets TV show began two years ago.  It's called "The Muppets" and it's a parody of other TV "drama documentary" shows like Modern Family.

The Muppets' movies include: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Muppets from Space (1999), It's a Very Muppet Christmas Movie (2002), The Muppets Wizard of Oz (2005), The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014).



-CHARACTER: personaje.
-PUPETEER:  titiritero.
-COMMERCIAL: anuncio.
-TO BROADCAST: transmitir.
-HIT: éxito.


miércoles, 7 de febrero de 2018


Hi my dear friends, today we're going to read a short story. Do you like flying? If not, at least,  I hope you'll like the story!

Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy vamos a leer un relato corto.  ¿Os gusta volar? Si no es así, ¡Al menos, espero que os guste el relato!

FLYING ON HOME by Carl Schonbeck.

Gil Passy woke up sweating for the fourth consecutive morning. The month was July, the place Perugia, Italy and the reason was a recurring nightmare that seemed as real as the knock he now heard on his hotel door.

-"Gil, we're going down to breakfast!"
It was Billy Stern, the bass player in Gil's jazz quintet. He and pianist Connie Blackwell were usually the first at the breakfast table when they were on the road. In this case, the "road" was the Umbria Jazz Festival, where they would play that evening.

-"Order me a coffee," said Gil. "Be right down".

The plane had landed. It was a phrase Gil often repeated to himself. For someone as terrified of flying as he was, it was a comforting mantra. It helped him remember that planes take off and they land. Usually. It was the "usually" that gave him problems.

Gil pulled himself together and went down to breakfast. Along with Billy and Connie, there was the drummer Dan Freeman and saxophonist Vinnie Mariano.

The others noticed Gil's pale face and troubled expression.
-"What's wrong, Gil?" asked Dan. "You haven't been right since we arrived here, man."

Gil had considered telling his bandmates about the dream but it seemed too crazy. Even so, he needed to talk to someone. If you couldn't tell a group of jazz musicians something crazy, who could you tell?

-"I've been having this weird dream since we got over here. You know the kind that seem real? I'm sitting alone in this place...a combination of a jazz club and a funeral home. These guys are on stage playing old swing standars. They look like undertakers..."

The guys laughed at the joke and urged Gil to continue.

"Anyway, I'm sitting there and on the table there's an airline ticket. I look down at it and it's for the flight we came over on from Boston, SX 436. I'm looking at this ticket and I've got a really bad feeling, you know?  Just then the band leader says they're going to play "Flying on Home", the old song by Mojo Kirkland. He dedicates it to me and gives me this strange smile. Really creepy. I look down at the ticket again and when I look up there's a closed coffin in front of the stage. Then I wake up. The whole thing seems so real. Guys, I'm afraid we're not going to make it home tomorrow."

It was Connie who spoke. The ticket had been for the flight over, from Boston to Rome. Flight SX 435. There was nothing about the flight home.
"Yeah, that's the strange part", admitted Gil. "Why would it be the flight over and not the one back?" But still he worried.

The concert that evening was a success. Gil knew they'd be invited back the following year and that could only bring good things both in Europe and back home. If they got there.
-"Well Gil, if your dream means we're finished, at least we went out with a bang," joked Billy back at the hotel.
The following morning Gil awoke with a start. He'd had the dream for the fifth consecutive night. It had to mean something.

It wasn't until flight SX 436 was over the Atlantic that Gil spoke to anyone. Reasoning that most airline disasters happened either during takeoff or landing, he relaxed a little but not much. As the plane began its final approach to Boston's Logan Airport, Gil braced himself. In a moment it would all be over. Either he'd be on the ground or somewhere else.

It was the smoothest landing Gil could remember. The Gil Passy Quintet gathered its luggage and exchanged goodbyes. Gil was tired and wanted to get home. Fortunately, he didn't live far from the airport.

Crossing the arrival hall towards the exit Gil heard a familiar voice call to him. It was his old friend and fellow trumpet player Scott Hyler. He was catching a late flight to Paris to work on a film soundtrack. Would Gil feel like having a drink or two? He was tired but said yes.

The two musicians ordered drinks in the airport lounge. An hour quickly passed. Scott said: "You know Gil, just the other night I dreamt about you. We were on stage playing "Flying on Home" together. That's quite a coincidence, sin't it?"

Before Gil could respond, a cry of alarm went up from the bar. All eyes were fixed on the television. A plane had made a crash landing nearby. An apartment building had been struck...the details were certain. It was the flight from Boston to Rome SX 436.

Fortunately, the world would soon learn that all the passengers had survived the crash landing in a nearby field and the damage to the apartment had been relatively small. Only one top-floor had been destroyed. It was the apartment of one Gilvert Passy, who fortunately, in the fateful moment was having a drink with a friend and learning that having one's feet on the ground can be as dangerous as flying on home!!!


-TO URGE: rogar, instar.
-CREEPY: inquietante.
-COFFIN: ataúd.
-TO GO OUT WITH A BANG: salir a lo grande.
-WITH A START: de un sobresalto.
-BRACED HIMSELF: se puso tenso.
-SMOOTH: suave.
-TO GATHER: recoger.
-LUGGAGE: equipaje.
-TO STRIKE: golpear.

Photos by: elespanol.com  /  cazawonke.com


martes, 6 de febrero de 2018

TRINITY ISE III PRACTICE TESTS / Exámenes Trinity ISE III - Nivel C1.- Advanced.

Hi my dear friends, today we are going to show you  one of the the Trinity ISE III tests, the MULTI-TEXT reading. It is a C1 level (advanced)

Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy vamos a enseñaros uno de los exámenes correspondientes al Trinity ISE III, concretamente, el Multi Text reading. Es un nivel C1 (advanced) 

The whole reading and writing Trinity ISE III  C1 consists of:


* Task 1 - Long Reading (20 minutes)
* Task 2 - Multi-Text reading (20 minutes)
* Task 3 - Reading into Writing (40 minutes)
* Task 4 - Extended Writing (40 minutes)

Here you can see Task 2 - Multi-Text reading.

Questions 16-20
Read questions 16-20 first and then read texts A,B,C and D below the questions. As you read each text, decide which text each question refers to. Choose one letter A,B,C or D and write it on the lines below. You can use any letter more than once.

Which text:

16 gives details of how rapidly mobile phone photography has grown?  ___
17 gives an example of the changing role of media photographers? ___
18 explains the need to understand the equipment you are using? ___
19 explores the idea of the financial worth of particular image taken on a  mobile phone? ___
20 expresses the view that traditional photographers may need to change their ideas? ___


Professional photographers are becoming alarmed at the rise in popularity of photographs taken on mobile phones. An extreme view is that although phtotography is more popular than it ever was, with more people doing photography courses, the idea of photography as an art form is bein destroyed. Others think that what might be happening is simply that photography is moving on.

Photographers can no longer make large sums of money photographing events like weddings. We can photograph events like these ourselves, even if the results may not be as impressive as hiring an expensive prhotographer. And photo-journalism often face fierce competition from people who just happen to be passing a dramatic event takes place. These mobile phone photos taken by amateurs can capture the immediacy of the event.

Photographers as artists are also suffering grom people using apps that can enhance even the dullest of their shots. Admittedly, some of the results of this technique are pretty awful, but some mobile phone photos do have a great deal of artistic merit. The new mobile photography awards have produced some memorable images.

Perhaps what's actually happening is that photography is becoming more democratic and less exclussive, which could be seen as a positive development. In response, photographers may need to undergo a shift in attitude.
Pete Morgan.

Tips on taking effective photos on your phone.

Cameras on our phones are becoming more sophisticated all the time. It's possible that soon they will be able to produce photos to equal those of even the most expensive cameras. In the meantime, though, it's not enough just to use an app to enhance photos later. You need to control how your photo looks at the time when you're taking it.

1. Make sure you know how to control the focus and light exposure. You should use the camera software like it's second nature, so that you don't have to stop and thinks about it. You don't want to miss an event or the chance of a great shot while you're fidding with buttons.
2. Learn the basics of picture composition. This may sound boring, but it's vital, and it will make all the difference to your photos. You can find lots of advice about this online.
3. Do what photographers call "working the scene". Don't just take one shot, but try it from different angles or different distances. After all, the great advantage of digital photos is that you can delete any that don't work out as you intended.

Try following these tips and you could produce some really great images with your phone camera.


Jen: The rise of the mobile phone camera has definitely affected me professionally. I find that nowadays I'm having to work harder to persuade people to use my services.

Carl: What makes a huge difference for me is the fact that nowadays any image can be reproduced endlessly. It means that individual photos are losing their value. But people's everyday snapshots can hardly be called art, can they?

Jen: My most popular shot recently was one that I took on my mbile phone and shared on social media. It's had thousands of viewings so far. Imagine if someone liked it and bought it without knowing how it was taken. Would they think it was less valuable if they discovered later that it had been taken on my mobile phone?

Carl: Yes, maybe they would. It's certainly an interesting thought, isn't it? But surely the value of a photo should be for what it is, not the method used to take it.


The rise of the camera phone

*1990: 58 billion photos taken; 100% on traditional cameras. 2011: 380 billion photos taken; 1% on traditional cameras.

*Over 5 billion phones with cameras are in use.
*70% of all social media activity is based on photos.

*Only 1% of photos today are on film.
*Sales of all cameras fell by 45% between 2012 and 2014.

*1826: first photo taken.  By 2022: a predicted 7 trillion + photos.

Questions 21-15. Choose the five statements from A-H below that are TRUE according to the infomation given in the texts above. Write the letters of the TRUE statements on the lines below (in any order).

21 ___  A People are less willing to pay for photographs of special occasions by professionals.
22 ___  B Mobile phones are already producing photos of the same quality as the best cameras.
23 ___  C Camera sales are reported to have fallen by around a half in a two-year period.
24 ___  D Using an app to improve photos cannot make up for having some photographic skill.
25 ___  E People entering photography competitions have taken great photos using phones.
             F Carl believes that the main problem is the ease of copying pictures these days.
             G Journalists are finding that the use of mobile phones helps them to photograph dramatic                       events.
             H Pete Morgan thinks photos taken on mobile phones are all of similar quality.

Questions 26-30.  The summary notes below contain information from the texts. Find a number, word or phrase (maximum three words) from texts A,B,C or D to complete the missing information in gaps 26-30. Write your answers on the lines below.

Summary notes

Some facts
* 1826 - first photo taken. In 2022 over 7 trillion predicted.
* Over 5 billion people use camera phones.
* Photos represent over half of all (26) _________________________.

What photographers fear
* Photography as a form of art is being destroyed.
* Passers-by with cameras are (27) __________________for photo journalists.
* Apps available to (28) ___________________very boring photos.
* Value of photographs as works of art in question.

The Upsides
* People on the street (29) _________________of something happening at that moment.
* The quality of mobile phone photos is surprising -they can have a lot of (30)_______________.
* More people taking up creative photography.
* People are learning hot to take great photos.



16 D  /  17 A  /  18B  /  19 C  /  20 A
21 A  /  22 C  /  23 D  /  24 E  /  25 F
26 social media activity
27 (fierce) competition
28 enhance
29 capture the immediacy
30 artistic merit


lunes, 22 de enero de 2018

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. A GREAT SLOGAN. / Mantened la calma y sigamos adelante. ¡Un slogan genial!

Hi my dear friends. Have you ever seen the slogan "Keep calm and carry on"? Surely! So, today we're going to look at its origins! Do you think it's a current slogan? I hope you'll find this information interesting and curious!

Hola mis queridos amigos. ¿Habéis visto alguna vez el slogan o frase "Mantened la calma y sigamos adelante"? ¡Seguro que sí! Hoy vamos a ver sus orígenes. ¿Pensáis que es un slogan actual? Espero que  esta información os parezca interesante y curiosa.

Info: Speak Up magazine.
Photos: standard.co.uk / notonthehigheststreet.com/stashtea.com

**"Keep Calm and Carry On", a slogan dating back to the Second World War, is these days applied to merchandise including T-shirts, chocolate, deckchairs and mugs.


If you have been to Britain, you may have seen a red poster that says "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON". This message was typical of the nation's spirit during the Second World War. In actual fact, the poster was created in 1939 by the Ministry of Information and 2.5 million copies were printed. But the really strange thing is that the poster was never distributed. It was completely forgotten about until the year 2000, when a copy was found in a second-hand bookshop in Northumberland!


It was now out of copyright and so the bookshop's owner made copies and started selling them. It was a success and in 2007 another entrepreneur, a former TV producer named Mark Coop, set up a rival company called keepcalmandcarryon.com which sells posters, T-shirts, mugs and other forms of merchandise.

But why has this forgotten war slogan become so popular? Mark Coop says that it's become so popular because it's such a fantastic message that is applicable to so many different situations, for instance: at work, in exams, at home, etc. "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" covers a lot ot areas, it's definitely a good message!!!


It's a fact that the sales have improved during the recent economic crisis because there's always some situation associated with the slogan. A lot of people associated it with the terrorist risk that we were facing, the recession, health problems and different bad situations in general.

Moreover, the simplicity of the message is its success.  The greatest thing of "Keep calm and carry on" is that it's so simple and straight to the point. Just five very simple words that reassure and get a message across!  It is like the old saying: "Less is more" because you don't really need say any more than that, or any long-winded message; straight to the point, keep it simple!

So, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON everbody!  Everything has a solution!



-TO CARRY ON: seguir adelante.
-OUT OF: libre de.
-ENTREPRENEUR: empresario.
-TO SET UP: montar, iniciar.
-MUG: taza.
-TO IMPROVE: mejorar.
-STRAIGHT TO THE POINT: directo al grano.
-LONG-WINDED: extenso.