Sweet sorrow

I have been indulging in HBO series of late, namely The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies.  The former piqued my interest as it is based on a book written by Margaret Atwood that I studied at high school.  The cast of the latter drew me in and the soundtrack is seriously addictive.

Both series are extremely hard-hitting and difficult to watch at times, but well worth it.  The Handmaid’s Tale, with its dystopian vision of the future, juxtaposes elements of the future with outdated ideas taken to the extreme.  Big Little Lies contrasts the public and the private, perception versus portrayal.  The title itself is a contrast; an oxymoron. There are numerous oxymorons that have made it into common language and we don’t even realise.  There is a really good list here.

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Mad as a March hare

Yesterday’s CAE class had an activity involving a borderline psycopathic boss.  They completed the activity fabulously as always, but what became evident was a lack of vocabulary to describe this delightful boss character.  English has a wealth of descriptive language for this so let’s crack on with some.

In the title you have the similie to be as mad as a March hare.  March is mating season for hares so they get a little bit more excited than usual.  Have you read or seen Alice in Wonderland?  Notice the hare is a little odd?  Well that’s why.  This story also gives us the similie as mad as a hatter.  The hatter is totally bonkers, nutty, nuts, a nutter, a nut job, crazy, cuckoo, loopy, a fruit loop, a fruit cake… and the list goes on. Continue reading

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Tomorrow is 11th November and the day on which we traditionally commemorate soldiers who have fallen in battle, usually with a minute’s silence at 11am.  The poppy is a poignant symbol, representing Flanders fields in France, where many died in the trenches in WW1.  Click on this link  to read John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.   Continue reading

Liar liar, pants on fire!

This post is two pronged. Firstly, I wanted to share an interesting TED talk related to children lying and whether we are good at spotting it. Kang Lee’s talk is here for you to view.  Apart from being interesting, it is good one to watch thinking about word formation.  If you watch it with English subtitles you can stop every now and again to check that you know the various forms of the words he uses.

Secondly, yesterday was the 5th November and in England Bonfire night is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires. Continue reading

Food for thought

I’m currently enjoying season two of Chef’s Table, a Netflix series that goes into the kitchens and lives of some of the best chefs worldwide at the moment.  It really makes you think about the many concepts related to eating, cooking and food production.  It also gives you a glimpse of the weird and wonderful ingredients available around the world.  Two chefs so far have prepared dishes with ants and praised them for their rich flavour.  Why do we have such an aversion to eating creepy crawlies? Will they be the food of the future as many people say? Hhhmmm… Continue reading

Turn the ultimate fiend into a friend

To mark tomorrow being Halloween and Netflix releasing season two of their spooky series, Stranger things, I thought we could look at some expressions using the word devil.  Take a look at the following phrases and have a ponder as to what they could mean:

  1. Talk/speak of the devil
  2. The devil’s in the details
  3. Devilishly handsome
  4. Better the devil you know
  5. Play devil’s advocate
  6. Between the devil and the deep blue sea
  7. The devil finds work for idle hands

Continue reading