easy approach to phrasal verbs


Publicat el 30 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
THE WAVES:  page 7

In this page, there are fivephrasals verbs: burst out, spread up, screw up, and carry off.

To burst out
Meaning: suddenly say or shout something
Text: ” … to comfort her when she bursts out”
USE: Emphasis

To spread out:
Meaning: put in a wide area
Text: ”  Susan has spread her anguish out”
USE: distribution

To screw up:
Meaning: make something into a smaller shape by squeezing it.
Text:” put down  your handkerchief screwed”
USE: completion

To carry off:
Meaning: to dial successfully with  something difficlut
Text: ” the beetle too carrying off ...”
USE: in a outward but unspecified direction

To break up:
Meaning: break something into pieced
Text:” …will break up thus knot…”
USE: completion


door with her handkerchief screwed into a ball. She was not crying, but her eyes, which were so beatiful, were narrow as cats’eyes before they spring. I shall follow her, Neville. I shall go gently nbehind her, to be at hand, with my curiosity, to comfort her when she bursts out in a rage and thinks, “I am alone.”
   “Now she walks across the field with a swing, nonchalantly, to deceive us. Then she comes to the dip; she thinks she is unseen; she beginsto run with her fists clenched in front of her. Ner nails meet in the ball of her pocket-handkerchief. She is making for the beech woods out of the light. She spreads her arms as she comes to them and takes to the  shade like a swimmer. But  she is blind after the light and trips and flings herself down on the roots under the trees, where the light seems to pant in and out, in and out. The branches heave up and down. There is agitation and trouble there. There is gloom. The light is fitful. There is anguish here. The roots make a skeleton on the ground, with dead leaves heaped in the angles. Susan has spread her anguish out. Her pocket handkerchief is laid on the roots of the beech trees and she sobs, sitting crumpled where she has fallen.”
   “I saw her kiss him,” said Susan. “I looked between the leaves and saw her.She danced in flecked with diamonds light as dust. And I am squat, Bernard, I am short. I have eyes that look close to the ground and see insects in the grass. The yellow warmth in my side turned to stone I saw Jinny kiss Louis. I shall eat grass and die in a ditch in the brown water where dead leaves have rotted.”   “I saw you go,” said Bernard. “As you passed the door of the tool-house I heard you cry. I am unhappy.” I put down my knife. I was making boats out of firewood with Neville. And my hair is untidy, because when Mrs Constable told me to brush it there was a fly in a web, and I asked, “Shall I free the fly? Shall I let the fly be eaten?” So I am late always. My hair is unbrushed and these chips of wood stick in it. When I heard you cry I followed you, and ssaw you put down your handkerchief, screwed up, with its rage, with its hate, knotted in it. But soon that will cease. Our bodies are close now. You hear me breathe. You see the beetle too carrying  off a leaf on its back. It runs this way, then that way, so that even your desire while you watch the beetle, to possess one single thing (it is Louis now), must waver, like the light in and out of the beech leaves; and then words, moving darkly in the  depths of youyr mind. will break up this knot of hardness screwed in your pocket-handherchief.”
   “I love,” said Susan, “and I hate. I desire one thing only., My eyes are hard. Jinny’s eyes break into a thousand lights. Rhoda’s are like


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Publicat el 30 de juny de 2014 per ealonso

To creep up:

Meaning: if something creeps up, it happens slowly or gradually so that you do no notice it happening.

USE: basic



Dylan Drephal and Bryan Townsend fishing for smallmouth bass in mid-June along the Lake Michigan shore north of Ephraim, Wis., where the water is at least a foot higher than it was a year ago.CreditMark Kauzlarich for The New York Times
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EPHRAIM, Wis. — Like a slowly draining bathtub, this sparkling inlet of Lake Michigan had seen its clear, cool waters recede for years.

Piers that once easily reached the water had gone high and dry. Fishermen did not dare venture into the shallow water looking for smallmouth bass, lest their propellers scrape bottom. And residents of Ephraim, a village on a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, were so alarmed that the county paper asked in a headline in April of last year, “Will the Great Lakes Rise Again?”

But after reaching historic lows in 2013, water levels in the Great Lakes are now abruptly on the rise, a development that has startled scientists and thrilled just about everybody with a stake in the waterfront, including owners of beach houses, retailers in tourist areas and dockmasters who run marinas on the lakeshore.

Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior are at least a foot higher than they were a year ago, and are expected to rise three more inches over the next month. Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are seven to nine inches higher than a year ago.


Michelle and Marty Maas in Door County, Wis., this month with their children, from left, Mylan, Maverick and Mackenzie. The surprising rise of the Great Lakes has followed years of receding. CreditMark Kauzlarich for The New York Times

In Ephraim (pronounced EE-frum), a town on the waters of Green Bay that in summer becomes a pristine playground for sailing, swimming and kayaking, residents have marveled at the lake’s comeback, as the water has risen to a level that they had not seen in close to 15 years.

“When the water was going down for years, we all wondered, ‘How far is it going to go?’ ” said Stuart Chomeau, 58, as he peered at his dock, which he said now has close to 30 feet more water under it than it did last year. “This is a welcome change.”

Norma and John Bramsen, who live in Baileys Harbor, Wis., on the shore of Lake Michigan, said the returning lake levels had been the talk of the town all spring and early summer, after more than a decade of their watching the frustratingly low waters recede from their beachfront home.

“It’s been quite dramatic, actually,” Mr. Bramsen said. “Every time you lose a foot in the lake level, it means that the lake is that much farther away. We’ve been wringing our hands over this for years.”

Scientists say the reversal of fortunes for the lakes is partly a result of the most bone-chilling winter in memory for many Midwesterners. The thick and long-lasting ice cover on the lakes kept the water colder and slowed evaporation. Heavy snowfall and a rainy spring allowed the lakes to make even more gains.


Many resorts and hotels in Ephraim, Wis., have private waterfront property.CreditMark Kauzlarich for The New York Times

“We’ve had a rebound that we haven’t seen in many, many years,” said Gene Clark, a coastal engineer with the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute in Superior, Wis. “We’ve been historically below average, and now we are finally back to above-average water levels. At this time last year, I was talking to Wisconsin state legislators about what was happening, why the levels were so low and what could the State of Wisconsin do about it. It was very much a crisis.”

The International Joint Commission, a group with members from the United States and Canada that advises on water resources, completed a five-year study in April 2013 concluding that water levels in the lakes were likely to drop even farther, in part because of the lack of precipitation in recent years brought on by climate change. The low lake levels in the last decade or more caused a host of frustrating and expensive problems: shoreline erosion, parched wetlands and disruptions to marinas along the Great Lakes. Homeowners on Georgian Bay of Lake Huron complained bitterly that the low water had marred their once-idyllic cottages.

Countless marinas on Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan resorted to dredging their harbors in recent years, a messy and time-consuming process. At the Baileys Harbor marina, operators bought their own dredger three years ago, a $60,000 purchase, and have been forced to dredge repeatedly so that boats could maneuver in and out.

“We were getting very worried,” said Jim Ahlen, the assistant harbor master. “Boaters were saying they were going to have to find another marina. We’re losing customers that way. The charter boats were looking elsewhere. It was tough scratching up here for a lot of years.”

This year, Mr. Ahlen said with relief, the marina called off plans to dredge again. The Washington Island Ferry Line, which transports passengers and cars dozens of times a day across a narrow passage known as Porte des Morts (named by French explorers for its perilous waters), had difficulty maneuvering its boats through low waters. Last year, operators said they might have to discontinue winter ferry service because of the water levels, which would have effectively stranded residents on the island.


Dave Nelson, in his office, is an owner of South Shore Pier in Ephraim. “It’s a relief to see so much water now,” he said. CreditMark Kauzlarich for The New York Times

“Everybody was panicking,” said Bill Schutz, the office manager of the ferry. “Looking around now, it’s unbelievable how much the water has come up.”

Keith Kompoltowicz, the chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers, said this year’s higher lake levels would allow shipping to operate more efficiently, since freighters could carry heavier loads.

“Marina owners are able to sell more boat slips — they don’t have to worry about whether a slip is deep enough for a certain boat,” he said. “Recreational boaters can access more locations. It’s been a while since we’ve seen water levels react this way.”

Residents on the lakes are holding their breath with hope that the gains of recent months will not be undone. Climatologists predict that the levels will rise even more in the coming months, following the natural cycle in which levels are at their lowest in late winter, rise throughout the spring and finally hit a peak in late summer.

Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Lake Michigan and Lake Huron had been in a period of persistently low water levels for 15 years, since a rapid decline in the late 1990s. He called the rise from the records lows of December 2012 and January 2013 “remarkable.”

But, he added, it is difficult to predict water levels more than six months in advance, because of all the factors like precipitation that can influence them.

“It obviously puts a lot of strain on people,” Mr. Gronewold said of the uncertainty and the shifting water levels. “When the water gets very high, we get stressed. We don’t like it when houses are falling in the lakes. And when it’s very low, ships can’t move. But the natural variability of the system is important to the health of the coastal ecosystem.”

An owner of the South Shore Pier in Ephraim, Dave Nelson, surveyed the harbor, where pontoon boats, sailboats and paddle boards were neatly stowed. “It’s a relief to see so much water now,” he said. “We just hope it stays this way.”

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Publicat el 29 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
Today we begin to study the use of the particle “OFF” in  three phrasal verbs:

These verbs are: To cut off, to drop off, to get off

USES                                                     EXAMPLES
1. in an outward & downward direction       The bus stopped and we got off
2. in a generally outward direction               The aeroplane took off
3. in an outward but unspecified direction  She went off on her own
4. separation                                                     He cut some slices off the sausage
5. delineation, demarcation                           They marked the place off with white                                                                              paint
6. termination, elimination                            They called the meeting off


To cut off:

Meaning: to remove something by cutting it
“Cut the tops off the carrots” 
USE: separation

To drop off: 

Meaning: to take someone top a place in a car, usually without getting out of the car yourself
“I’m  driving into town – can I drop you off somewhere?
USE: in an outward and downward direction

To get off:

Meaning: to leave a bus, a plane or train
“The bus stopped and we got off”
USE:in an downward and outward direction

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Publicat el 29 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
Brazil’s Neymar STEPS UP against Chile to keep World Cup dream alive

meaning of step up: to increase something

USE: upward, completion+ metaphorical


Brazil’s Neymar steps up against Chile to keep World Cup dream alive

Hosts far too reliant on their talismanic No10 but the nerveless, feather-footed star delivers yet again on the big stage
Brazil's forward Neymar reacts
Neymar buries his head in the turf as Brazil beat a distraught Chile team on penalties in the World Cup second round. Photograph: Gustavo Andrade/AFP/Getty Images

Oh, Brazil. The hosts are into the quarter-finals of their World Cup of World Cups after beating Chile on penalties at the end of a thrilling, gruelling 1-1 draw in Belo Horizonte. Brazil went to the well one more time here, trusting that this muscular team garnished with a single brilliantly creative No10 would have enough teeth to gouge their way through into the last eight. In the event it took the blind emotional inspiration of a penalty shootout, although even then Neymar managed to take a scene?stealing supporting role to the star man Júlio César, who saved two of Chile’s penalties.

As the Estádio Mineirão erupted in a rolling roar of relief and joy after Gonzalo Jara’s decisive missed kick, Neymar collapsed and lay face down in the centre circle. It is to be hoped when Fifa finally settles its eight-team guest list for the World Cup quarter-finals they remember to add the now-standard “plus 10” to Neymar’s invite.

If Brazil’s limitations were exposed by an impressive Chile team, they were at least familiar ones. Indeed these limitations have been evident through the group stage and were clear in the opening half of the opening match of this World Cup. In a sense Brazil have only one problem: they have only one Neymar. If Neymar takes a breath, as he did here after a fine first half, who steps up to make this team play? The question is yet to be answered.

To his credit, faced with yet another biggest game of his adolescent career, Neymar was sublime in the first half in Belo Horizonte and for a while Brazil’s chief creative sprite looked capable of driving them to victory again, like some unflappable junior airline pilot landing a rickety jumbo in a cornfield. Wherever Brazil’s seleçao finally come grinding to a halt at this tournament, Neymar has been an unreserved success already: not just because of his regular decisive contributions but because they have arrived under such multilayered pressure, both tactical – he is Brazil’s only Neymar – and in the broader scheme of this World Cup.

Clearly Neymar is that rare thing, a human being able to function with unblinking focus, without snags or corners or doubts, while allowing the world’s scrutiny to simply wash over him. This balls-of-steel resilience was there right at the end as he stepped up to take what became Brazil’s final penalty, with Chile level in the shootout. As the ghosts of Roberto Baggio, Zico and the rest circled about him, Neymar produced – this kid – another trademark Brazilian paradinha penalty, stuttering, jinking and then slotting into the corner.

Endings aside, what a match this was, a whirl of attacking intent and reckless midfield energy. Were Chile playing brilliantly, or slightly wildly, you wondered at times? They are a team that can veer from one to the other without warning, although as the game slid into its last 20 minutes of normal time they seemed to have worn Brazil down decisively in a horribly anxious Estádio Mineirão.

By that stage, and indeed from around the hour mark, Neymar had faded a little into the fringes, as he always had to at some stage. A single brilliant footballer is a still a single footballer, and in Chile Brazil faced a team set up to close down the space in which Neymar likes to work. On the eve of the match Jorge Sampaoli had warned that his players would follow Neymar wherever he went on the pitch. How would he respond? It is a familiar question at this World Cup, to which the answer has been reassuringly the same throughout.

Before kick-off the Mineirão’s low slung concrete bowl was coloured yellow for this occasion, with a collage of Chilean red squares daubed around its bulging tiers. From the start Neymar slotted straight into the central No10 position that has been his less favoured lot here, although his first involvement after four minutes saw him sandwiched to the floor in midfield, Gary Medel leaning in and dropping him with a high-speed judo-style fall. Brazil drew breath as Neymar left the pitch, had his knee sprayed and returned, hobbling, to the action.

Fernandinho had been billed before kick off as a universal panacea for pretty much every problem in this juddering Brazil team. With him restored to the team, the view was that the full-backs could push forward unhindered. The link between midfield and attack would be restored. Here was something new: the magic bullet midfielder. In the event, Fernandinho harried throughout his hour on the pitch and he did play closer to the attack, looking on after 10 minutes as Neymar crafted one of those lovely, round-the-corner flicks, angling his foot to play in Hulk who fell in the area with the chasing Chile defender seeming to catch his foot.

When Neymar plays Brazil play, and Neymar had begun to play. It was from his corner Brazil scored, Thiago Silva flicking on and a combination of David Luiz’s knee and, finally, a lunge by Jara putting the ball in the net.

By now the Mineirão was in a state of uproar as Neymar took Hulk’s fine chest touch and simply ran past Francisco Silva, the Chilean doing a decent impression of a man running the wrong way along an airport travelator, but his left-foot shot was scuffed. Moments later Neymar was bullied again, this time by Arturo Vidal, who body-slammed him into a full somersault. Some mitigation for Vidal here: Neymar is made of feathers and weighs less than a shuttlecock. But he was taking something of a beating in a concussive game.

After the excellent Alexis Sánchez had equalised for Chile, again it was Neymar rousing a suddenly fretful stadium, turning to the crowd in a plea for more noise, more energy, a cranking on the Neymar-throttle. From a careful start he had emerged as the dominant player of the half, familiarly relentless, and also at times showing that brilliantly subtle gift for playing a delayed pass to take an opponent out of the game, like a rugby league off-load in the tackle. If only Brazil had two of him. Or even, frankly, one and a half.

Hulk had some good moments but at times alongside him Neymar looks like a precocious little Premier League football scholar moonlighting up front for a Sunday league team. And as he faded in the second half so too did Brazil, although not before Hulk had put the ball in the net only to see the goal disallowed harshly for handball. From the most favourable angle Howard Webb could argue a biceps was involved, but penalties at least saved us from the worst of another gruelling refereeing storm.

After which, Jô missed a sitter in front of goal and Brazil’s midfield was out-passed at times before a late rally with Chile’s players out on their feet. Brazil will contemplate a quarter-final in Fortaleza with a huge sense of relief but also concern. Neymar-dependence is nothing new. He is a fine player and it is only natural Brazil depend on him. But with Oscar less impressive than he has been, Neymar resembled at times a hopeful dash of flair tacked on to a knot of obstructive muscle, like a silk hat on a nightclub bouncer.

For all that, this is not the moment to ponder too deeply the reasons for Brazil’s failure to bloom a supporting class of creative talents, but rather to applaud once again the alluring sense of steel in Brazil’s lone, feather-footed attacking star.

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Publicat el 27 de juny de 2014 per ealonso

World Cup 2014: a colourful carnival 

Phrasal verb of the day: KNOCK OUT

Meaning: to defeat a team

USE: Basic , elimination

Note: a knockout is the noun formed from the phrasal veb

World Cup 2014: a colourful carnival of football that could be the best ever

The goals record for the modern era could be broken in Brazil as the world hopes the drama will continue in the KNOCKOUT stage
Brazil fans on Copacabana beach watch the match against Cameroon which Brazil won 4-1.
Brazil fans on Copacabana beach watch the match against Cameroon which Brazil won 4-1. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sometimes, it is the little moments from these tournaments that linger in the memory. The night this week, for example, when a group of 20 or so Mexicans made their way along Copacabana, past all the battered old camper vans parked on Avenida Atlântica, calling in at every open-air bar along the strip to gesture they wanted total silence. It took some doing but eventually they managed it. They were bare-chested, clutching beer cans, rocking the Red Hot Chili Peppers look, and once they had everyone’s full attention they shattered their own silence. It was the loudest, most impassioned rendition of the Himno Nacional Mexicanotheir audience may ever hear.

That stretch of sand has become a kaleidoscope of different coloured flags and football kits over the past few weeks. A lot of the vans, with Chilean ribbons fluttering from the aerials and windows, have navigated their way across the Andes. Others have come from Argentina, decked out in the colours of the Albicelestes and hired out as self-catering hotels. Kids from the favelas offer bags of nuts and home-made caipirinha. Street-sellers hawk Neymar tops. It’s always Neymar. There are even dogs in Rio de Janeiro wearing Neymar jackets.

Goalposts rise from the sand and it does not take long, watching those games of four-against-four, one-touch headers and volleys, back and forth over the nets, to understand what happened to David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers when Manchester United came here in 2000. Some of the locals challenged them to a game. “Me, Gaz, Becks and Scholesy,” Phil Neville recalls. Four England internationals who finished their careers with a combined 325 caps. “We got beat 21-6.”

Brazil, with its “pais do futebol” banners, has certainly lived up to expectations even if, every so often, there are still reminders of the other side to this tournament. At the Maracanã the other day, they could be seen scrubbing off the latest wave of anti-Fifa graffiti from the side of the stadium.

Then there are the vast numbers of riot police who suddenly appear in the side streets when Brazil are playing. The security outside the Copacabana Palace hotel, where various Fifa officials have been staying, tells its own story. Brazil play Chile in Belo Horizonte on Saturday in the first of the knockout matches and nobody here can be sure what will happen if Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team are eliminated from their own competition.

For now, though, there is a happy feel to the World Cup and it is shaping up to be the tournament the sport wanted. There was always going to be wonderful colour and energy at the home of jogo bonito but a great tournament needs great football before anything else and this one will be a classic if the vibrancy of the group stages extends to the next fortnight.

When Jan Vertonghen put the ball past the South Korean goalkeeper, Kim Seung-gyu, in the Arena Corinthians on Thursday, it took the number of goals to 136. In South Africa four years ago, it was 101 at this stage. In 2006, it was 117. There were 130 in 2002 and 126 in 1998, when the current format began and the final number, 171, was the highest goal-count in the history of the competition. At the current rate, this tournament is well on course to establish a new record.

It has been the tournament when Thomas Müller, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben have confirmed their reputations, James Rodríguez has fully announced himself on the highest stage and Lionel Messi has set about trying to end the argument once and for all about whether he warrants his place alongside Maradona and Pelé as football’s elite.

Everybody knew Messi had the gifts to make Argentina formidable opponents. What we have seen so far is hard evidence that he intends to sprinkle his authentic greatness on the tournament. He still might not emulate the mind-bending brilliance of Maradona in 1986 – who could? – but he is face to face with the best chance he will ever get and so far he has played like someone who understands this is his time.

Six of the eight Latin American teams have made it through to the knockout stages, in keeping with the lesson of history when the World Cup is held on this continent. By winning their groups, Argentina and Brazil have also conjured up the possibility of the dream final on 13 July.

Argentina face Switzerland in São Paulo on Tuesday, with Belgium or USA to follow in the quarter-finals, and Alejandro Sabella’s team will take some stopping. Brazil have also played with distinction, though perhaps too reliant on one man bearing in mind that gem of a line from Tostão this week. Brazil, he said, had two strategies. “First, give the ball to Neymar. Second, give the ball to Neymar.”

Fortunately for Brazil, Neymar has played as though oblivious to the pressures, to the extent that it has begun to feel like his fitful first season for Barcelona must have been a trick of our imaginations. All the same, Brazil will have their work cut out to reach the quarter-finals bearing in mind the part Chile have already played in Spain’s downfall and that defining headline – “The End” – in Marca last week.

Only six of the 13 European teams who began the competition are still here, which is probably the spread that might have been anticipated even if few would have imagined Greece and Switzerland making it through rather than Spain and Italy.

Of the five African sides, meanwhile, Nigeria and Algeria have reached the next round, but three wins from a combined 15 games is a revealing statistic. There was something wonderfully entertaining about that passage of play after Ghana had taken the lead against Germany in Fortaleza last weekend and started showboating to the soundtrack of the crowd’s olés.

Equally, their tournament ended in enough chaos to reinforce the theory that African football has found it harder closing the gap than they might have hoped, or expected, when Roger Milla was wiggling his hips by Italian corner flags back in 1990. In fairness, they could probably say the same of the England team.

Looking ahead, there is the potential for a France-Germany quarter-final in Rio on Friday if they can overcome the two remaining African nations. Holland will have to hope they did not peak too soon with their dismantling of Spain, but look a good bet to reach the last four. Louis van Gaal’s team take on Mexico in Fortaleza on Sundaytomorrow and the winners will face Costa Rica or Greece in the final eight.

Holland’s performances so far certainly epitomise the spirit of the competition, in stark contrast to what happened in 2010, when they lost the plot and the final. Again, the refereeing has been erratic, but not as ghastly, perhaps, as might have been suspected after the way the Japanese official, Yuichi Nishimura, scarred the opening game between Brazil and Croatia.

That just leaves Luis Suárez and his apparent determination to leave this World Cup with a streak of notoriety, following on from Harald Schumacher in 1982, Frank Rijkaard in 1990 and Zinedine Zidane in 2006, and meaning a decent windfall for the 100 or so people who were tempted by 175-1 odds and placed bets on the Uruguayan biting someone.

The front page of O Globo on Friday was taken up with a long-range shot of Suárez, on his hotel balcony, tearfully embracing a member of Uruguay’s backroom staff and the headline Partiu! (Gone!). In several newspapers worldwide, including the Guardian, the main picture showed tourists on Copacabana queuing up by a billboard of Suárez, teeth bared, to mock up photos of him biting various parts of their bodies.

The people of Uruguay will not be trying to lever off the halo they have fastened to Suárez’s head and their complaints will go up in volume again if they cannot get past Colombia at the Maracanã on Saturday to face the winners of the Brazil-Chile tie. Yet there is already the sense that the rest of the tournament is ready to move on. Too much has been happening elsewhere.

The World Cup has been having too much fun to be fixated on someone as light in the head as he is on his feet.

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Publicat el 27 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
Following the study of phrasal verbs with the THE PARTICLE “ON”,here we have

the last three “ON” phrasal verbs from the Top 100 list:


USE                                                                   EXAMPLE
1. touching                                                      She lifted the box on
2. indefinite continuation                             She hurried on (without stopping) 

To hold on:

Meaning: to wai
“We’ll hold on another minute, then we’ll have to go” 
USE : continuation

To put on :

Meaning:  to cover a part of your body with a piece of clothing
“Dorothy put her coat on and went out”

To turn on:

Meaning:  to make something start working
“Is your computer turned on?” 
USE: continuation

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Publicat el 27 de juny de 2014 per ealonso

A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar HAVE BEEN TAKING OVER the countryside near his former ranch – no-one quitre knows waht to do with them

To take over: 
Meaning : to take control of something 
USE: completion (thoroughness)


Pablo Escobar’s hippos: A growing problem

A hippo opening its mouth

A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar HAVE BEEN TAKING OVER the countryside near his former ranch – and no-one quite knows what to do with them.

It was in 2007, 14 years after Escobar’s death, that people in rural Antioquia, 200 miles north-west of Bogota, began phoning the Ministry of Environment to report sightings of a peculiar animal.

“They found a creature in a river that they had never seen before, with small ears and a really big mouth,” recalls Carlos Valderrama, from the charity Webconserva.

He went to look, and found himself faced with the task of explaining to startled villagers that this was an animal from Africa. A hippopotamus.

“The fishermen, they were all saying, ‘How come there’s a hippo here?'” he recalls. “We started asking around and of course they were all coming from Hacienda Napoles. Everything happened because of the whim of a villain.”

Start Quote

It’s just like this crazy wildlife experiment that we’re left with”

Rebecca LewisonSan Diego University

Situated halfway between the city of Medellin and Bogota, the Colombian capital, Hacienda Napoles was the vast ranch owned by the drugs baron Pablo Escobar. In the early 1980s, after Escobar had become rich but before he had started the campaign of assassinations and bombings that was to almost tear Colombia apart, he built himself a zoo.

He smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippos – three females and one male. And with a typically grand gesture, he allowed the public to wander freely around the zoo. Buses filled with schoolchildren passed under a replica of the propeller plane that carried Escobar’s first US-bound shipments of cocaine.

While Don Pablo masterminded the operations of the Medellin Cartel from his villa on the hill, the locals gazed at the strange animals and even stranger concrete dinosaurs that Escobar built for his son.

The giant dinosaurs at Hacienda Napoles

When Hacienda Napoles was confiscated in the early 1990s, Escobar’s menagerie was dispersed to zoos around the country. But not the hippos. For about two decades, they have wallowed in their soupy lake, watching the 20sq km (8 sq mile) park around them become neglected and overgrown – and then transformed back into a zoo and theme park, complete with water slides. All the while, the hippos themselves thrived, and multiplied.

Start Quote

There are people saying, ‘Oh why do you have to castrate them? Just let them be – castrate the politicians’”

Carlos Valderrama

Nobody knows how many there are. The local environmental authority, which bears responsibility for them, estimates between 50 and 60, with most living in the lake at the park. But 12 are known to have paddled past the flimsy fence and into the nearby Magdalena River – and maybe many more.

Here, conditions for hippos are idyllic. The river is slow moving and has plenty of shallows, perfect for larger animals which don’t actually swim but push themselves off banks, gliding through the water. Moreover, the region never experiences drought, which tends to act as a natural brake on the size of herds in Africa.

How much the hippos like Colombia can be judged from how much sex they are having. In Africa they usually become sexually active between the ages of seven and nine for males, and nine and 11 for females, but Pablo Escobar’s hippos are becoming sexually active as young as three. All the fertile females are reported to be giving birth to a calf every year.

Carlos Valderrama looking in a hippo's mouthCarlos Valderrama may be the only vet to have castrated a hippo in the wild

“It’s just like this crazy wildlife experiment that we’re left with,” says San Diego University ecologist Rebecca Lewison. “Gosh! I hope this goes well.”

Valderrama, whose job until recently included watching over the hippos in the Magdalena, has seen animals up to 250km (155 miles) away from Hacienda Napoles. Fishermen are terrified of the three-tonne herbivores, he says. At night, the animals roam the countryside, wandering into ranches, eating crops and occasionally crushing small cows.

Colombian people, he believes, are more vulnerable than Africans because they see hippos as cuddly, “floppy” animals. The respected El Colombiano newspaper recently reported that children in a school near Hacienda Napoles are sharing a pond with the animals, and having direct contact with hippo calves at home.

“My father brought a little one home once,” an unnamed girl told the paper. “I called him Luna (Moon) because he was very sweet – we fed him with just milk.” Another child, a boy, told the paper: “My father has captured three. It is nice because you have a little animal at home. We bottle-feed them because they only drink milk. They have a very slippery skin, you pour water and they produce a kind of slime, you touch them and it’s like soap.”

The Old Man
Hippos bathing at Escobar's hacienda

One hippo is to blame for the move upriver. Hippos live in harems. The alpha male at the Hacienda is known as El Viejo – The Old Man – and he is very powerful, gaping his massive jaws at younger males when they approach any of the females in the herd. These frustrated Lotharios have no option but to leave and try to form their own herds elsewhere. All the keepers can do is try to keep the hippos near the lake with a free dinner, made up of around 350kg of sugar cane, tall grass and vegetables.


But adult hippos are dangerous. Despite their ungainly appearance, they are very agile in the water and can charge on land at up to 18 mph (29km/h). It’s often said that hippos are responsible for more human deaths in Africa than any other animal – though it may be more accurate to say they cause more deaths than any other wild mammal.

Attacks happen when humans encroach on hippo territory, says Lewison. But the animals aren’t like crocodiles, she points out – they don’t see a thing and instinctively want to kill it – so in a sparsely populated area it may be safe to let Escobar’s hippos be. In the 30-year history of Escobar’s herd, there have been no reports of anyone being killed or even seriously injured. But living near the animals is inevitably a risk, Lewison says – one that local people have to decide whether they are willing to take.

For Carlos Valderrama, however doing nothing is not an option. “We have seen that hippos are very territorial and very aggressive,” he says. “They are not a tame animal. The risk for local populations to just leave them to browse around will be huge.”

The ideal solution would be to relocate them, he says. But it’s not easy to move a hippo, and even if the government were to kit out teams of experienced vets with trucks and helicopters, there’s nowhere to put the animals. They can’t be returned to Africa because there is a risk that they carry diseases. That leaves captivity. A handful of hippo calves have been transferred to zoos in Colombia, but there are currently no takers for the adults.

Beyond that, options are limited.

Escobar's house and poolEscobar’s house and pool, photographed in 2004

Some – including those at the Hacienda Napoles park – favour containing the numbers with a programme of castration. But not only would this be costly and dangerous for the vets, it’s thought many hippos would die. “Hippos are very sensitive to chemical compounds,” explains Lewison. “It doesn’t make any sense – they’re enormous! – but they have this incredible sensitivity to sedation.”

Start Quote

I think they should barbecue them and eat them”

Patricio von HildebrandBiologist

Valderrama also points out that it would be very difficult to ensure that all the males had been attended to, given that no-one knows how many there are – and it only takes one overlooked bull to do the procreation work of a whole herd.

Another idea, favoured by David Echeverri of the local environmental authority, is to build a reserve with proper hippo-proof fences. But it would be a huge challenge to round up all the feral hippos of Antioquia, and would cost an estimated $500,000 (£290,000).

“It is not going to be accepted in general by environmentalists and biologists here, because Colombia doesn’t have a lot of money,” says Patricio von Hildebrand, a biologist working in the Amazon region. “They don’t think the money should be invested in maintaining a few hippos rather than conserving the original species in Colombia.”

Hildebrand has another, more radical solution: “I think they should barbecue them and eat them.”

He isn’t joking. During experiments with electric fences a while ago, he recalls, someone misjudged the voltage and electrocuted one of the Hacienda Napoles hippos. “What did the local people do? They took him, they chopped him up, they barbecued him and they ate him!” The animal is said to have tasted similar to pork.

Valderrama doesn’t recommend eating the meat, in case it is infected with a transmittable disease – one dead hippo was found to be carrying leptospirosis which can cause meningitis – but he does see the complete elimination of male hippos as the most practical solution.

A hippo at the Hacienda Napoles

This was also the view of international experts from the World Wildlife Fund and the Disney Foundation, who visited Colombia in 2010 – they described the hippo situation as a “time bomb”. But Echeverri can see how this story would play internationally, and wants to avoid it.

“We do not want to choose the easy option and give the world this negative image, not with such a charismatic animal,” Echeverri says.

“The country is changing the image it gives the world – we don’t want to be in the headlines for such a story.”

In 2009, Colombia did make the headlines for hunting down and killing a bull hippo, Pepe, that had been deemed a public nuisance. Even though a professional hunter shot the animal, a group of soldiers had helped to corner it, and a photograph of them posing next to the body caused an outcry.

The hunt for two other hippos, a female, Matilda, and her calf, Hip, had to be called off.

Valderrama, who was astonished at the backlash, calls it “the floppy effect”. The reason why nothing has been done about the hippos, he says, is that whatever decision the government makes will be controversial. “They already castrated one, and there are people saying, ‘Oh why do you have to castrate them? Just let them be. Castrate the politicians.'”

He believes, however, that Colombians are starting to see beyond the soft side of hippos, and perceive the real risks they pose.

The mixture of feelings in some ways resembles the complex attitude Colombians had towards Pablo Escobar himself.

Pablo Escobar

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Publicat el 26 de juny de 2014 per ealonso


“Gravity tops Critics’ Choice Movie Awards with seven wins.
Alfonso Cuaron and Sandra Bullock PICKED UP awards for Gravity, while..,.
Meaning: to collect 

USE: (upward+figured) 


Gravity tops Critics’ Choice Movie Awards with seven wins

Alfonso Cuaron and Sandra Bullock PICKED UP awards for Gravity, while 12 Years A Slave won three and Blue Is The Warmest Colour two
Alfonso Cuaron Sandra Bullock

Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron and Sandra Bullock arrive at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/REUTERS

The largest film critics association in the United States held its annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards last night, giving Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years A Slave the top prize of Best Picture, while Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity won the most awards with seven.

  1. Gravity
  2. Production year: 2013
  3. Countries: Rest of the world, USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 91 mins
  6. Directors: Alfonso Cuaron
  7. Cast: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock
  8. More on this film

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BCFA), made up of nearly 300 critics, also awarded 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o the Best Supporting Actress award, and John Ridley was given Best Adapated Screenplay.

Matthew McConaughey followed up his Golden Globe win for Best Actor with a win in the same category for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club – as did his co-star Jared Leto in the Best Supporting Actor category. The critics also mirrored the Globes in giving Best Actress to Cate Blanchett for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.

There were two awards for Palme D’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Colour, the French film controversially shut out from the foreign language category at the Oscars. It picked up Best Foreign Language Film, as well as Best Young Actor/Actress for 20-year-old Adele Exarchopoulos.

The awards for the smash hit space thriller Gravity included Best Director and Best Actress in an Action Movie for Sandra BullockAmerican Hustle, the other film at the heart of the Oscars race, received four, including an award for its ensemble cast. The action category was otherwise dominated by Lone Survivor, which won Best Action Movie and Best Actor in an Action Movie for Mark Wahlberg.

Forest Whitaker received the Joel Siegel award for his philanthropic work with his Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, which helps victims of violence in South Sudan, Mexico and elsewhere. He was presented the award by his co-star in The Butler, Oprah Winfrey, who said he “subtly and so masterfully embodies the soul of a character.”

There were also a one-off award for Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater for their trilogy of films that culminated in this year’s Before Midnight, which has been relatively overlooked this awards season – received a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination at the Oscars. Benedict Cumberbatch also received the one-off Hollywood’s Hottest Star award – it’s not clear whether it refers to his beauty or his buzz.

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Publicat el 25 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
US secretary of state calls onCALL ON Kurds to stand with Baghdad as bbattle with Isis for Baiji oil refinery continuesattle with Isis for Baiji oil


Meaning : to request to undertake a particular activity

USE: basic, metaphorical 



John Kerry: US troop deployment to Iraq is not intervention

US secretary of state calls onCALL ON Kurds to stand with Baghdad as battle with Isis for Baiji oil refinery continues
John Kerry and Massoud Barzani in Irbil

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, meets with Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish president, in Irbil. Photograph: Reuters

US secretary of state John Kerry has urged Kurdish leaders to stand with Baghdad and insisted that the imminent deployment of American military forces is “not intervention” in Iraq‘s affairs.

As fighting continued for control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery at Baiji, Kerry flew to the Kurdish region on an emergency trip through the Middle East amid fears that Iraq faces disintegration under the onslaught by Islamist militants – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) – backed by disgruntled Sunni tribes.

In an interview with American journalist Andrea Mitchell, Kerry diminished the deployment of up to 300 irregular forces, expected to come largely from US army special forces.

“Well, that’s not intervention,” Kerry said.

Kerry characterized the so-called “advisory” mission – “planning, advising, some training and assisting” – as something short of intervention, since “we are not here in a combat role. We are not here to fight. And the president has no intention – none whatsoever – of returning American combat troops in Iraq to go back to where we were.”

Ninety of those troops, organized into four teams, arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday to begin establishing a “joint operations center” with the Iraqi military, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said. They join 30 “advisers” already there on secondment from the US embassy.

Kerry’s visit came as the UN said at least 1,075 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the insurrection began 17 days ago. The spike in violence is sure to make June the deadliest month in Iraq since early 2008.

Monthly violence had been increasing in Iraq since the start of the year and rapidly deteriorating security in the west, centre and north of the country means the trend is likely to continue.

US officials believe that persuading the Kurds to stick with the government in Baghdad will help keep Iraq together. “If they decide to withdraw from the Baghdad political process, it will accelerate a lot of the negative trends,” said a senior state department official.

But Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish president, hardly provided a ringing endorsement for the Iraqi government.

“We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq,” said Barzani at the start of his meeting with Kerry. Earlier, he blamed prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s “wrong policies” for the violence and called for him to quit, saying it was “very difficult” to imagine Iraq staying together.

Kurdish troops have taken control of Kirkuk, which was abandoned by the Iraqi army after Isis forces seized Mosul at the beginning of a lightning campaign. The Kurds consider Kirkuk – just outside their autonomous zone – their historic capital; its capture makes it more tempting for the Kurds to go it alone rather than sticking with an unpopular and tottering regime.

The Kurdish region is home to several vast oilfields and has maintained stability, in stark contrast to the rest of Iraq. Senior Kurdish officials have said privately that they are no longer committed to Iraq and are biding their time for an opportunity to seek independence.

In an interview with CNN, Barzani repeated a threat to hold a referendum on independence, saying it was time for Kurds to decide their own fate. Tuesday’s meeting in Irbil, the Kurdish capital, came a day after Kerry travelled to Baghdad to discuss options with Sunni and Shia leaders, including Maliki.

Kerry said after the Baghdad meetings that all the leaders agreed to start the process of forming a new government by 1 July, which will advance a constitutionally required timetable for distributing power among Iraq’s political blocs, divided by sect and ethnicity. Barzani’s support is key to solving the crisis. Kurds represent about 20% of Iraq’s population and usually vote as a unified bloc.

Kerry, in a series of Tuesday interviews, did not indicate any imminent airstrikes. His primary focus is to urge Iraqi leaders to form a government with sufficient Sunni support that can capitalize on any military setbacks dealt to Isis, something Kerry said was “happening very rapidly right now.”

While the initial wave of 130 advisers out of up to 300 expected may not engage in direct combat, their impending arrival in Iraq kicks off a deeper US involvement in Iraq’s crisis. They are a vanguard, involved not only in designing and aiding a defense of Baghdad against Isis currently led by Iran, but gathering situational intelligence to supplement the aerial surveillance of Sunni Iraqi territory seized by the jihadist army, and potentially spotting for US air strikes.

The Pentagon has been tight-lipped about what equipment the “advisory” teams will bring, but Kirby has said they will be armed and possess the right to defend themselves. Iraq has granted them diplomatic assurances about their legal protections from local courts, Kirby said, clearing their entry into Baghdad. A lack of such assurances prompted the 2011 US troop withdrawal.

Kirby described the special operators’ mission as “limited” and “short-term,” obviating the need for a formal legal arrangement. “It’s not meant to be a long-term permanent mission,” he said.

While consistently declaring that the US will neither choose a new Iraqi leader nor oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom US officials consider a failure despite the US helping install him in 2006, Kerry suggested that the air strikes Iraq desires will not occur before a new government takes power.

“If the President were to just make some decision to strike here or there, there’s no backup, there’s no ‘there’ there in the Iraqi government, it could be completely wasted. It’s not a pathway to victory. So what you need to do first is get the government formation done here in Iraq,” he told CBS’ Margaret Brennan.

Although Kerry said that the advance of Isis across Iraq did not grant the jihadist organization “a safe haven at this point in time,” the chief US diplomat suggested that a forthcoming and concerted regional response would aim to confront Isis. Over the past two weeks, Isis has seized major cities and towns across Sunni Iraq and effectively erased borders with Syria and Jordan.

The Baiji refinery, a strategic industrial complex in northern Iraq, remained a frontline early on Tuesday. Militants said late on Monday they had seized it, but two government officials said troop reinforcements had been flown inside the compound and fended off the assault.

Local tribal leaders said they were negotiating with both the government and Sunni fighters to allow the tribes to run the plant if Iraqi forces withdraw. One of the government officials said Baghdad wanted the tribes to break with Isis and other Sunni armed factions, and help defend the compound. The plant has been fought over since last Wednesday, with sudden reversals for both sides and so far no clear victor.

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Publicat el 24 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
                                                      THE WAVES

Page 6: there are three phrasal verbs on this page.

1. to count out

Meaning: count things one by one, perhaps placing them on a surface
Text:” Let them COUNT OUT …”
USE: basic, fulfilment of a definite end

2. to go on

note: this verb is repeated in the text.
Meaning: continue
Text: ” the leaves GO ON…”
Text: “which GO ON moving”
USE: continuation

3. to dash in

Meaning: go in somewhere very quickly because you are in a hurry.
Text: “And I DASHED IN …”
USE: from exterior to interior


THE WAVES: page 6

swaying and men in turbans. I hear tramplings, tremblings, stirrings round me.
   “Up here Bernard, Neville, Jinny and Susan (but not Rhoda) skim the flowerbeds with their nets. They brush the surface of the world. Their nets are full of fluttering wings ” Louis! Louis! Louis! ” they shout. But they cannot see me. I am on the other side of the hedge. There are only little eyeholess among the leaves. O Lord, let them pass. Lord, let them lay their butterflies on a pocket-handkerchief on the gravel. Let them COUNT OUT their tortoiseshells, their red admirals an in the shadde of the  cabbage whites. But let me be unseen. I am green as a yew tree in the shade of the hedge. My hair is made of leaves. I am rooted to the middle of the earth. My body is a stalk. I press the stalk. A drop oozes from the hole at the mouth and slowly, thickly, grows larger and larger. Now slmething pink passes the eyehole. Now an eye-beam is slid through the chink. Its beam strikes me. I am a boy in a grey flannelsuit. She has found me. I am struck on the nape of the neck. She has kissed me. All is shattered.”
   “I was running,” said Jnny, “after berakfast. I saw leaves moving in a hole in the hedge. I thought, “That is a bird on its nest.” I parted them and looked; but there was no bird on a nest. The leaves WENT ON  moving. I was frightened. I ran past Susan, pas Rhoda, and Neville and Bernard in the tool-house talking. I cried as I ran, faster and faster. What moves the leaves? What movees my heart, my legs? And I DASHED IN  here, seeing you green as a bush, like a branch, very still, Louis, with your eyes fixed. “Is he dead.? I thought, and kissed you, with my heart jumping under my pink frock like the leaves, which GO ON moving, though there is nothing to move them. Now I smell geraniums; I smell earth mould. I dance. I ripple. I am thrown over you like a net of light. I lie quivering flung over you.”
   “Though the chink in the hedge,” said Susan, “I saw her kiss him. Iraised my head from my flowerpot and looked through a chink in the hedge. I sw her kiss him. I saw them, Jinny and Louis kissing. Now I will wrap my agony inside my pocket-handkerchief. It shall be screwed tight into a ball. I will go to the beech wood alone, before lessons. I will not sit at a table, doing sums. I will not sit next Jinny and next Louis. I will take my anguish and lay it upon the roots under the beech trees. I will examine it and take it between my fingers. They will not find me. I shall eat nuts and peer eggs through the brambles and my hair will be matted and I shall sleep under hedges and drink water from ditches and die there.”
   “Susan has passed us, said Bernard. “She has passed the tool-house 
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Publicat el 24 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
Today’s post is about Phrasal Verbs for Travel. The list below has 15 phrasal verbs and their definitions . They must be used for filling in the  blanks in the exercise that follows.
This exercise  “SUMMER BREAK IN THE USA” has 15 gaps. Each verb of the list makes sense with one blank in the exercise.

Responses will be posted on Wednesday, 25th 

a. Drop off – to take someone to a place and leave them there.
10. USE:
(in an outward and downward direction+metaphorical) 

b. Check in – to register at a hotel. 
11.USE: basic

c. Check out – to leave and pay for your stay at a hotel. 
12. USE: basic

d. Pick up – to and fetch someone from a place and take them somewhere else.
9. USE: (upward+metaphorical)

e. Set out – to start a journey.
14. USE: (basic+metaphorical

f.  Take off – when a plane leaves the ground and begin to fly.
6. USE: in a generally outward direction

g. Get in – when a plane arrives on an aiport.
8. USE: basic

h. Get away – to leave and go somewhere for break or a holiday.
5. USE:  (movement  from a given place+idiomatic)

j.  get on  – to climb on bord.
4. USE: basic

j.  Speed up – to increase speed.
7. USE: emphasis

k. Look around – to explore what is near you, in your area
12. USE: aimless movement in an area

l.  Hurry up – to rush and not waste time.
2. USE: emphasis

m. Go back – to return to a place
15. USE: return to the point of origin 
n. See off –  to go the place someone is leaving from to say goodbye.
1. USE: in a generally outward direction

o. Look forward – to look forward to something that is going to happen in the future.


The day I left for the USA my family (1) SAW__ me _OFF_. We had breakfast on the airport but we had to (2) _HURRY_UP so that I wouldn’t miss my flight. It was a teary goodbye, but I was (3)_LOOKING FORWARD_ to new experiences in the USA. After I (4)_GOT ON_the plane I made myself comfortable and sent a few fast minute goodbye text messages. I thought of how much I wanted this holiday and thet I just needed to (5)GET_ AWAY _from it all. A short while later the pilot announced that all electronics were to be switched off, for we were preparing to (6)_TAKE OFF_. As the plane was (7)_SPEEDING UP_ on the runway I sat back and took pleasure in brute force and strengh of the momentum the plane was creating to lift itself from the ground.

When our plane (8)_GOT IN_ at JFK Airport in New York there was already a taxi waiting to (9)__PICK me_UP_. The taxi (10) _DROPPED_ me OFF__ at the Holiday Inn where I would meet up with my friends.After I (11) CHECKING IN__ to the hotel we all went to Time Square, where we (12) _LOOKED AROUND_ for the rest of the day. The next day we got up in the early hours of the morning and did some sightseeing. That night we were exhausted and went to bed early. The next morning we (13)_CHECKED OUT_ after breakfast, rented a car and (14) _SET OUT_ on a cross-country road trip. It would another 3 moths before I would (15)GO BACK__ home.

Lesson by Danica, teacher at EC  Cape Town English School 


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Publicat el 24 de juny de 2014 per ealonso


If something burns up, fire completely destroy it.
Bonfires of purification, and veneration of Sun, light and life 
USE: upward , completion

Celebrating Sant Joan, from one end of the country to the other

Sant Joan [Saint John’s Feast, or Midsummer’s Night] with fire at its core, is celebrated in many ways all over the Catalan Countries


The country has celebrated the summer solstice with the Saint Johnfestival for as long as anyone can remember. In many areas, fire, dance and parties are the order of the day, especially on Saint John’s eve. There is the flame of Mount Canigó, which came down Sunday from the North Catalan mountain peaks and which will spread through hundreds of cities and towns across the country, in order to light the bonfires that will illuminate the festival. They will also light bonfires in Alacant and the ‘falles’ in some municipalities of the Pyrenees, while in Ciutadella in Menorca, this weekend is their largest festival, with horses as the main protagonists.

Canigó Flame

On June 22 every year, a group of hikers from the Cercle de Joves de Perpinyà [Perpignan Youth Circle] collects the fire that has been kept alive in the Museu de la Casa Pairal de Perpinyà [Manor house museum in Perpignan] and brings it up to Mount Canigó. The next day, at dawn, the flame is brought down the mountain to all of the towns and cities in the Catalan countries so that they can light their own Saint John bonfires.

Four-hundred municipalities will officially greet the flame, with a central event in Barcelona. At midday, officers of the Catalan Parliament will receive the flame delivered directly from Canigó. In the afternoon, Sant Jaume square—the location of both the Catalan Government and the Barcelona City Hall—will be the stage where the public will receive the flame, where the cauldron is ignited, and where the fire is distributed to all the neighborhoods in the city.

One of the novelties this year is the Instagram contest to choose the best photograph taken with a mobile device, with the hashtag#FlamadelCanigó.

“Falles” in the Pyrenees
In the Pyrenees themselves, and specifically in the counties of Pallars and Alta Ribagorça, next to Aran, there are “falles” (bonfires) during these weeks, a pre-Christian tradition that celebrates the arrival of summer by bringing burning logs down from the mountains in the dark. This year, they began in Durro on June 14, and the last will be July 26 in Llesp. The bulk of the “falles”, however, will be tomorrow during Saint John’s eve, in Boí, Casós, el Pont de Suert and Vilaller, as well as Isil.

In Les, in the Aran Valley, Saint John’s eve is also the night of the “Burning of the Haro“. The Haro is a huge tree that is placed in the main square several days before the festival and then burned on Saint John’s eve accompanied by traditional dancing.

Alacant bonfires
In the southern end of the country, in Alacant, they have the “Saint John Bonfires“, one of their most special festivals of the year (follow on Twitter). The fires and cardboard monuments are the centerpiece of a complete program of processions, offerings, concerts, runnings of the bulls, and booths where everyone can eat the typical pastries of tuna and figs. The high point of the festival is Monday, when the dozens of bonfires that have been prepared will be lit.

The bonfires in Alacant are prepared many months earlier in artists’ workshops. In contrast with the ‘falles’ in Valencia, the bonfires have no political component or social commentary, but rather tend more toward the artistic.

This celebration has its roots in the piles of junk and refuse that were traditionally burnt on Saint John’s Eve. The first documented reference is from 1822. The mayor ordered that the bonfires not be lit, nor roman candles be set off that night, “under penalty of a fine of 20 reals”. Despite the explicit prohibitions that were repeated each year, the town continued to light the fires, and little by little, they were transformed, acquiring the artistic flavor that they have today.

Sant Joan a Ciutadella
In the Balearic Islands, Ciutadella in Menorca is synonymous with Saint John, the most awaited and uproarious festival of the year. But here, the main protagonist is not fire, but rather horses and music (jaleos). The biggest part of the festival begins Monday at 2pm, when the “fabioler” (the piper) asks permission from the “Caixer Senyor” [Lord Clerk] to begin gathering “caixers” (clerks or cashiers, they were the ones who guarded the donations box at the Sant Joan church) and “cavallers” (horsemen). There are different kinds of caixers, in addition to the Lord Clerk there is the Priest Clerk, the Craftsman Clerk, the Farmer Clerks and the Flagbearer, each of which is in charge of a different part of the festival. The festival combines a church mass, processions, and parades which last until late into the early hours of Saint John’s Day. On Tuesday, the festival begins again first thing in the morning, with the “Qualcada” (special cavalcade) and a gathering of “cavallers” (horsemen). There are several “caragols” (or circuitous routes through different parts of the town).

Here is a video of one of the jaleos from 2011:

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Publicat el 23 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
Today we are going to study Phrasal Verbs using the particle “ON”. The three verbs 

belong to the phrasal verbs Top 100 List.


USE                                                 EXAMPLE
1. touching                                    She lifted the box on
2. indefinite continuation           She hurried on (without stopping)

To come on:

Meaning: to improve 
Her french has really come on since last year
USE: continuation

To get on:

Meaning: to get into a bus, a train , a plane
USE: touching a surface

To go on:

Meaning:  to continue happening
We can’t go like this any more. This has go to change.
USE: indefinite continuation

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Publicat el 23 de juny de 2014 per ealonso
Today we are going to study Phrasal Verbs using the particle “ON”. The three verbs 

belong to the phrasal verbs Top 100 List.


USE                                                 EXAMPLE
1. touching                                    She lifted the box on
2. indefinite continuation           She hurried on (without stopping)

To come on:

Meaning: to improve 
Her french has really come on since last year
USE: continuation

To get on:

Meaning: to get into a bus, a train , a plane
USE: touching a surface

To go on:

Meaning:  to continue happening
We can’t go like this any more. This has go to change.
USE: indefinite continuation

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Publicat el 23 de juny de 2014 per ealonso

Sting cuts out kids  . No inheritance

To cut out :

meaning:  not allow someone to get something

USE: disappearance, elimination


Sting says his six children will not inherit £180m fortune

Singer fears his riches are ‘albatrosses round their necks’ and has told children not to expect to inherit much money

Sting says his children have to work. ‘All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate,’ he says. Photograph: David Levene

Sting has revealed his children will not inherit his £180m fortune, fearing that his riches are “albatrosses round their necks”.

The former frontman of The Police grew up in a working-class family in Wallsend, North Tyneside, and has gone on to become one of Britain’s wealthiest musicians.

But in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, he said he has told his six children not to expect to inherit much money because he doesn’t believe in trust funds.

He said: “I told them there won’t be much money left because we are spending it. We have a lot of commitments. What comes in we spend, and there isn’t much left. I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks. They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate.”

He also attacked assumptions that his children are bank-rolled by his fortune: “People make assumptions, that they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, but they have not been given a lot.”

The singer, who found fame in the late 1970s with The Police and has gone on to have a hugely successful solo career, has sold an estimated 100m records worldwide.

Sting, 62, has two children – Joseph, 37, and Kate, 32 – from his first marriage, and four children – Brigitte Michael, 30, Jake, 28, Eliot Pauline, 23, and Giacomo Luke, 18 – from his second marriage to Trudie Styler.

He is the ninth richest musician in Britain and Ireland, according to the 2013 Sunday Time Rich List, behind pop stars including Sir Paul McCartney and SirElton John. Despite his wealth, Sting said he races through his cash as he has more than 100 people on his payroll.

He has recently put his sprawling nine-bedroom townhouse, which is just a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace, on the market for £15m. The singer said the house is “too big” now his children have left home, but insists the move does not mean he is leaving England for good. He said: “We are not leaving. I love England. I’m still English.”

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