Lessons in the "Alternative" Category

Autumn

Today, let’s talk about autumn. What exactly is autumn? It is a season that follows summer and is before winter. Autumn starts in Britain on the 23rd September. It is on this day that daylight and night are the same length of time. The nights now get longer and the days shorter.

Autumn is probably the most colourful time of year. It is when the leaves change colour. Many leaves turn into vivid autumn red, yellow and brown colours that so many people love to see. Autumn is also conker season when the conkers fall from Horse Chestnut trees.

Autumn is the time of falling leaves. Many leaves are blown off the trees. Often they form a magnificent carpet of different coloured leaves on the ground. It is a sign that winter is on its way!

Summer in Europe

Today let’s talk about summer. For some, it’s the best time of year. For schoolchildren, summer is the time of long school holidays. It’s also when many families go on their summer holidays.

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere in Europe is the season after spring and before autumn. The summer solstice on June 21 is the traditional date of summer starting. June 21 has the longest day and the shortest night. Druids like to meet at Stonehenge in Southwest England on this day.

Summer is traditionally June, July and August. It is when the weather in Europe is normally at its best. It is hot and sunny.

British Astronaut returns to Earth

Recently, British astronaut Tim Peake returned to earth from the International Space Station (ISS). His journey back to earth was with two other spacemen on board a Soyuz space capsule that travelled through the atmosphere, with temperatures outside reaching more than 1,600°C (2,912°F).

Peake travelled home with fellow astronaut Col Tim Kopra from NASA, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. The three completed their deorbit to enter the Earth’s atmosphere at around 10am on Saturday June 18. The Soyuz space capsule landed by parachute on its side in a remote spot in the vast scrubland steppe of Kazakhstan 15 minutes later.

Orlando shootings

Today, let’s talk about the terrible shootings that took place recently at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. More than 50 innocent people were killed with 53 others wounded.

The terrorist attack was carried out by Omar Mateen. Most of the victims were men in their 20s and 30s. The 29-year-old gunman was killed after taking hostages at the Pulse club. The attack is the worst mass shooting in recent US history.

Omar Mateen was an American who declared allegiance to the Islamic State. He was the son of an immigrant from Afghanistan.

Food scandal in Eastern Europe – lower quality than West Europe

Recently a friend suggested I write an English lesson about inferior food being sold in Central and Eastern Europe. In other words products of lower quality, or the same product - but the contents having lower quality inside the package.

How can this be possible? Believe me it is! I live in Slovakia and I hear this story time and time again from my students and friends.

Many Slovaks like to go to Austria to go shopping. Why? Because food is cheaper, and of better quality.

Anyone shopping in Slovak supermarkets is likely to be sold inferior quality goods, like cheese, washing powder, coffee, milk chocolate, and Coca Cola. In Austria those same products are of a much higher quality.

Should cafes in the UK have toilets in them?

Today, let’s talk about whether cafes in the UK should have toilets in them. Well, should they?

I discovered that this is actually a wonderful topic to debate. Yes, really! After all, we all need to spend a penny.

I was intrigued to read about a recent court case in Hull, England. The court debated whether a bakery with a cafe in should provide toilets or not. The bakery in question is predominantly a takeaway, but does provide some seats for customers. Therefore it argued it should not need to provide a toilet.

The outcome could flush many cafes and takeaways down the pan, as a legal ruling now says that coffee shops and fast food outlets with fewer than 10 seats must now provide toilets for their customers.

The Most Corrupt Countries

British Prime Minister David Cameron was recently caught on camera at Buckingham Palace in London telling The Queen that the leaders of some “fantastically corrupt countries” were coming to Britain for an anti-corruption conference.

Among the world leaders attending the conference at Lancaster House in London were the leaders of Nigeria and Afghanistan. When a reporter asked the Nigerian President if his country was corrupt he replied, “Yes”.

Representatives from the governments of Panama and the British Virgin Islands ironically weren’t invited to the conference. This is odd considering the recent publication of ‘The Panama Papers’ that highlighted the tax affairs of wealthy individuals from around the world who shelter their money in these countries.

The Rise of the Drone

Today, we are going to talk about drones. What exactly is a drone? It is a small helicopter-like device that can fly by remote control. There are many sorts of drone including quadcopters, mini-quads, or multi-rotor helicopters that are all the rage at the moment. They vary in price from £10. Most video drones start around £100. It appears to be the new hobby to take up.

Drones are generally used to take aerial film or photographs. They have considerably reduced movie makers’ budgets, as they have replaced costly helicopters in many instances. However, whilst drones have become more popular some are becoming a security risk.

Getting ready for the 2016 London Marathon

This year’s London Marathon takes place on Sunday April 24. The runners who are taking part are currently gearing themselves up ready to take on the gruelling 26.218 mile race, for what will no doubt be an amazing unforgettable experience.

The London Marathon is actually one of the biggest events of its kind in the world – but it requires a lot of practice beforehand – as in running practice!

Runners will ideally need to have a good pair of trainers and the right kit. They will need to train, set themselves a goal, and have a training plan. They should have a stopwatch, pace themselves, and have plenty of patience to progress in their running ahead of the big day.

St. George’s Day

Who is the patron saint of England? It is St. George. English people celebrate St. George’s Day every year on April 23rd.

It has to be said though that unlike the Scottish and Irish, who celebrate their patron saints in style and by drinking alcohol, the English really do not celebrate their day! In recent years efforts have been made to increase the day’s importance, but it actually lacks serious effort by the English.

Back in the 60s, when I was a boy at primary school, in class we used to play St. George and the Dragon. This was done in the form of a Mummers play, as it was known. The story being that St. George would kill the dragon then rescue the damsel in distress. It is a fairytale. By the 12th century the legendary story had become widespread.