If you look at a map of Europe today, it’s hard to imagine what it might look like in 100 years. It might be much the same as it is now, or it could be totally different, with new countries added and border lines changed.
Consider the situation 100 years ago. One could never have imagined the breakup of the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Who could have imagined the creation of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia?
The UK has voted to leave the EU. Crimea is now Russian. Catalonia is currently in the news. It wants independence from Spain. Who knows what the outcome will be?
Paris and Los Angeles have been confirmed as host cities to stage the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games. The announcement was made by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach in Lima, Peru on Wednesday 13th September 2017. He said, “This historic double-allocation is a win-win-win situation for the city of Paris, the city of Los Angeles and the IOC”
Paris last hosted the Olympic Games in 1924. In its bid, it said it wanted to host the 2024 Olympic Games. The city had indicated it didn’t want to host the 2028 games. LA was happy about this and had sent signals it was open to going second.
There are many legends about the Knights Templar. The secretive religious sect have left behind many mysterious mysteries. They once held great power across Europe. So much so, that King Philip IV of France, who was in debt to them, and in fear of their power, literally forced them underground, having burnt many of their prominent members at the stake.
So it is interesting to hear about a mysterious 700-year-old cave that may have been used by the famous Knights Templar. The fascinating cave was discovered, a while back, behind a rabbit hole, in a field in Shropshire, England. Could this cave be a Holy Grail site? Did the Knights Templar really meet here, in secret?
Today, we are going to talk about Guy Fawkes’ Night, or Bonfire Night. The event is held every year in the United Kingdom, on the evening of the fifth of November.
The annual commemoration is to remind us of the events of the 5th November 1605, when Guy Fawkes’, who was a Catholic, was caught and arrested in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, while guarding the gunpowder that was to be used to blow it up.
Today, let’s talk about Halloween. It occurs once a year on the night of the 31st October. It’s the most likely time you’ll see people dressed up as witches, ghosts, skeletons, monsters, devils, or other weird, supernatural, creatures.
Halloween parties are popular among both children and adults, and dressing up in costume is all part of the fun! Watch out for many a pumpkin with spooky eyes and teeth lit by a candle. Halloween colours are black and orange. Watch out for the spooky masks!
Today, we are going to talk about February 29. The extra day occurs once every four years. It is called a Leap Day and is added to the calendar. When there is a leap year there are 366 days rather than 365 days of the year.
The previous leap year was in 2012. This year sees another leap year. The extra day is added because of the way the Solar System works. A complete orbit of the Earth around the sun actually takes approximately 365.2422 days.
Why are there 29 days in February rather than 30 or 31? This is down to history. During the Roman Empire Emperor Julius Caesar ordered his astronomer Sosigenes to simplify the 355 day Roman calendar, which had an extra 22 days added on every two years. Sosigenes created the 365 day year, with an extra day every 4 years.
Today, let’s talk about great British inventions. There are many. We will look at a few of them.
The jet engine was invented by a chap called Frank Whittle from Coventry. He was fighter pilot. Whittle realised that piston powered flight was old technology. He designed the gas turbine ‘turbo-jet’ in 1930. Thwarted by the military it wasn’t until 1941 that his jet idea took off in the form of a Gloster E28/39 for a 17 minute flight.
Tin cans used for baked beans and vegetables were invented by a man called Peter Durand. He copied the preserved food in a glass jar idea that Frenchman Nicholas Appert had created, doing it this time with a tin can. The first commercial canning factory was opened in England in 1813.
In today’s English lesson we will look back at 2015. We will talk about some of the things that happened in the world during 2015.
The ongoing war in Syria dominated the news headlines in 2015. That aside, perhaps the biggest event to happen in Europe in 2015 was the great migration crisis. When the German Chancellor Mrs Merkel said ‘All migrants are welcome’ the floodgates were opened. Only Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán challenged her with his fence.
In the States Donald Trump was big news. He’s got a big mouth and wasn’t afraid to use it. Sadly, more people were killed by guns in the USA but as usual nothing was done about it.
The EU migrant crisis is getting worse. It is out of control. The Schengen Zone is collapsing. Germany has now reinstated its borders with Austria. Slovakia and Austria have also reintroduced border controls with Hungary.
Why? Because in the last few months tens of thousands of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and parts of Africa have been crossing Europe to get to Germany.
The Hungarians have now built a 180km long 4m (13ft) high fence along their southern border with Serbia to stop them. At midnight, on the orders of its prime minister Victor Orbán, Hungary sealed its southern border with Serbia.
A majestic sea of red poppies now surrounds the Tower of London in London. The display called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is in the Tower of London moat. It marks the First World War centenary.
Thousands and thousands of people have visited the display, by artist Paul Cummins, with huge queues forming; such has been the popularity of it. All four sides of the dry moat surrounding the fortress are now blanketed in a sea of scarlet red.
London / Tower of London / Poppy Display