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.
The referendum vote in the UK on whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union is edging closer. The outcome is still too close to call, as it is still 50/50 as to what the result will be.
Many people in the UK are currently watching on YouTube ‘BREXIT - The Movie’. I did. I wasn’t going to, but I am glad I watched all of it, as it’s an eye opener. The movie, whilst one sided, does show that in politics nothing changes - there is arrogance, people control, and power.
The EU in Europe is currently running its ‘empire’. It functions just like empires did 100 years ago – the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the British Empire. The latter had administrators sent out to places like India and Australia to run the ship. These days it is the likes of the Irish and Swedes working in Luxembourg and Brussels who keep the EU’s cogs working. It is no different.
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 Czech Republic in Central Europe has decided to change its official name to Czechia. There are many reasons for this. One is that Czechs are fed up with people always trying to shorten their country’s name to Czecho or Czechland.
The new name will be similar to its neighbour Slovakia – that is also known as the Slovak Republic. Some people might say that Czechia is too similar in name to the Russian Republic of Chechnya.
Czechia is shorter than its former name of Czechoslovakia - before the country split in 1993 into two countries – namely The Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Today, let’s talk about April Fools’ Day. Known also as All Fools’ Day it is celebrated on the morning of the 1st April when practical jokes and hoaxes are played on people. The victims are called April fools! Newspapers are fond of reporting fake stories, which are normally explained the next day.
April Fools’ Day in the UK can be traced back to around 1392 to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale mentions ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two’. The passage was meant to mean 32 days after March – 2nd May – but was mistook for 32nd March i.e. 1st April.
It may surprise you but today there are thousands of people around the world stuck in modern day slavery. It is a scandal that many governments are failing to tackle.
You might be thinking slavery was abolished in the 19th century. It was, only today it is once again flourishing. It is a global issue that needs resolving. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently reported that 21 million people, five million of whom are children, are victims of forced labour.
Today let’s talk about Easter traditions. Every Christian country and region has its own. In this lesson we will look at a few of them.
Most people associate Easter with Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts. Easter though is about Christ. Many Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. For this reason they go to church over this period.
Easter traditions do vary depending on where you live and what religion you have. A favourite Easter game is egg tossing or egg throwing. Why? Because the egg is a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter.
Recently four jobs were advertised to work in the British post office in Antarctica. More than 50 people applied for them. The jobs at Port Lockroy in British Antarctica Territory offer a monthly salary of around £1,100. Applications are now closed.
Those selected will see some wonderful mountain scenery including a lot of snow and virtually 24 hours of daylight. Applicants should however be aware of the 2,000 odd penguins they’ll have for company. The job itself involves cleaning penguin poo from the surrounding paths near the post office.
Today, let’s talk about the migration crisis in Europe. The EU leaders in Brussels have failed to solve the situation. It is now out of control. In fact, in Greece it is at breaking point.
East European and Balkan countries recently hosted a meeting in Vienna to discuss the migrant crisis. Interestingly neither Germany nor Greece were invited. The meeting initiated its own ongoing solutions to those of Brussels.
East European countries have sent police and troops to the Hungarian border with Serbia, and to the Macedonian border and Bulgarian border with Greece, where a barbed wire fence has been built to try to stop and limit the number of migrants allowed up the Balkan peninsular.
Today let’s talk about Valentine’s Day! In case you didn’t know it is on February 14th. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. These days it is pretty commercial. Known also as St Valentine’s Day it is associated with love! Valentine’s Day symbols include heart shapes, doves and the figure of a winged cupid.
In Britain in the 18th century handwritten greeting cards were sent. Lovers also expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, and confectionary. By 1900 handwritten cards had given way to mass-produced greeting cards; all these traditions still continue. Nowadays lovers also send SMS messages and email cards. A dozen red roses remain a popular gift to send your lover.