Monday, 30 November 2015

present perfect

This blog has looked a lot at the tense all students hate:
Jay Doubleyou: the present perfect with goldilocks and the three bears
Jay Doubleyou: present perfect for experiences

You can learn it through song:
Jay Doubleyou: music lessons from the british council

Is it that important?
Jay Doubleyou: antimoon

Do it yourself!
Jay Doubleyou: where to go for some english grammar...
Jay Doubleyou: practicing english with yourself


This blog has already looked at 'money':
Jay Doubleyou: money and debt
Jay Doubleyou: how to manage your money
Jay Doubleyou: trying to understand banks
Jay Doubleyou: the language of money... the language of religion... the language of love...


The money-shredding alarm clock:
Jay Doubleyou: what's it costing you to sleep?

Framing: or, how you see it:
Jay Doubleyou: story-telling: creating narratives around money and debt

Jay Doubleyou: is it ok to steal 500, 000 euros from the bank?

Economics as autism:
Jay Doubleyou: post-autistic...

Why do we spend our money:
Jay Doubleyou: the men who made us spend
Jay Doubleyou: the men who made us spend: part two
Jay Doubleyou: the men who made us spend: part three

Human beings as financial assets:
Jay Doubleyou: every town and city in britain profited from the slave trade
Jay Doubleyou: bristol and slavery
Jay Doubleyou: how not to review a book on slavery
Jay Doubleyou: the man who sold his wife

Jay Doubleyou: in/equality - the pay gap
Jay Doubleyou: in/equality - the pay gap - part two
Jay Doubleyou: in/equality - the pay gap - part 3

Jay Doubleyou: the abundance mentality or abundance mindset

Going to war:
Jay Doubleyou: propaganda, public relations and manufacturing consent

Jay Doubleyou: the fall and rise of social democracy?

describing processes

There's a lot of good stuff to describe processes:
Jay Doubleyou: processes and procedures


Making an omlette:
BBC World Service | Learning English | How To

BBC How to... describe a process (transcript video) - YouTube

The EFL SMARTblog: Making Potato Chips - IELTS Describing a process / Passive

Waking up in the morning:

Stopping a burglar:

Decorating a Christmas Tree:

Getting ready for your IELTS exam:
Diagrams, Maps & Processes | aquascript &c.
IELTS Process Diagram Explained

Improving your memory:
Process Description - Vocabulary Lesson Focusing on Describing Processes

4-year olds and 40-year olds

There has been a fascinating series on British TV about four year olds:
The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds - Channel 4 - Info - Press
The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds - All 4
The secret life of four, five and six-year-olds: what really goes on in the playground
The Secret Life Of 4 5 And 6 Year Olds Season 1 Episode 3 - Dailymotion video

This has sparked a lot of debate around what it is to be other ages:
Definition - When or What is Middle Age?
Middle age begins at 55 years, survey suggests - BBC News
The true story (behind the story) that inspired 45 Years - Telegraph

The Secret Life of 40-year-olds: 14 things they don't tell you about the middle-aged

Irrational crushes, crying, fewer friends and thoughts about death mark being 40, says Sali Hughes


Channel 4's documentary 'The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds' is causing a buzz. Photo: Katie Hyams

How to create brand new salvias from stem shoots
Video: horticulturalist Sarah Raven explains the best way to protect your favourite plants during winter

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It seems as if everyone is talking about The Secret Life of 4 Year-olds, Channel 4’s fascinating fly-on-the-wall account of a group of 12 pre-schoolers engaging in friend courtship, conflict resolution, the forming of alliances, the handling of rejection and concealing of disappointment. “Life as an adult really isn’t that different from life in the playground,” said one of the team of educational psychologists hired to observe the four-year-olds from a hidden gallery of video monitors.
The Secret Life of 4 Year-olds follows a group of 12 pre-schoolers.
Certainly, there were behaviours that I completely related to at 40 years old and it highlighted that while children have The Secret Life of 4 Year-Olds, and 20-somethings had Big Brother, there hasn’t yet been equivalent anthropological-entertainment show for the middle aged.
Having celebrated my 40th earlier this year, hitting my fifth decade hasn’t exactly been what my younger self had imagined it would have been.
So, considering the unique, defining feelings and behaviours of life after 40, here is my list of what would be essential to include were the producers ever going to commission The Secret Life of 40 Year Old’s..

1. We say no to all manner of things that we might have previously have accepted.

This includes any social engagement that requires standing up for extended periods.
Gigs - once my night out of choice - must now be seated and within an hour’s travel of my home. Queuing to get in anywhere is out of the question, and music in bars must be low enough to allow conversation. Table service is preferable; clear access to bar and clean loo, a non-negotiable. A last minute cancellation feels like a Lotto win for all concerned.

2. Aches and pains become A Thing.

Every time I move my neck or wrist after a period of inactivity, I hear the sound of someone gently palpating a bag of nachos. Noisier still is the entirely needless grunt I expel as I hoist myself from a chair after dinner. I now need reading specs which I clean by leaning over an open dishwasher door and waiting for them to cloud up.

3. We want fewer, but better friends.

Fewer but better friends is preferable at 40.
I simply don’t have the time to spend on crazies (a madness score of up to 7/10 is within normal range), untrustworthy gossips or joy-sappers. Friendship comes full circle and is suddenly every bit as important as it was at four years old, except that unlike Tyler in the show, you don’t attempt to woo those who don’t like you. Quite the opposite - you just cull them from your life without dwelling on why you’re not their bag.

4. We won’t entertain any holiday accommodation that’s less nice than where we live.

Luxury hotel in Dubai, anyone?
I’m old enough to know and accept that Dubai is not for me, and am cheery in the knowledge that I will never go skiing anywhere. Otherwise, any week off in which I laugh, eat and watch films somewhere lovely with my partner, constitutes the holiday of a lifetime.

5. We can deal with nuance

Having spent my teens, twenties and thirties feeling entirely certain of my every opinion, I’m now far more likely to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t think it’s that simple”. This extends to politics, relationships, jazz music, caravans, religion and Taylor Swift, but not karaoke or offal. I walk away from arguments not because I’m vastly more tolerant and nice, but because I can simply no longer be arsed. The more I know, the less sure I am of anything other than that life is irredeemably messy and most people are well meaning and essentially good.

6. We have irrational crushes

Fancying boy bands like Take That becomes more acceptable.
Having been appalled and dismissive of their abject uncoolness in my teens, I now really, really fancy Take That.

7. We wonder about those in charge

I look at almost everyone in a position of authority - doctors, teachers, bank managers, librarians - and invariably think they look about nine. I’m shocked and appalled that anyone other than my children was born post Berlin Wall and Bros.

8. Death becomes a pre-occupation

Not in some nihilistic or maudlin way – I think about death every day simply because I am more accepting of its inevitability. This is in some ways a positive thing. I’m much less interested in having “stuff” than I was when I was younger. By contrast, I now collect happy memories obsessively, take time out to enjoy my loved ones and actively plan things I want to do instead of putting them off. Less maturely, I become irrationally furious at all the obnoxious people allowed to live while my loved ones are stolen by cancer.

9. We know the price AND value of everything.

Despite my new found appreciation for the preciousness of time, I waste hours of the stuff on wholly irrelevant pursuits. I can digest a week’s worth of junk mail catalogues in one extended sitting, unfathomably intrigued by everything from equestrian wear to mobility aids. Likewise, I can spend five hours on Google, researching exactly the right £3.29 anti-slam door bumper. I now keep warranty cards, register appliances, insure everything up the wazoo and will never let my AA cover lapse, because I no longer enjoy the blind optimism of youth.

10. Looks still matter

Looks are still a big consideration at 40.
I am broadly disbelieving of those who claim not to give a damn about their changing face and body as they enter their forties. I’m not thrilled that my eyelids are hooding slightly and I definitely do care that I’m a whole dress size bigger. Just not enough to get surgery, take up yoga and pretend that shredded courgettes are any kind of substitute for spaghetti.

11. We can say sorry

Like bossy 4-year-old Tia in secret Life of 4-year olds, I am able to say I made a mistake. I make hundreds. I know I’m often wrong about things and I’m happy to say so because the belligerent are completely unbearable company.

12. Crying becomes A thing too.

The John Lewis Christmas ad is now enough to set 40-year-olds off
I cry often - at game show wins, song lyrics, old couples holding hands, dogs with jobs, anything involving war veterans, David Attenboroughdocumentaries (especially those featuring polar bears) and yes, even theJohn Lewis Christmas advert. Conversely, things make me honk with laughter, much louder and longer than before.

13. Fashion becomes complicated

I have, for the first time in my life, stopped to consider the concept of “mutton dressed as lamb”. I don’t yet act on it, but do occasionally catch myself in three clashing prints and wonder if I’m now less House of Holland, more Su Pollard. I carry ballet flats in my handbag, along with Swiss Army knife, safety pin and three packs of antibac wipes. I wash my tights in a hosiery bag and refuse to buy anything that needs dry cleaning or even ironing.

14. Just one glass too many can tip us over the edge of sociability.

I can no longer drink alcohol until it flows from my eye sockets. Today, my head spins and my hangovers are biblical. Two consecutive nights out on the sherry aren’t just inadvisable, they’re physically impossible. I find myself being the tedious party guest who alternates proper drinks with sips of Pellegrino, then leaves without saying goodbye, in time to catch the third-to-last train home.
The series continues with The Secret Life of 4-year-olds, Tuesday at 8pm, Channel 4
The Secret Life of 40-year-olds: 14 things they don't tell you about the middle-aged - Telegraph

drink tea

The British do like their cuppa:
Jay Doubleyou: english icons
Jay Doubleyou: english traditions which aren't english...

And there are some very established blogs devoted to the drug:
Nice cup of tea and a sit down
5 Tea Blogs We Love
T Ching | Discover Tea | Blog Home

But it's the Dutch who tell us it's good for us:

Drink five cups of tea a day, Dutch health council says

The Health Council of the Netherlands published new guidelines recommending that people drink between three and five brews each day


Tea should be drunk preferably without milk and definitely without sugar 

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TV presenter and gardening expert Sarah Raven presents a different way of protecting your plants in winter

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Incessant tea drinking has long been the preserve of the British, second only to tap water as the nations’ most popular beverage.
But it appears our continental cousins are catching up.
Official health guidelines in the Netherlands - where school children as young as four are already served tea as a lunch time drink - are for the first time encouraging adults to indulge in regular cups of tea.
The Health Council of the Netherlands, an independent scientific body that advises parliament, this week published new guidelines recommending that people drink between three and five brews each day.
Green tea has previously been lauded for its health benefitsGreen tea has been lauded for its health benefits  Photo: Jonathan Buckley"We noted that in the scientific literature in the last 10 years, there are clear signs that drinking tea is good for your health,” said Eert Schoten, a spokesman for the health council.
“Three to five cups a day reduce blood pressure, diabetes and stroke risks, so this comes as one of our 16 guidelines.”
The guidelines state that the tea must been green or black; rooibos and other herbal teas do not count.
Fruit teas replacing the traditional builder's teaThe growth of fruit and herbal teas has come at the expense of standard tea, which has dropped heavily in demand, say experts.   Photo: Alamy
Dutch children are also encouraged to drink tea. At leading schools, such as the Theo Thijssenschool in central Amsterdam, youngsters from the age of four are offered milky tea as a lunchtime drink.
There are several brands of herbal tea that especially marketed for children in the Netherlands, such as “Dragonfire”, a blend including elderflower, ginger, peppermint and licorice. The Dutch brand Pyramide has four types of “kinder thee”, complete with cartoon character packaging.
Tim Bond, a member of the Tea Advisory Panel said that the Dutch guidance is "in keeping with what we would advocate".
"Three to five cups of tea are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke"
Tim Bond, a member of the Tea Advisory Panel
"A number of recent studies looking at long term drinking habits have indicated that 3-5 cups of tea are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke," he said.
"Other studies in the short term looking at risk factors also agree that daily tea consumption in this range are likely to have a positive impact on heart heath."
The 16-year-old girl had ordered two boxes of Chinese green tea online, and drank three cups a day for three months.
Doctors identified green tea as the “causative agent” of the girl’s hepatitis, and ordered her to stop drinking it immediately.
Authors of a report about the case, published in the British Medical Journal, said infections developing as a result of excessive herbal tea drinking were a “rare but recurring theme”.
Green tea, which is rich in a depression-fighting animo acid called theanine,has previously been lauded for its health benefits.
It has been suggested that its antioxidants help with breast, lung and stomach cancers. It has also been claimed that a cup can protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s and improve cholesterol levels.

Drink five cups of tea a day, Dutch health council says - Telegraph