Carbon footprint by Angela Caldin

I’m getting increasingly concerned about my family’s carbon footprint which is fast assuming the proportions of a giant’s imprint. Yesterday we took our younger daughter and her partner to the airport for their journey back to Brisbane after a brilliant family Christmas here in Auckland. They took with them, as well as the usual suitcases, two mountain bikes in enormous cardboard boxes and a surfboard with its cover stuffed with all sorts. They’ve set up in Australia after two years in the UK. Our elder daughter lives in Auckland and our son… Read More

Season’s Greetings!

We wish all our loyal and faithful readers a very happy Christmas, especially Emily’s mum, Marge, Trevor’s brother-in-law, Hoffa and Angela’s son and daughters, Tom, Kate and Lucy. These people sometimes read our blog and have been known to make comments! Also Pablo Castilla in Sevilla and Maria Cristina Diaz in Santander who sometimes like our blog and have learnt some English words from it which they might not otherwise have known (Trevor, you know what I mean). We hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends whatever your… Read More

Difficult words by Angela Caldin

There are some English words whose meanings I find hard to remember. However often I look them up, they float unfathomably away from me. Here are a few of the worst culprits: Inchoate The first letters of this word don’t indicate a negative because the word comes from Latin inchoare, which means to begin. Inchoate things are just beginning, only partly in existence, imperfectly formed. Unabashed This word is one where the positive version did exist but has fallen out of use. To abash meant to perplex or embarrass in the late… Read More

Fire and flood by Angela Caldin

Unprecedented bush fires in Eastern Australia and devastating floods in the North of England. Some of the responses to these tragedies have been extraordinary. Michael McCormack, deputy prime minister of Australia and leader of the National party, said concerns over climate change while fires were burning were a ‘disgrace’. He went on to say “They (the victims) don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time.” When do they need those ravings, one wonders; if not when three people have died in fires that are… Read More

The miracle of the monarch butterfly by Angela Caldin

I’m in Pacific Grove, California, for a few days where I’ve witnessed a part of what has been called one of the greatest natural events on Earth. In a large grove of eucalyptus trees called The Sanctuary, clusters of monarch butterflies cling like glowing autumn leaves to the branches. They arrive in late October to overwinter in the mild climate here, escaping the harsher winters in the north. They travel vast distances to reach the California coast in the west and the mountains of Michoacan in Mexico in the east. Hardy butterflies… Read More