Do you work with British colleagues? Or perhaps you've spent some time in the UK. Well, this might be useful. It's written as a joke, but in my opinion, it's only half-joking...
Every year in Britain, all the big retailers release a schmaltzy Christmas advert, designed to make you laugh or cry. Here are two of this year's offerings, both from big department stores:
retailers - companies that sell directly to consumers (shops)
schmaltzy - very sentimental
As you may know, Britain had a General Election about a week and a half ago. This video will help you understand why and how we had an election:
And after the results, what is going to happen? Well....no one seems to know for sure. Here's an easy explanation of what happens when there's a hung parliament and what could happen now...
hung parliament = when no political party has a clear majority
What do you know about Christmas in the UK? Is it the same as in America? And do we celebrate on the 24th December, like other places in Europe. (The answer is no, and no, only the 25th.)
Here's a video, which was actually made for Americans to teach them about the differences between British and American Christmas traditions. It's also very good English-listening practice, plus you'll learn something about British culture.
Here are two listening exercises to go with the video - one easy and one more difficult. Not sure of the answers? Just contact me!
I'm in shock. And feeling really disappointed in my country. I can't believe that 52% of voters chose to leave the EU. On a personal level this affects me, but it's something that will affect millions of people in the UK, especially young people who might not get the same opportunities I've had to live, work and study around Europe. And I'm also afraid for the rest of Europe. What will happen to the EU now that one of the big parts of it is breaking away?
Here's a great article with very clear and simple cartoons illustrating Brexit, the reasons for it and the consequences.
Here is an excellent video from the Guardian, explaining Brexit to non-Brits. Just looking at the people on the Brexit side, I am quite happy to say I'm in the Remain camp.
I'll be voting to remain in the EU (as long as the British government remember to send me my voting papers this time.) On a personal level as a British citizen living in France, it's a no-brainer. Even if I wasn't living abroad, I would still vote in favour of staying in the EU. I think that ideologically, the EU is a great institution. Europe is a country of small nations who have a history of fighting each other, but the EU has brought peace and economic growth.
Of course the EU bureaucrats like to make plenty of rules, such as how curved a banana should be, which many people see as interference. But the EU has allowed us to live, work and retire in any other EU country; we have greater protection from terrorism and cyber-crime; and the EU has put into place many initiatives to protect the environment.
I don't think stability and peace is something we should take for granted. Yes, the EU has some problems, but in the end, we are stronger together.
Following on from yesterday's post, here's another video about Brexit, but this time it's in New York. Watch and see what some Americans think Brexit is. (Or should that be breakfast?!)
Down here on the Cote d'Azur, we've just finished the Cannes festival. (A relief for a lot of people as we can now go into Cannes without facing a huge traffic jam and millions of people.)
So the winner this year of the Palme d'Or was Ken Loach, a 79 year-old British film director. Here's what the BBC says about his film:
Here's a case which was all over the news in the UK last week : a father took his daughter out of school for 1 week during term-time, to take her to Disneyworld Florida. In the UK, parents are fined for taking their children out of school in term-time - £60 per child, per parent, which rises to £120 if you don't pay the fine within 21 days.
A leading British supermarket, Tesco, has declared it will no longer sell curved croissants, only straight croissants. The reason? Tesco's customers have problems spreading butter and jam onto the curved croissants.
Anyone who lives in France will find this very bizarre. For a start, why would you spread butter on something that is already made of about 50% butter? And secondly, you don't actually need to spread jam on it. A good croissant can be eaten on its own, or dipped in some coffee or hot chocolate. If you really need some sugar, you can break pieces off and dip them into the jam.
Interestingly, in France, by law, a straight croissant must be made from all butter, not margarine or any other fat, whereas curved croissants can contain fats other than butter. So straight croissants are actually the posher and more expensive croissants. I wonder if Tesco's customers are aware of that!
Read more about the croissant debate here.
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