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|At The Moment
|To Learn English
|It Means That
|In The UK
|It Wouldn’T Have
Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English, helping you to learn English, with free podcasts online.
Now many of us are having a bad time at the moment, with the outbreak of illness and the lock down which is happening in many countries. And I don’t want to seem concerned with things that are unimportant by comparison. There are a lot of difficulties going on in the world – I’m aware of that.
I listen to the news, and to the horrible statistics every day. But it’s important to just take one day at a time, and to focus on things in your immediate environment, to focus on things we can do or learn. We all need to keep ourselves occupied and busy. We need to ‘keep our spirits up’, that means keep our good, positive feelings and we need to keep ourselves entertained, something to do.
During this period of needing to stay at home, it’s reported that there has been a huge increase in the sales of certain items. Things to do with activities that people can do at home, activities which are enjoyable or interesting. Some people do these things normally – but for some, it’s been a big adjustment and they’re coming round to the idea. If you ‘come round to an idea’, it means that it wouldn’t have occurred to you normally, it wouldn’t have been a thought or an idea in your head before, but it is now.
Apparently in the UK, sales of knitting wool have gone ‘through the roof’. ‘Gone through the roof’ - that means sales are very high, there’s a lot of them, more than usual. And if you’re not sure, knitting, K-N-I-T-T-I-N-G is an activity and it comes from the verb ‘to knit’, K-N-I-T – so one of those silent letters of course. And it’s how you make wooly jumpers, or scarves. So lots of people are knitting at the moment.
If you’re in lock down, let us know what you are doing to entertain yourself. Are you attempting to grow things that you don’t normally grow? Are you in a flat or an apartment for lock down? You might find that the plants you have indoors are the focus of your attention. So tell us how you are spending your time. You might be watching Netflix for the whole of the lock down.
But if you listen to podcasts regularly, you’ll know that I’m interested in nature and you know that I like to garden, I like growing things. And it’s spring in the UK – so it is the season, the time of year, when I might get busy with gardening. But of course we’re in lock down, the shops are closed and we have to stay home.
So I can’t go and buy plants, I can’t even buy compost – that’s C-O-M-P-O-S-T – that’s the stuff that you grow your plants in. None of that is possible at the moment. I’ve tried last week to book deliveries online for plants, for compost – but everybody is too busy. The shops that deliver plants and compost are not taking any more orders. So that leaves me feeling a bit frustrated.
Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
⭐ Albert Einstein, Physicist
I usually grow tomatoes – I love tomatoes and eat them all the time. And they’re really easy to grow. I normally buy plants in March – but this year I wasn’t quick enough – lock down came before I could get them. So instead this year, I’m doing an experiment. I’m trying to grow tomatoes ‘from seed’. So ‘seed’, S-E-E-D or ‘seeds’ are what you normally eat inside your tomato – and seeds are what you use to grow things from. So ‘from seed’ means that I’m starting off with seeds. So I literally took a tomato out of the fridge and took out the seeds and dried them for a couple of days. And then I planted them – I put them in compost and watered them and put them on a sunny window sill for a few days.
A photograph of a beautiful English garden with blooming trees during spring discussed as part of the UK lock down.
Well, now I’ve got 42 tomato plants – or little tiny plants which we call ‘seedlings’ – so that’s when they’re small and they’ve just come out of the seed and they’ve only got a couple of leaves. So I’m going to attempt to grow them on – I won’t have space of all of them. But I’m hoping to have tomato plants and to have tomatoes on the plants. But who knows? It might work, it might not. So this type is what we call in English ‘cherry tomatoes’ – so they’re little tiny tomatoes, the size of cherries. I’ll let you know how I get on.
I’ve got a challenge as I’ve little compost to grow them in, though I have plant food and lots of pots, so it might work. It’s also apparently possible that the plants will grow, but they won’t produce any flowers or fruit. But amazing to think that in one small tomato that you eat in our sandwich, there are 42 tomato plants possible! Nature is amazing!
So growing things for interest and for a challenge is a good thing to do at the moment. But there’s also good news for nature more generally. Fewer people are out and about, fewer cars, fewer vehicles on the roads, very few planes in the sky, so this means less pollution.
Apparently the CO2 or the carbon dioxide levels have dropped by 40% in the air above some cities. Road traffic has dropped by 70% in the UK – taking it back to how things were in the 1950s. The price of oil is now down by 65% on last year and hardly anyone is buying cars. We’re all working at home more – so although of course, the pollution and the traffic will all start again at the end of this, there is the hope that maybe things will change for the better, maybe things will improve more long-term for the environment.
With fewer human beings about, animals have also been turning up in strange places. In Spain, wild boar – they’re like hairy pigs – wild boar have been spotted in city centres. And the US, coyotes or wild dogs have been seen in towns. Deer have been spotted in Japanese cities and in one Welsh town, there are photographs of goats everywhere! Nature is fighting back.
But the oil industry in the US has already asked for a bail out – that means a financial rescue – for the government to pay for the oil industry to keep going. And there’s a risk also in this current situation, there may be a downside – as the money which usually goes to support environmental schemes, to support the environment or nature – well that money might not be there in the future for conservation.
But for the time being, nature is having its moment. In the wider sense in the world and maybe in the smaller sense, in your house or flat or garden. I hope so, anyway.
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It means that whenever you have spare time – or whenever you are doing things which don’t require your full attention, you could be increasing your English language understanding and skill. How good is that? Listening to lots of quality English material is without doubt the best way to learn English and helps you learn how to speak English too.
Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.