Wednesday, 13 March 2013

SHROVE TUESDAY!! MMMMmmmm..........

Well we're coming up to a long weekend here in Greece so I thought I'd make you a mix'n'match selection of Lenten things English and Greek to try out at home!

In Greece you celebrate 'Tsikno Pempti' which I jokingly translated as 'Toasted Thursday'. I guess the best translation would actually be 'sauteed' or 'roasted' or even 'charred'. (Depending on how well you cook!) As far as I know this is a day when you eat up all the meat in preparation for the 40 day fast of Lent. Then you have 'Clean Monday' when Lent begins.

In England, in times past, we celebrated 'Callop' or 'Fat Monday' (Callop is an old English word for fat). This was the last day before Lent when all the forbidden foods such as fats, eggs and meat could be eaten.

Now we celebrate 'Shrove Tuesday' only. Traditionally this day was the last before Lent and Christians went to church to confess their sins and were 'shriven' or forgiven in other words. Nowadays, the Collop Monday traditions have been absorbed into one big Shrove Tuesday celebration. We eat pancakes, something like a crepe, on this day. Traditional pancakes are sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice.

In England people do fun things with pancakes other than just eating them. They toss them, they race with them, they use them for raising money for charity. Check out these politicians and reporters racing and tossing pancakes to give you an idea of what I mean!

Lent = 40 days before Easter
Lenten = relating to Lent
saute = to cook lightly in a frying pan
char = to burn until black
fast = time when no meat products are consumed
forbid = not allow
confess = tell something secret
sin = an action considered bad/ against the teachings of Christianity
toss = throw in the air to turn upside down

Want to try it at home? Have no fear! Just watch yourselves with those hot frying pans!



2 eggs, beaten
225grs plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
600mls (2 1/2 cups) milk
a pinch of salt
2 tsps oil/butter for frying

lemon juice
white sugar (caster, chef's)

1. Put all the ingredients EXCEPT the oil/butter into a bowl and mix with an electric whisk/mixer for five minutes.
2. Heat enough oil/butter to cover the bottom of a frying pan.
3. Spoon in enough mixture to cover the base of the pan and cook until the mixture begins to bubble.
4. Check to see if it's golden brown underneath and then turn it or, if you are feeling brave, toss it.
5. When the other side is cooked turn it out onto a plate and squeeze lemon juice over it and sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on that then roll it up and serve hot.

Yummy, yummy in your tummy!

So now you have stuffed your faces it's time you got out and took some exercise!

Kite flying is a Greek Clean Monday tradition that I love. But I bet you have experienced difficulties wielding those huge hexagon kites they sell everywhere for piles of cash. And if it's not windy then what? This year's forecast shows very little wind for Monday so I have the solution. I was given two beautiful handmade kites which fly if you run fast enough (and I don't mean that fast, really!)

I was going to show you how to make one but then I found a super PDF download at (Under where it says NAVIGATE click on 'search' and type airplane kite) which if you print it up, even on ordinary A4 paper, will make a great little kite. I advise using a slightly thicker card so it doesn't tear so easily. Button sewing thread is all you need for the string. Follow the very simple instructions that are provided and you have a kite that needs no wind and that even a three year old infant can fly!(Tried and tested!)

Have a great long weekend!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


'Money, money, money,
must be funny,      
in a rich man's world.'

or so wrote the Swedish disco band ABBA.

Pocket money! Do you get it? Who from? What do you do with it when you get it? Do you spend it, if so, what on? Or do you save it? Is it enough? Do you have to do chores* around the house to get it? Do you think that working for money makes kids more responsible?

* chores =  small jobs such as making beds or putting the rubbish out, feeding family pets, taking the dog for a walk etc.

Remember use your school code, your level and your initials to leave a comment!

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I had planned a different topic for the first debate but having seen the news item about the Trikala woman who was bitten by a rabid cat (there hasn't been a case of rabies in a human in Greece for 40 years) I figured that this was more appropriate.


Here is some information for you:

*The majority of stray dogs and cats were once pets but have been abandoned by their owners.
*Despite laws which require pet owners to have their animals immunised and micro chipped, this is very expensive and is rarely done. Thus stray animals cannot be returned 'home'.
*The Greek government passed laws in 2012 which require the local governments, usually in association with local animal welfare groups, to gather up and provide necessary treatment and care for stray animals.
*Local government and animal welfare groups rarely have enough qualified staff, equipment or facilities to fulfil the above requirements.
*Stray animals are not only a nuisance in city neighbourhoods but they can also be a health and safety problem. (See the recent Rabies reports. Links below.)

Here are some links so that you can do some background reading before you add your comment. (You will find details about Rabies here.) (You may know them as G.A.W.F from their writing competitions.)

REMEMBER: Add your name to your comment using the school code I've given you, your level (C1 or C2) and your initials. eg. NRC1AB If you want to use your real name you can of course! There is no word limit but you do need to justify your opinions or else you'll just be preaching!
If you aren't one of my students you can still add your comments!

Have a great 'Toasted Thursday' by the way!!!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Pronunciation is vexation,
Grammar is as bad,
The FCE perplexes me
And essays drive me mad!

to vex = to annoy
to perplex = to confuse

I have substituted the original words relating to Maths with words about English language learning(underlined and in purple). Can you make similar changes to make your own rhyme? It doesn't have to be about English, you can make it about any school subject!
How to make it work for you? The first line word must have -ation as a suffix. the second and fourth line words must have two syllables and the third line word must end in the sound (i:) like tree or three.
I'd like to see your rhymes.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Which day were you born on? This is what my B1 students were discussing in their lesson last week. They were also wondering why the days have such weird spellings in English. So this I’ve prepared this for you.

 Which day were you born on? Is it significant?

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is blithe and bonny, good and gay.*


*At the time the poem was written gay meant happy, not homosexual!
Sabbath = Sunday in a Christian country.
woe = sadness
blithe  = care-free
bonny = attractive

If you want to find out what day you were born on and your folks cannot tell you, Google a calendar for the month and year you were born. I’m a Tuesday child by the way!


Despite being known as the Lord’s Day in many predominantly Christian countries – Greece included – the English name goes back to the time of sun worship. The strength of the sun was given to the first day of the week. This is true of most countries which were ruled at some point in history by the Roman Empire, as Britain was. The origin of the word is Saxon; Soonedaeg.


You guessed it! The moon’s day. This also dates back to the Romans. Perhaps to bring a balance as the power of the moon was considered evil! The origin of the name in English is from the Middle Ages.


The Saxons are responsible for this name. They worshipped the Norse gods. The god Tiw was the god of war, courage and the sword.


Woden’s Tag or Woden’s Day morphed into the name we use today again from the time of the Anglo-Saxon’s. Woden was the top god, the Norse equivalent of Zeus if you like. He was a magician and a healer as well as bringer of winds apart from many other things.


Thor, god of thunder and rain, is probably the most well-known Norse god and Thursday is named after him. The Normans are responsible for the name as they worshipped Thor under the name of Thur.


Frigga was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of married love, housewives, the sky and the clouds and it is to her we owe the name Friday.


Saturn was the Roman god of seeds and sowing and was the ruler of the gods until Jupiter stole his throne. Saturday is named after him.

If you want to learn more about days check out my information source, The Days Of The Week by Paul Hughes.

(Thanks to E.T.,K.K.,L.G.,C.T.,N.V.,A.P. & F.T. for the idea!)

Friday, 1 March 2013


Well, the week is done. Hope yours was good! Mine was! :-D
It’s March! (Have a cool month!) There’s lots to be done and lots to look forward to, what with carnival and all.

Coming up in posts this month:
The Days of the Week. Why are they called what they are?
Pronunciation tips and fun!
ShroveTuesday - Mmmmm!
Before I say toodle-oo let me just share a great joke with you; one of my students told me it on Tuesday. (Thanks V.B.!)
Q: What’s the difference between me and a calendar?
A: A calendar has dates!

More next week!