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Cucumber sandwiches - Mix Conversation Session 04/11/15

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Today we talked about diseases . . . tango, whiskey and alpha . . . Victorian society in England . . . afternoon tea  . . . and actually started the play.

Diseases? One of our company has a client with shingles (duration: about four weeks - symptoms: pain . . . and a rash) and she had the misfortune of having to listen while this painful condition was described in great detail. Some of us were surprised to find out that shingles is actually the chicken pox virus that has been lying dormant in the body since childhood. It reactivates at moments of high stress or when the immune system is weak, usually in older people. Apparently 90% of us have had chicken pox as children and could get it. LINK 

Then we went on to check out the translations, symptoms and traumas of the usual childhood diseases . . . . the itchiness of chicken pox, the difference between measles and German measles, the dangers of mumps.

Shania Twain was being played in the background and someone liked the music and wanted to jot down her name – “Tango, Whiskey, Alpha, India, November” somebody else chipped in helpfully.

So who uses the standard international phonetic alphabet? Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot . . . . etc. We hear the police use it and we hear it on films, but do you use it? Surely “A for Apple, B for Banana, F for Freddy, T for Tenerife, etc.” is OK too?

So after all this banter we moved on to listening to the play. As promised repeatedly over the past few months, we are going to listen to “The Importance of Being Earnest” in several instalments . . . . . . unfortunately, after diseases and tango alpha’s . . . . once we had discussed the life of Oscar Wilde, his persecution and tribulations, his literary works, explored some of his quotes – (one of my favourites – “youth is wasted on the young”), then  talked about Victorian society in England in the 1890’s, country houses, servants, afternoon teas . . . . after we looked at a glossary of difficult words (Shropshire, a guardian and his ward, a governess,  . . . etc.), some useful expressions of the time (Good heavens! . . . I must say . . . by the way, etc.) . . . once we had done all that, there was only time for the first three and a half minutes of the play. Just the bit where Jack arrives at Algernon’s flat in Mayfair, London, and Algie tells him that Aunt Augusta and Gwendolyn are coming for tea. . . “How perfectly delightful!” exclaims Jack.

Anyway, the glossary and the audio for the first three and a half minutes are in the dropbox for those that need to catch up.

Don’t miss next week  . . . I’m hoping to do about 15 – 20 minutes more, and discuss the significance of cucumber sandwiches.

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