Tag Archives: character

To plonk yourself

plonk meaning

Photo credit: micro-scooters.co.uk

Today I ventured out to a BuggyFit class with Alisa in tow for the third time. I really like that she gets some fresh air, while mummy gets some exercise.

It is a bit of a faff to get Alisa in the car, get the buggy in the car, drive, then repeat in the reverse order, but it’s totally worth it (especially when I get to learn a new phrase on the way).

As I was pushing the buggy from the car to the meeting point there were a couple of kids riding towards us on their scooters, and one suddenly cut across, totally oblivious of everyone else, and got told off by his mum. ‘You just plonked yourself in front of this lady with a baby’, she said.

I knew that you could ‘plonk yourself on the sofa’, but I didn’t know that you could ‘plonk yourself‘ somewhere while riding a scooter!

Here’re some more examples:

  • Bored with sarnies? Pick up a Tiffin box packed with curry, dhal, nan bread, Indian desserts and a Cobra beer or soft drink from Voujon on Newington Road. Then plonk yourself in the Botanic Garden  (The Guardian).
  • Just minutes from fairytale Lake Vyrnwy, this Welsh farmhouse has oak beams and log fires. You can plonk yourself in the hot tub, pour a glass of fizz and gaze out over mid-Welsh hills (The Guardian). – Oh I’d love that.
  • Grab a heap of books, plonk yourself down with your baby on your knee, and begin. Turn the pages, point to the pictures, and ENJOY  (The Guardian).
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To wrap someone in cotton wool

to wrap somebody in cotton wool

Photo credit: uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com

I know my posts are becoming more and more spaced out, but I’m not giving up on this blog! So here’s a quick post on a new phrase that I heard on the radio. I teach on Saturday mornings and on my way there and back I like to listen to BBC Radio 4, so last week I caught Desert Island Disks with Warwick Davis. He talked about his rare genetic disorder, but said that despite his ill health his parents never wrapped him in cotton wool. This means to be overprotective towards someone (usually a child, I would assume).

Here are some more examples:

  • Wrapping your children in cotton wool and living every day as if a multitude of dangers were each crowding out the other to get their fangs into them still seems to me an unhealthy message to broadcast. If your parents allow you to climb trees, sometimes you will fall off them. If you’re allowed to go wandering alone in a wood, sometimes you’re going to get lost (The Guardian).
  • Constantly wrapping children in cotton wool can leave them ill equipped to deal with stressful or challenging situations they might encounter later in life… Cotton-wool parenting is taxing for the parent; wearing for the child. And it’s unnecessary (Bikehub.co.uk)

I wonder if I am a cotton-wool parent? At times I think I am rather irresponsible, but not unreasonably so.

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I spoke too soon

i spoke too soon phrase

Photo credit: masetv.com

One thing I realised pretty soon after having a baby was that the moment you think you have it all figured out and under control – be it feeding, napping, sleeping at night or understanding your baby’s cues – things suddenly change! I guess many mothers would agree.

A few weeks ago when we went to a Baby Club run by the local children’s centre. I try to go every week, as it’s one of the few opportunities I get to speak English (and just speak to somebody other than my husband and baby!), unless Alisa decides to have a nap right before we’re supposed to leave.

Last time we went there was a mum whose baby seemed tired and unsettled, so she fed and cuddled her, it seemed to work, so she said ‘You seem pretty chilled now’, and the baby started crying again. ‘I spoke too soon!‘ said the mum. It’s a great expression that I haven’t really come across before and it’s definitely handy for talking about your baby!

A few more examples:

  • He won’t be home for hours yet … Oh, I spoke too soon – here he is now! (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
  • A few days ago I said my job is pretty stress-free, but I spoke too soonthe stress level at work has gone way up this week (The Free Dicitonary).
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Everything but the kitchen sink

 everything but the kitchen sink meaning

I apologize for my prolonged absence and for not posting anything for months. I cannot even say that I was extremely busy – at least not all of the time – but there was a fair amount of things going on and maybe I just needed a bit of a break from the blog as well. From now on I hope to be able to update this blog more often!

I took this picture near where I live. It’s an advertisement for Gumtree – a website where you can sell or buy pretty much anything, from cars to furniture (and some people do sell sinks there!) – and it reminded me of a funny expression ‘everything but the kitchen sink‘, which means, well, everything you can imagine.

Here are some examples:

– The kitchen needs to look at its salads which contain everything but the kitchen sink (Oxford Dictionary).

– Peter went to London for the weekend with a huge bag of things – clothes, computers, his special shampoo… He really took everything but the kitchen sink (BBC Learning English).

– So he took the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to reform – ranging from a ban on MPs getting involved in lobbying through to fixed-term parliaments. He even talked about moving towards a written constitution (BBC).

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Russian up… and some other phrasal verbs you never knew existed

russian out up

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

The other day I had another class with my Russian beginner group and one of my students had just returned from a trip to Russia. We all asked how it went and he was really enthusiastic about it, though he admitted he was ‘a bit russioned out‘ by the end of it (= a bit tired from hearing Russian all the time). Wow! Once again I was surprised by the creativity of English!

However, this reminded me of how I went to visit my friend and her baby daughter, and when her English husband was in another room we obviously switched from English to Russian, so he shouted ‘Stop russioning her [the baby] up!’

Ah, the ever-so-flexible English language, even when it comes to Russian!

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Diary-intolerant

diary-intolerant

Photo credit: oldragbaggers.com

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, at some point in the morning I usually listen to Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6 Music, which never fails to cheer me up.

Today he mentioned he had so many things to do this week (just like me!) that he was struggling to fit in a lunch with a friend, who was also very busy. In fact, that friend of Shaun’s has developed ‘a condition’, which manifests itself in high blood pressure, increased heart beat, etc. whenever the guy tries to write up his to-do list for the coming week. The condition is called ‘diary-intolerance‘. At this point I nearly choked on my muesli! What an excellent pun!

I won’t bother with examples this time – I don’t think there would be many – and I really need to get back to my work. I also need to make sure I don’t look into my diary too often – it’s becoming too scary!

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Gobby, continued

I often have this with new words – I come across one and think, hm, maybe it’s not that common, maybe I’ll hardly ever hear it again and I almost don’t write it down. But being the nerdy type that I am, most of the time I do. And a few days (sometimes even hours) later this word appears out of nowhere again.

Next day after I heard ‘gobby‘ at a meet-up with colleagues, I was reading Londoners by Craig Taylor in bed, and, sure enough, there was the word ‘gobby‘ staring at me from the page: ‘And we were both precocious and gobby and forthright, very opinionated’.

This book is a brilliant collection of stories of and interviews with Londoners – a truly enjoyable read whether you love London, hate London or cannot quite make up your mind.

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Gobby

gobby meaning

Photo credit: scarlettlondon.com

Yesterday I went to a meet-up with fellow translators and what a nice bunch of people they are! I met quite a few new people and really enjoyed myself. Towards the end I was talking to a guy who has been working as a teacher at at one of local schools (for girls), and the general conclusion was that when they are young they behave themselves and don’t cause much trouble, but teenage girls often become gobby. Now, that was a genuinely new word for me, even though I knew exactly what it meant because having lived close to a local school I’ve seen quite a few of them.

According to Oxford Dictionary, ‘gobby‘ means ‘tending to talk too loudly and in a blunt or opinionated way’.

Here’re a few examples:

– At convent school, I was always untidy and gobby and got everything wrong (Oxford Dictionary).

– Adele Adkins is a gobby, funny and extravagantly talented 19-year-old whose massive voice is going to make her the biggest singing star of 2008. And, no, she’s not going to be the new Amy Winehouse (The Guardian)

– Those are the teenage girls I love to write about in all their stroppy, sweet, bitchy, gobby, shy, pain in the arse, multi-faceted glory. Because when you’re a teenage girl, being difficult is your default setting (The Guardian).

 

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