Thank you for joining the last English Conversation Walk between Vauxhall and Battersea. I hope you enjoyed it. I was really impressed with your level of English ... all of you! It was a pleasure to chat with you as well as share another area of London.
Below, you'll find the vocabulary from the walk. If I've missed anything, please do add it yourself to the blog.
I look forward to seeing you all again. Have a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Vocabulary: Exploring the Thames Industrial Past: Vauxhall to Battersea 08th December 2012
a doddle (noun): Informal English. When something is very easy, sometimes we say: ‘it’s a doddle!’ E.g. I made some chocolate cakes. They were a doddle to make!
to doodle (verb): Sometimes we draw while we concentrate on something else. This is doodling.
nibbles (noun): Usually food that we take to a party e.g. crisps, nits, cheese straws etc. Items of food that we can easily pick up with our fingers without needing a plate.
to nibble (verb): To take very small bites out of food. E.g. the children nibbled their biscuits. E.g. I’m always nibbling at food and then I’m not hungry at dinner time.
to tremble: (verb): When our body shakes either because we are scared or excited or old. E.g. We heard the history about The Albert Bridge – it was known as as ‘the trembling lady’ because it trembled when lots of people walked over it! E.g. she trembled with fear when the door slammed shut.
sewage (noun): the waste from people (water and excrement). We talked about the amount of sewage that used to flow into the Thames.
smog (noun): a mixture of fog and smoke. E.g. Battersea Power Station used to have so much smoke pouring out of the chimneys, that it caused serious pollution. In London, during the 1940s to 50s, the smog was so thick that people couldn’t see where they were going. In 1952, it was known as the ‘Great Smog’ because it was so bad!
to belch (verb): when wind from the stomach comes up through our body, and then comes out of our mouth and makes a noise. We used this word to describe the smoke that came out of the four chimneys at Battersea Power Station. E.g. It belched out tons of smoke.
a pea-souper (noun): a very thick yellowish fog. In London during the 1940s and 50s, the air was so polluted with the smoke from factories, power stations and homes that the it became thick fog (smog)
a swamp (noun): an area of ground (low ground) that is uncultivated (it has not been transformed or cared for by people) and it collects water. It is a ‘bog’ or ‘marsh’. E.g. We talked about how the area around Nine Elms in Vauxhall was once swamp that went all the way down to the Thames.
swampy (adjective): from ‘swamp’ (see above). E.g. A long time ago, Vauxhall was a swampy area.
marsh (noun): (see ‘swamp’ above). An area of low-lying land that gets flooded during the rainy season or by the tide of a river or sea. E.g. the area around Vauxhall used to be flooded by the River Thames when the tide came in. It caused the area to be a marsh.
Mars (noun): A planet – fourth in order from the sun.
March (noun): The third month of the year.
to march (verb): a) to walk quickly, often to a rhythm like the military. b) when someone walks quickly away from something or toward something, we use ‘march’. E.g. She was very angry and marched out of the room! c) When we have demonstrations, we ‘march’. E.g. In October 1936, 207 unemployed people marched 300 miles from Jarrow to London to protest against unemployment and poverty.
sleet (noun): rain that has ice mixed in it. It melts quickly when it lands on the ground. It’s between snow and rain!
urban foxes (noun): the name we often use to describe the foxes that live in cities now. Foxes originally lived in the countryside areas only, but today we see lots of them in London and other towns and cities.
urban seagulls (noun): the same as the foxes (above). When you walk by the Thames, have a look to see how many seagulls there are in London!
to abuse (verb): to treat a person or animal regularly with cruelty or violence. E.g. we walked past Battersea Cats & Dogs Home. This is where animals are taken if they have been abandoned, abused or mistreated.
to mistreat (verb): to treat a person (or animal) badly, cruelly or unfairly.
to put down (phrasal verb): to put an animal to death because it is ill. We also say ‘to put to sleep’ when we kill an animal because we care about it. E.g. They are looked after here and many people give them a new home. Often, they are put down because they are too ill or because a home cannot be found for them.
a put down (noun) informal: a remark intended to humiliate or criticise someone.
a London plane (noun): a tree that is very common in London (and other parts of the UK). The bark is resistant to pollution which is why it is used so often! The majority of our parks have these trees in long lines on either side of the path. We call this an ‘avenue of trees’.
a piece of cake (expression/phrase) informal: if something is achieved easily, we say that it’s ‘a piece of cake’! E.g. If anyone told you that learning English would be a piece of cake, they were wrong!!
easy-peasy (adjective): if something is very easy and straightforward, we say that it’s ‘easy-peasy’.
topsy-turvy (adjective and adverb): a) Adverb = upside down E.g. The roller coaster at the funfair turned everyone topsy turvy.
b) Adjective = in a state of confusion E.g. The topsy-turvy policies of this government mean that unemployment is still very high.
a catch-22 (noun): a difficult situation or dilemma from which there is no escape because one possible action depends on another and another etc. E.g. I want to stay in London but if I need to find a job so that I can pay for a flat and I can’t get a flat until I find a job!