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This week we've been serving classic English cream teas to our students at one of our regular Friday social events!

In 2013 we are celebrating the Mayflower College's 25th birthday. Many thousands of students from nearly 100 different countries have studied with us over the years. We are now inviting all our former students to join us on Facebook, tell us about their experiences at Mayflower College and what they are doing now.

OK, let's take a look at some of the more unusual things that have been happening in the news:


  • People in the US who want to exercise with their pets, as a new gym in Chicago is offering joint sessions for owners and their furry friends.
    Read the story here

  • A woman hooked on eating rubber, who, worried that she was causing herself serious damage, recently went to the doctor. However she has received the all clear!
    Read the story here


  • People who are squeamish about bacteria and dusty old things, as the oldest bed in Britain has been identified - and it's 400 years old!
    Read all about the bed that has been slept in by 15 generations here

  • People who think having a mobile phone is too expensive, as a new model has gone on sale this week - costing only £1.
    Read all about it here


"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it." - Jane Wagner


  • Lachanophobia is the fear of vegetables.
  • In the 19th century, sausages were marked as "bags of mystery".
  • There are ten times as many stars in the known universe as there are grains of sand in the world.
  • There are thought to be 100,000 uncharted mountains under the sea. Only 1,000 or so have ever been mapped.


This week we have a collection of photos of sinkholes that have appeared around the world! Have a look here :


OK, no more news. How did you find last week's "FIRE IDIOMS" homework?


1) I want to be an actor. I've got a BURNING ambition to play Hamlet at the Globe Theatre, London.
2) She's got a lot of potential as a singer, but she's not exactly going to set the world on FIRE.
3) I had a BLAZING row with my girlfriend last night.
4) Be careful what you say to Paul. He's got a FIERY temper.
5) I wouldn't say we had an argument. It was just a HEATED discussion.
6) I met Jackie at a conference and liked her immediately. We got on like a house on FIRE.
7) Olga, you're playing with FIRE. If your boss finds out what you are doing you'll be in serious trouble.
8) I was planning a quiet weekend but 4 friends came to stay on Saturday so all my plans went up in SMOKE.
9) Every time I have a new idea, Olga, you just shoot me down in FLAMES without really listening to what I have to say.
10) Have you heard Paul and Olga discussing politics? The SPARKS really fly when they disagree about something.


1) Paul: I didn't know Carol new Chris?
Olga: Oh yes, she's a) AN OLD FLAME from University days.

2) Paul: Can you remember your first day in the classroom, Olga?
Olga: Yes, I had to teach Maths to a class of 30 very difficult 16-year-olds. It was a d) A BAPTISM OF FIRE, I can tell you!

3) Paul: Have you seen the new James Bond film?
Olga: Yes, but despite e) A BLAZE OF PUBLICITY when it came out, it didn't live up to my expectations.

4) Paul: There's a rumour that Wayne Rooney is going to leave Manchester United but I can't believe it.
Olga: Well, you know what they say - there's b) NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE.

5) Paul: So what made you decide to go to Rwanda on holiday?
Olga: Well, I saw a film a couple of years ago and it just g) FIRED MY IMAGINATION.

6) Paul: Did I hear that you are resigning?
Olga: Well, I'm looking for a change, but I don't want to leave this job until I've found something new. I don't want to f) BURN MY BRIDGES.

7) Paul: That's the third government minister who's resigned this week.
Olga: There's been something strange going on for a long time. This just c) ADDS MORE FUEL TO THE FIRE.

And the riddle:

Long and thin and rather graphic,
Plainest scrawl or quite seraphic.
Coloured or just plain grey,
Kept in case, the children play.

The answer is "PENCIL".

This week's homework is called "Fishing Idioms":

PART A - English is a language which is rich in idioms associated with fishing. Underline all the words in this passage to do with fish:

If you fish in the sea you need a fishing line or net. At the end of your line will be a hook or hooks on which you fix the bait. To catch fish like cod or haddock you simply lower your line into the water and wait for them to rise to the bait. If you want to catch mackerel you trawl your line behind a slow-moving boat. In some countries fishermen cast nets into the sea from the shore. In the Atlantic fishermen use huge nets from boats called trawlers.
Fresh-water fishing, or angling, is very different. You use a rod and line. You cast your line into a lake or river. Fish such as salmon are caught on their way up or down river. They spawn in ponds. Children often go fishing for tiny fish called "tiddlers".

PART B - Complete the dialogues below with the following expressions:

1. There's plenty more fish in the sea.
2. He's a big fish in a small pond.
3. We've landed a big contract in Japan.
4. Are you fishing for compliments?
5. They've spawned several new companies.
6. I'm hooked!
7. He's a cold fish.
8. He's quite a catch.
9. She's angling for promotion.
10. There's something fishy going on.

Paul: John is good-looking. He's got a big house. He's powerful.
Olga: Yes, ????? by anyone's standards.

Paul: Do you play tennis every day of the week.
Olga: Yes, I'm afraid ?????.

Paul: You can never get the tiniest smile out of John. I've never seen him laugh.
Olga: No, ?????.

Paul: Prime Minister of Liechtenstein! And he thinks he's important!
Olga: Well, I suppose ????? !

Paul: Maria just phoned me and told me she didn't want to see me again!
Olga: Oh, don't worry! ?????.

Paul: Why are they having all those secret meetings behind closed doors.
Olga: ?????? .

Paul: What do you think of my hair?
Olga: ?????.

Paul: Why are we thinking of opening an office in Tokyo?
Olga: ?????.

Paul: This is the third time this week that Lucy has had lunch with the Managing Director!
Olga: It wouldn't surprise me if ?????.

Paul: Toshiba's move to Plymouth has been really successful, hasn't it?
Olga: Yes, ??????. It's great news for the local economy.

PART C - The following idioms mention 5 different types of fish / mammal: the flounder, minnow, herring, whale and shark. Match them with their meanings:

1. They're just floundering about.
2. They're just minnows.
3. That's a red herring.
4. They had a whale of a time.
5. They're sharks.

A) They are unscrupulous and dishonest.
B) It has nothing to do with what we are discussing.
C) They don't know what they're doing.
D) They are very small and unimportant.
E) They had a wonderful time.

Have a great week and "see you" next Friday!

Best wishes
Paul & Jill

Paul Stevens - Director (based in San Diego, USA)
Jill Tyler - General Manager (based in Plymouth, UK)

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