"A change is as good as a rest" is a common saying in England. And that's what I've been having. It's summer, the children are out of school, our routine is up in the air(1), and we've been getting out of town. Have you noticed? I haven't been talking into my little snowball microphone recently because I've been going here and there(2). The place I've been to most recently is Lake Chelan. It's only a forty-five minute drive(3) from Wenatchee, but it feels as if you are in another state. Obviously, there is a lake there, and it's a huge one. It's actually the 26th deepest lake in the world, at 1,486 ft. It's name, Chelan, is taken from the Native American word 'Tsillan' which means 'deep waters'. It's also very long: 55 miles total. It's a popular place for boating, water skiing, and fishing. There are many species of salmon, trout, and bass in the lake. The salmon, called the Chinook, can get up to 30lbs in weight, with the average weighing between 9 and 16lbs. It's very exciting fishing when you can get such a big fish, and one that's so delicious. When we fished there unfortunately the salmon were not interested in our bait(4) or hooks. Maybe we were making too much noise because we were having too much fun. The fun continued later, back at the campsite, when we rode our dirt bikes(5) along a dirt road(6) that circled through the forest and back up to where we were camping. Night came, and we settled into our trailer, the trailer that we use for the dirt bikes. We slept on mats and in sleeping bags, all packed in like sardines. It was funny, uncomfortable, and we didn't sleep much, but that's all part of the camping experience.
1. 'Up in the air' is a phrase that means 'random', 'unorganized', 'unsure' and 'unplanned'.
a. My plans for summer are up in the air still; we haven't planned anything definite.
b. I don't know if their wedding is on or off; it's all up in the air.
2. 'Here and there' talks about unspecific locations.
a. Where have you been? Oh, here and there.
b. He leaves his shoes here and there, all over the house!
3. 'A forty five minute drive' 'a thirty minute walk' 'a two hour hike'. Can you see a pattern here? Even though we're mentioning more than one minute or hour, the phrases are singular.
a. It's just a twenty minute train ride into town.
b. It's a three hour flight to the capital.
4. 'Bait' is the word for food that is put on a hook for fish, or that is put in a trap for hunting.
a. The bait for fishing is usually worms.
b. Fresh meat is good bait if you want to hunt cougars.
5. 'Dirt bikes' are motor bikes that can ride on hills, and rough roads. They usually get very dirty.
a. I took the dirt bike on the mountain trail; it was so much fun!
b. If you get the right license, you can use a dirt bike on a normal road.
6. 'A dirt road' is usually a primitive road that is not paved, or tarmacked. It can be a private road that is not maintained by the local council. 'Dirt' in the U.S means 'soil' or 'earth'. In England it means any substance that is 'dirty', not necessarily soil.
a. We walked up the dirt road until we came to a sign that read 'Private Property'.
b. The road up to the houses is a nice asphalt, smooth road. Beyond the houses it turns into just a dirt road.
Join me on Facebook at Anna Fromacupofenglish. Questions, comments, or do you need conversation classes to improve your spoken English? Email me at email@example.com