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Dec 14, 2016

Recently the landscape here turned into a winter wonderland(1). It snowed for two days in a row, and transformed the whole area into a white fairytale. During my coffee break, I walked out of the school and found that the sun was shining brightly while the snow was still falling. How was that possible? Everybody seemed happy. The school children were excited, and even the teachers were more lively than usual. It was quite magical. Well, that lasted for a day. Today was a different situation altogether(2). It was dull and freezing, -5 degrees C. And what made it worse was that the wind was blowing. Ouch that felt icy on my face! Later I noticed in town that some people were well prepared for the weather. They were bundled up in winter clothes, lots of woolens, and their heads, necks, and hands were wrapped up. Some people, however, had been caught out(3). They were the ones who were walking quickly with their heads down trying to avoid the wind. Their skinny jackets offered no protection against the cold, and their hands didn't come out of their pockets. The only creatures who were fully prepared for this weather were the hundreds of geese that have not yet flown south for the winter. They are still resting and feeding in the school fields, and already fat enough to stay warm. It's surprising how many of them are still in the fields; they seem to be everywhere. Their black and grey bodies contrast with the snow, and look like freckles on a white face. Any day they will fly away and make their journey to a warmer part of the country, leaving us to shiver for a few more months.

1. 'A winter wonderland' is a set phrase that we always use when describing a very snowy scene that seems to be perfect.

a. The boy ran into his parents room early in the morning, "Mum, dad! Look out of the window! It's a winter wonderland!"

b. The town of Leavenworth relies on the snow to turn it into a winter wonderland for the tourists.

2. 'A different situation altogether.' Here, the 'altogether'  emphasizes the meaning of the first part of the sentence, as I am trying to emphasize that the weather totally changed from one day to the next. It can be substituted by 'completely'.

a. Mix the sugar and butter until the sugar has dissolved altogether.

b. His answer was not altogether surprising.

3. 'To be caught out' can mean to be discovered, to be proven wrong, but when it comes to weather it simply means that you were unprepared and suffered the consequences.

a. I had not checked the weather that day, and so when the downpour started, I was completely caught out.

b. In the card game BS, the other players will try to catch you out. They will judge if you are saying the truth or not.