A minha Lista de blogues

terça-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2011


New Year´s Eve is celebrated around the world in many different ways, but in Scotland they call it Hogmanay and the Scots are very proud of their traditional festivities.

Edinburgh Hogmanay is a three-day festival consisting of live music, DJs, dance, art, bars, cinema, an open air ice rink, a big street party and the world famous Edinburgh Midnight fireworks.

Many of these events are free of charge, yet others require a ticket. Also, the festival begins with a large torch light procession.

One of the main traditions of Hogmanay is Firstfooting (that is, the "first foot" in the house after midnight). In order to ensure good luck, the first foot should be male and dark- haired – a custom which attempts to capture the time when blond strangers, reminiscent of the Vikings, meant danger. Moreover, the first foot should bring symbolic coal, shortbread, salt and whisky. Yet, whisky and shortbread are the items that currently remain prevalent.

Lastly, it is important to note that January 2nd is a holiday in Scotland so as to provide time to recover from a week of celebration.

After midnight people celebrating Hogmanay sing together the following tune, one of the most well-known songs in the world: Auld Lang Syne.

Days Long Ago (Auld Lang Syne)

Should old acquaintances be forgotten
And never be remembered?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten
and days long ago.
For days long ago, my dear,
For days long ago
We'll drink a cup of kindness yet
For days long ago!
And surely you'll have your pint tankard
And surely I'll have mine.
And we'll drink a cup of kindness yet
For days long ago.
We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine
But we've wandered many a weary mile
Since the days long ago.
We two have paddled in the stream
From morning sun till dinner-time
But the broad seas have roared between us
Since the days long ago.
And here's my hand, my trusty friend,
And give me your hand too,
And we will take an excellent good-will drink
For the days of long ago.
Lyrics by Robert Burns, (1759-1796) the national poet of Scotland.

Happy New Year!

domingo, 18 de dezembro de 2011

Adventures abroad 2

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The idea came from Jonah L. (“Doane”) Robinson(1856-1946), a lawyer and historian who thought the monument could be a tourist attraction for the state.

Robinson contacted Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who identified Mount Rushmore as a perfect location for a grand monument. Robinson worked with President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) to gain support in Congress for the funding of the monument. It took 14 years to complete Mount Rushmore.

The four presidents carved in the mountain are
George Washington(1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865).

Air Force One Flying over Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is part of the National Park Service:

Mount Rushmore is the site of a climactic chase in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, North by Northwest.

I was in Mount Rushmore with my children, in 2004. It was a very long trip by car from Minnesota, but it was worth it.

Learn about the carving of the mountain:


sexta-feira, 16 de dezembro de 2011

Welcome Winter


The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

Emily Brontë

This is the time to decorate your home for Christmas:

A Christmas tree full of decorations

A Christmas wreath

A Garland

 A centerpiece

Listening to Christmas songs


domingo, 11 de dezembro de 2011

A Árvore de Natal

No século XIX, D. Fernando II, um príncipe da família alemã Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha trouxe da Alemanha para Portugal a tradição da árvore de Natal, conforme se pode apreciar através de dois desenhos de sua autoria.

O original de um deles de 1848, representando-se a si próprio como Pai Natal, rodeado de sete crianças (seus filhos e da Rainha de Portugal D. Maria II) pode ser apreciado no Palácio Nacional da Ajuda. Há um outro de 1844, mais calmo e contemplativo, onde se vê um dos príncipes, segurando um cavalinho de brincar, a olhar para uma mesa, sobre a qual está montada uma árvore de Natal muita decorada.

Ainda a propósito do mesmo tema, é interessante notar que, no mesmo ano de 1848, em Inglaterra, uma ilustração com a família real inglesa em Windsor, junto  à árvore de Natal, é publicada no Illustrated London News. Como se passou em Portugal o costume da árvore de Natal foi também popularizado por um príncipe da mesma família alemã, Alberto de Saxe-Coburg Gotha primo de D. Fernando II e marido da rainha Victoria.
A rainha Victoria, retratada em família, assim como o seu primo D. Fernando II, juntamente com os filhos, apresentavam um  ambiente acolhedor . As famílias reais procuravam que fosse transmitida essa imagem de harmonia. Tudo indica que conseguiram. Rapidamente as pessoas consideraram indispensável a árvore de Natal nas comemorações natalícias, até aos dias de hoje.

Um pequeno pinheiro de Natal enfeitado com cartões feitos por alunos da EB 2,3 Paula Vicente.

Teixeira, José. D. Fernando II Rei - Artista . Fundação da Casa de Bragança. Lisboa, 1986

The Nativity Scene

   When St Francis of Assisi made the first Christmas Nativity Scene in Greccio, a small village in Italy, in 1223, crowds came to see it. He made a manger by a rocky cave in the woods and real people acted the parts of Mary and Joseph. A wax doll represented Jesus. He also included animals like an ox and a donkey. Then he delivered Mass.
         Everybody loved it. The service was so moving that people almost believed they were actually in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. Next year the same scene was repeated in other churches and Christmas cribs have become popular ever since. As time went by statues replaced people and also the Three Wise Men, shepherds and angels were added.
         In the XVII century this custom was introduced in churches and in the homes of Christian families.
         Nowadays you can find Christmas cribs made of many different materials and styles.


sábado, 10 de dezembro de 2011

December 2011 Newsletter

© Clever Pants 2011
Christmas quotes
In the festive spirit, this month we’re gifting you some inspirational words about Christmas

It’s not the gift but the thought that counts.
Henry van Dyke

Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.
 Carol Nelson

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying “toys not included”.
Bernard Manning

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold

Idioms - What a pain in the neck!

© Clever Pants 2011
This month we’re getting carried away with idioms related to parts of the body!

Idiom: (n). an expression, word or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.

A pain in the neck

An annoying or bothersome person or event.

“Our customer is a pain in the neck and is always complaining about something.”

At each other's throats

Fighting or arguing all the time

“The two boys were at each other's throats when they entered the room.”

Shout at the top of your lungs

Shout with a very loud voice.

“I yelled at the top of my lungs to get the man's attention.”

Difficult to stomach

To be unable to accept someone, to be unable to accept something that you think is unpleasant or wrong.

It is difficult to stomach my friend when she begins to complain about things.

Eyes bigger than your stomach

Taking more food than one can eat.

“I took an extra helping from the buffet, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach, because I couldn't finish it!”

Give someone the cold shoulder

To be ignored or rejected (by someone).

“I saw Sarah the other day but she gave me the cold shoulder!”

Keep your chin up

To not allow oneself to get depressed or intimidated.

“Don't lose hope! Things will get better. You have to keep your chin up and be positive.”

A shoulder to cry on

Someone who you can tell your problems to and then ask for sympathy and advice.

“I gave my friend a shoulder to cry on when I met him at the coffee shop.”

Did you know..?

In spoken English, especially in the USA and in songs, we use shorter, more informal ways of saying some things.
I am going to     I’m gonna
I don’t have       ain’t got no
I have                   I got / I´ve got

Nina Simone (1933-2003) was a popular U.S. Jazz singer in the 1960s and 1970s who was very involved with the American Civil Rights Movement.
The American Civil Rights Movement was when black people in the USA protested to have equal rights to white people.
Ain’t Got no/I Got Life was a song associated with the Civil Rights

The text was taken from
© Clever Pants 2011

quarta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2011

Immaculate Conception

" Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception"
Portugal, 18th century

December 8th is a religious holiday in Portugal. King John IV (1604-1656) of Portugal proclaimed Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as the Patron Saint of Portugal. When he was crowned he offered his crown to the Virgin who also became Queen of Portugal. For this reason all the Portuguese kings that followed have never worn a crown.

A few years ago, Mother´s Day was commemorated on this date, but it changed afterwards to the first Sunday in May.

King John IV received a very refined education and showed great appreciation for the arts and music. He was also a music composer and owned the largest music library in Europe. The hymn Adeste Fidelis was found in the Palace of Vila Viçosa 100 years before it was attributed in England to John Francis Wade.

quinta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2011

English Showcase IV

My Fair Lady is a 1964 musical film based upon Bernard Shaw´s book, Pygmalion.The story is about a flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, in order that she may pass as a proper lady.

As you all recall, the topic Cinema was studied this term during class.

The main purpose of the film is to demonstrate the importance of learning English, but with special emphasis on the significance of “proper English”. This is shown throughout the film by how characters speak English differently. Also relevant is the Ascot Race as we also learned about it in Sports.

The film was directed by George Cukor starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It won 8 Academy Awards in 1965.

The second showcase is just to remember Christmas is coming.

Don´t forget the Chritmas Spirit!

domingo, 27 de novembro de 2011

FADO- intangible cultural heritage

Today in Bali, Indonesia, Fado, a unique musical genre that opens a window into the Portuguese soul, has been classified by Unesco as intangible cultural heritage. The application to recognize Fado’s unique sphere in universal culture started as far back as 2005. Besides the music, the historical neighbourhoods of Alfama, Mouraria and Madragoa, where Fado is sung almost daily, will also be recognized.

The singing of Fado began in Lisbon in the XIX century but its popularity waned in the mid 20th century, regaining popularity in recent years. A younger generation of Portuguese and curious foreigners have now begun to attend new places dedicated to this genre of music. For example, the recently opened POVO bar/restaurant near Cais do Sodré seeks to expound Fado to cater for the growing demand of young listeners.

Paintings by José Malhoa and Paula Rego

From the NY Times to Oporto

.".. Oporto, with its high bridges, its tall hills and the succinct labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets in its scruffy old heart, snug against the river".

Frank Bruni in Portugal Old, New and Undiscovered. The New York Times. May 26, 2010

Read the articles:

36 Hours in Porto, Portugal by Seth Sherwood:

Portugal Old, New and Undiscovered by Frank Bruni

In Portugal, Daring Design in a Laid-Back City by Fred A. Bernstein

Casa da Música

See the beautiful sights and enjoy the local gastronomy.

segunda-feira, 21 de novembro de 2011

Adventures Abroad 1

The Lake District
The county of Cumbria, also known as The Lake District, is an area of great natural beauty which offers an enormous range of attractions including mountain scenery, sixteen lakes and a countless number of very charming villages.

This mountainous region in North West England is often associated with Romanticism, a movement in the arts and literature, during the late 18th century and early 19th century, which recognized the importance of emotions and imagination.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834) were the first British Romantic poets.
The Lyrical Ballads (1798), a collection of poems by these two poets, is generally considered to have marked the beginning of the Romantic Movement within literature in England.

 The unsurpassed landscape was also an inspiration for the artistic works of many painters.

The English romantic painters John Constable (1776-1837) and William Turner (1775-1852) also painted this area.



Farmhouse by a Lake in the Lake District


William Wordsworth declared that the Lake District was ‘the loveliest spot that man has ever known’ and John Constable described the Lake as ‘the finest scenery that ever was’.

Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. Grasmere village, near the lake with the same name, is probably one of the Lakes´ most popular villages, thanks to Wordsworth who lived there in a house that is now a museum, Dove Cottage.
Dove Cottage

I wandered lonely as a cloud 

I Wandered Lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 

When all at once I saw a crowd, 

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze


William Wordsworth