Adam: Hello and welcome! My name is Adam. Rob is on holiday this week – lucky man! He’ll be back for the next episode.
Thanks for your comments – we love hearing from you. It was really interesting to hear how you greet each other. Adilson Santos sent us a great message telling us the different ways to greet people in Brazil. He said that people who are not close friends just say ‘hi’. If they are better friends, a girl might hug a boy and kiss his cheek, but boys never kiss each other, they only shake hands and boys who are very good friends might hug quickly. He also said that boys don’t really shake hands, they slap their hands together, and that at church he kisses men on the cheek and shakes hands with women.
Isn’t it interesting how complicated greetings can be!
Langtucoiam from Vietnam said that, when meeting an old friend, people will normally shake hands, but again it can be different depending on how close you were, how old your friend is and your friend's sex.
Finally, Hess in the Ivory Coast said that people in his tribe always ask for news when they meet, but they don’t bow or shake hands. He said that two people who slept in the same room will even ask what the news is when they wake up in the morning! I found that fascinating.
Do you remember what Tess and Ravi are doing in this series? They are looking at all the things that people think about when they think about Britain. So, what’s the topic today? Well, it’s something that British people love to talk about. Can you guess what it is?
Tess and Ravi
Ravi: Hi everyone, hi Tess!
Tess: Hi Ravi.
Ravi: Right. I think you know that Tess and I are here to talk about some of the things you think you know about Britain.
Tess: Things like ‘drinking tea’, ‘the Royal Family’ and ‘fish and chips’ – things you think are very British.
Ravi: And what could be more British than today’s weather? It is horrible out there, Tess.
Tess: Is it raining?
Ravi: No, it’s not raining but it’s grey and cold and miserable and… it’s exactly what people said about British weather. We asked our listeners around the world what they think about when they think about Britain and lots of people said ‘British weather’.
Tess: Do people think the weather here is bad?
Ravi: Well, they think it rains a lot – and it does. They think the summer is wet – and it often is, they say that…
Tess: I don’t think British weather is so bad though, do you?
Ravi: I do today.
Tess: It’s true that we don’t have very hot summers but, you know, we don’t have very cold winters either. Britain’s got a temperate climate – that means …
Ravi: A what climate?
Tess: Temperate climate. It means that we don’t have extreme weather – we don’t have very hot summers or very cold winters. But that also means that the weather is quite changeable – the weather changes quite often.
Ravi: Yeah, it can be raining, then five minutes later it’s sunny, then it starts raining again. You never know what the weather is going to be like.
Tess: But that’s a good thing, Ravi. I like that. People sometimes say you can have four seasons in one day in Britain and it’s true.
Ravi: But how can you decide what clothes to wear, Tess? You don’t know if it’s going to be cold or hot or what...
Tess: That’s typical of you, Ravi. And, because the weather does change quite a lot, that’s why British people seem to talk about the weather so much. It’s typical small talk, isn’t it? The sort of thing you say to people when you’re waiting for a bus or something. ‘Nice day today’ or ‘I think it’s going to rain later’. That kind of thing.
Ravi: That’s true. It’s difficult to talk about the weather if the weather’s the same every day. We say ‘I think it’s going to rain later’ because it usually is going to rain. It does rain a lot here.
Tess: Well, I don’t know. I think it’s about the same as other countries in the north of Europe. It’s just that we get rain all year round rather than just in one season. Anyway, the rain means that we have beautiful green countryside. Lots of visitors love the countryside because it looks so green – and that’s because of the rain.
Ravi: Hmm. You know how I feel about the countryside, Tess, but I suppose it does look nice, if you like that kind of thing.
Tess: Lots of people do. I think the British countryside is beautiful – and so do lots of visitors. And it wouldn’t look so green if we didn’t have all that rain!
Adam: Mmm, I agree with Tess. I grew up in Scotland and the weather there can be very changeable. You can have hot sun, snow, rain and wind all in one day. People say "If you don't like the weather in Scotland, don’t worry - just wait half an hour and it will change!"
Many people love talking about the weather and there are lots of words about it. I think there are a lot more words to describe bad weather than good weather! Perhaps that’s because when the weather is good, people are too busy enjoying themselves to discuss it.
If it’s dark, you can say that it’s a grey day, perhaps because there are lots of clouds covering all the sky – which means that it’s overcast. That probably means that the weather is miserable and dull. If there’s a very light rain that doesn’t stop, then you can say it’s drizzly – this sort of rain is called drizzle. If the clouds look like they will rain hard soon, then you can say there is an angry sky.
Oh, it’s so much fun complaining about the weather! Now you know why we do it.
Write in and tell us about the climate in your country. Is it always the same or does it change a lot? What are the best times of year and the worst? What temperature do you think is a hot day and what temperature do you think is a cold day?
You can leave your comments on LearnEnglish which is at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish or on Facebook - we’re at ‘Elementary Podcasts’. Look out for the next episode with more news about Carolina! Bye!