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Listening and Reading in English

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Listening and Reading in English


Our stories are like little audiobooks, and feature everything from romance, to sci-fi thrillers, to drama, and even detective/crime fiction. We sometimes even welcome special guests to our story, like Sherlock Holmes, everyone's favorite sleuth (or at least ours). Other popular genres are fantasy, comedy, satire, and tragedy. You can get Biographics. We even read some  narrative poetry sometimes!

We don't offer writing tips, but we feature a wide variety of legendary authors from around the world. Reading good literature is one of the best ways to improve your own writing skill.

We're not an English-language course, but our stories are helpful for grasping idioms and English writing styles.



Eggs Benedict is a popular brunch recipe — and now you can make it at home. In this episode of ITK: Eats, we show you a recipe for homemade eggs Benedict with bacon and hollandaise sauce. Get ready for some raving reviews when you serve this up at your next brunch get-together!


4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
White vinegar
2 eggs, cracked
English muffin
Thick-cut bacon, cooked
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh chives, chopped

1. To make the hollandaise sauce: Whisk egg yolks and add in heavy whipping cream and lemon juice while continuing to whisk. Season with salt. Slowly add in melted butter while whisking. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and continue to whisk. Add in cayenne pepper. Remove from heat.

2. To poach the eggs: In a separate saucepan, boil water with a drop of vinegar. Gently pour in one cracked egg and stir the water around it intermittently. Once fully poached, remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the second egg

3. To serve, layer bacon on both halves of the English muffin, then layer on a poached egg on each half. Top with hollandaise sauce, black pepper, salt and chives.



PIERRE DUMONT (1884 – 1936) | Tea Party in Garden

=Spoiler написал(а):

Pierre Dumont (1884-1936): Bouquet of Flowers



A statue of Queen Elizabeth II was unveiled at York Minster on 9 November 2022 by King Charles III, two months after the Queen's death in September 2022. The 6ft 7in (2m) tall sculpture was intended to mark the late monarch's Platinum Jubilee and was completed in August 2022, a month before her death. The statue, which stands in a niche on the minster's west front and weighs almost two tonnes, is carved from French lepine limestone. It portrays the Queen wearing her Garter robes and the George IV State Diadem, and holding the orb and sceptre, symbols of authority.  The design was chosen by the Queen. The statue was originally to have been unveiled in September 2022, but this was postponed owing to the Queen's death and state funeral that month.



When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? It might be time to make a swap:
A dentist says you need a new one every three to four months. (CBS News)









Robber's Bridge, Doone Valley, Exmoor

Robber's Bridge (sometimes known as Robbers Bridge) is a picturesque stone bridge across Weir Water, east of Oare Church in the heart of Exmoor's Doone Valley.


Many visitors, not surprisingly, link the bridge to RD Blackmore's classic novel Lorna Doone and assume that the bridge is named for the Donne family of outlaws. Even the official tourism website for the region, Visit Exmoor, says that the bridge is 'reputed to be the site of a Doone robbery'.

In fact, the bridge is not named for the fictional Doones, but after very real outlaws who roamed the area, outlaws whose exploits inspired Blackmore to create his fictional characters.

Richard Doddridge Blackmore's grandfather served as the rector of Oare Church from 1809-1842, and the writer drew on Exmoor history to create his tale of stout John Ridd and his love for Lorna Doone, published in 1869. It seems likely that the bridge got its name from these real-life outlaws, bandits who preyed on travellers in this remote location.


With that historical background out of the way, what about the bridge itself?

The single-arched span is of simple construction and uncertain age. We do know that it dates to at least 1842 for it appears in a tithe map dated that year.

It is, somewhat surprisingly, not listed by English Heritage, so presumably does not meet their standards for historical importance. It is certainly old, but no one seems to know how old. It is roughly 3.5m across (11.5 feet) and 2.3m wide (7.5 feet).

The bridge carries the narrow lane Porlock Hill to Oare. Just east of the bridge (the Oare side) there is a parking area. There is a grassy lawn near the bridge that has become a popular spot for picnics.

History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation read here:

https://www.britainexpress.com/counties … exmoor.htm



https://i.imgur.com/cyoMbGam.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/QWxPvJSm.jpg
Taking place on Saturday, October 28th, 2023, each team at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races is composed of one 'Emma' and four runners, all dressed in their own costumes. The fastest times to finish the 195-yard track along Manitou Avenue will earn trophies.

Emma Crawford came to Manitou Springs in 1889 searching for a cure for her tuberculosis in the area’s famed cold-water mineral springs. She fell in love with the charming mountain town and her dying wish was to be buried on top of Red Mountain. Unfortunately, Emma succumbed to her illness in 1891. Her lover, a civil engineer on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway named William Hildebrand, honored her wishes. With the help of eleven other townspeople, William carried Emma’s coffin up the 7,200 foot slope and buried her near the summit of Red Mountain.

In 1929, after years of harsh winters and spring rains, Emma and her coffin came racing down the mountainside. The young children who happened upon her remains found only the casket handles, a nameplate, and a few bones.



How our girlfriends can help us get through the toughest times

Here’s the difference between men and women. Some years ago, a couple we knew announced that they were getting a divorce. We were gobsmacked! None of our friends had seen this announcement coming from what appeared (to us) to be one of those “perfect” couples. The day we heard their news, it happened that our friend Paul was scheduled to go on a long day-hike in the mountains with the soon-to-be-single husband, just the two of them. At the end of that day, Paul’s wife waited impatiently for his return to hear the scoop about the split. When he finally arrived home, she asked him:

“Well? Well?  What did he say?”

“What did he say about what?” asked Paul.

“The DIVORCE! What did he say about the DIVORCE?”

“Oh,”  he replied. “It didn’t come up.”

It didn’t come up?  It didn’t come up?  Can you imagine two close women friends hiking together for hours and the most important personal crisis of the decade “doesn’t come up”?   It would never happen. And here’s why:  it turns out that when emotions and feelings are running high, women actually respond with a neurochemical reaction that propels us to seek out our women friends to debrief what is happening to us.

In 2009, a landmark UCLA study found that women respond to severe stress (such as during a divorce or a serious health crisis like a heart attack, for example), with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause this need to connect with other women.(1)  This research was a stunning find that turned five decades of stress research (like cardiac research, most of it done on men) upside down.

Until this study was published in Psychological Review, scientists generally believed that when we experience severe stress, we trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight, or flee as fast as possible, explains Dr. Laura Cousino Klein, one of the study’s authors. This is the ancient fight-or-flight survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by all those sabre-toothed tigers.

But researchers now suspect that the credit for women’s unique stress reactions may belong to the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “love hormone”).  It’s the body’s own wonder drug – released when we nurse our babies, for example.  It so happens that oxytocin is also released as part of a woman’s stress response. It buffers the fight-or-flight response and encourages us to tend children and gather with other women instead – what’s called a tend-and-befriend response to stress.

When a woman actually engages in this tending-and-befriending urge by seeking out her girlfriends to talk about her troubles, even more oxytocin is released, studies suggest, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect on the woman.

This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone – which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress – seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. But estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.

The tend-and-befriend response in women works best, of course, when women actually do have meaningful relationships with friends, neighbours, co-workers and family members. Social support from these relationships can actually affect our cardiovascular health through different pathways, from behavioral to psychological, according to several studies.  Researchers Berkman and Glass, for example, reported in 2000 (2):

Our social support influences our health behaviour. A lack of social support is associated with excess smoking, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, and less use of health services even when ill.
Social support also affects our mental health through such factors as self-esteem.
This term social support often appears in academic discussions of relationships. Social support means having people to turn to in times of need or crisis to give us a broader focus on a problem and enhance a positive self-image. Social support can enhance our quality of life, and can even provide a buffer against hard times.

And just knowing that we have good friends out there to communicate with may also help. This perception of social support can actually strengthen our coping abilities, reduce stress and its negative physiological effects on our health, and help to protect our immune and cardiovascular systems.

Important social support can take different forms:

emotional support:  things people do to make us feel cared for
instrumental support:  tangible physical support, such as helping with housekeeping or providing financial support
informational support:  providing useful information that will help us
The opposite of social support is called social isolation, and its resulting loneliness can actually be a critically important factor for those of us who are at risk for heart disease, especially if we’ve already suffered a heart attack.

Dr. John Cacioppo is a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago who started researching social isolation about 20 years ago. He explains:

“We found fairly quickly that actual social isolation in everyday life isn’t necessarily as important as perceived social isolation. And there’s a term for perceived social isolation. It’s loneliness.

“Lonely people tend to perceive social interactions as more negative and threatening than non-lonely people do. The brains of lonely people are on high alert for social threats. In studies, lonely people have also been shown to have higher levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, and this persistent stressful state produces wear and tear that can affect the cardiovascular system.”

This threat to the cardiovascular system may be due to the body’s white blood cells’ reduced ability to fight inflammation in the body when under stress.

And chronic inflammation is strongly linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease.

How does being married affect loneliness and social isolation?  You’d imagine that married women have few if any problems associated with loneliness, and some studies have suggested a high correlation between positive health outcomes and marriage. But it’s not just the state of being married that can affect outcomes (unless, of course, you’re a man – even men who describe their marriages as unhappy enjoy health benefits from simply being married).

In 2009, researchers at the University of Utah found that women respond to unhappy marriages by being three times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome – a cluster of serious cardiac risk factors that can lead to heart disease.  Women who reported high levels of marital strain were far more likely to experience depression, high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, obesity and other signs of metabolic syndrome. But after accounting for a variety of factors, there were no statistically significant cardiovascular differences between happily married women and happily unmarried women.  See also: Poor Marriage = Poor Heart Health

Sadly, it’s still regrettably common to encounter married women who have dropped their former girlfriends like hot potatoes once they tie the knot. But one Stanford University psychiatrist has warned that abandoning formerly close female friendships because of *him* is a very bad idea:

“One of the best things a man can do for his health is to be married, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she can do for her health is to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.”

Erin Cornwell, a sociologist at Cornell, analyzed population results from the General Social Survey from 2000 to 2008 and found that single people 35 and older were more likely than those who lived with a spouse or a romantic partner to spend a social evening with neighbours or friends.

In 2008, her husband, Benjamin Cornwell (also a sociologist at Cornell), was lead author of “The Social Connectedness of Older Adults,” a paper in the American Sociological Review which showed that single seniors had the same number of friends and core discussion partners as their married peers, but were more likely to socialize with friends and neighbours.

Consider what psychiatrist and author Dr. Gail Saltz once wrote about married women:

”  Women communicate differently than men. Girlfriends tend to bond over very emotional content, whereas men tend to bond over shared activities. Many women tell me that they really wish their husbands would talk to them like their girlfriends. In fact, they expect this kind of communication and then often feel disappointed, rejected and lonely when it’s just not the same.”

And as the late authors William J. Lederer and Dr. Don Jackson explained in their landmark book, The Mirages of Marriage:

”   The most intense and excruciating loneliness is the loneliness that is shared with another person.”

How is the stress caused by loneliness and social isolation – whether you’re married or single – any different from the stress felt by those with demanding jobs, road rage or family crises? Wouldn’t the stress hormone cortisol have the same effect on these people? Dr. John Cacioppo doesn’t believe so:

“  People think about stress as being general and diffuse, but it’s not.  Research has shown that the brains of lonely people respond differently to stress. Mild, temporary stress – such as that caused by giving a presentation at work – releases comparable amounts of epinephrine (a hormone involved in the so-called flight-or-fight response) in both lonely and non-lonely individuals.

“But people who are lonely exhibit higher activity in a part of the nervous system which is especially sensitive to social stress (and which provokes the release of cortisol). More importantly, that heightened activity is present all day long in lonely people, not just during stressful moments.”

Dr. Karen Lawson is Program Director for the University of Minnesota’s Health Coaching track at its Center for Spirituality & Healing. She agrees that our social networks can increase our sense of purpose, self-worth, and promote positive mental health. They can help us get through a divorce, a job loss, the death of a loved one, or a catastrophic health crisis like a heart disease diagnosis.

And she adds:

”  Social networks provide a sense of belonging, security, and a community where you can share your concerns and needs, and also support others. Social networks can be simple – they can consist of talking with a friend over a cup of coffee, visiting with a relative, or going on an outing with a group of like-minded people.

“Often, just knowing these people are available to us can reduce our negative responses to stressful events or other problems.”

Developing and maintaining healthy social ties also involves give and take, she reminds us. Sometimes you are the one offering support, and sometimes you’re the one on the receiving end.

“Letting family and friends know you love and appreciate them will help ensure that their support remains strong when times are rough. At the same time, remember that some of the people you routinely interact with will be more demanding than supportive. Give yourself the flexibility to limit your interaction with those people.”

Dr. Lawson also warns us to beware of support systems that are unhealthy or rigid. These relationships, she says, can be just as damaging as being socially isolated.

And finally, Dr. Joan Silk of the University of California summarizes:

“Being able to connect with other women on various emotional levels can assist in lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol.

“The more friends a woman has, the less likely she is to develop health problems as she becomes older.”

Here: https://myheartsisters.org/2012/02/25/f … est-times/








Heart-warming Winter Landscapes
That Will Melt The Chill Around You - Bored Art

Winters are not easy to paint or draw since light is difficult, shadows are more and the snow is too white in many instances. But when you look at it from an artist’s point of view especially in terms of the challenges it poses, it makes a wonderful subject. Winter can have its own kind of colors, textures and unique lighting that can make it fun to capture. It could constitute part of superb landscape art to keep the outdoors with you all the time. Just imagine the artistic opportunities and challenges that the winter kind of scenario would offer. Even photographers would be enchanted with the possibilities such landscapes would represent. ...




Nerida de Jong was born in Sydney, Australia. From the age of three she was drawing and painting knowing that art would dominate her life.

=Spoiler написал(а):

https://i.imgur.com/fWJXthmm.jpg   https://i.imgur.com/TWKkzpsm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/bDvEMYVm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/VKNh72Fm.jpg

About Artist Nerida de Jong.
Artist Nerida de Jong captures the essence of her life experiences in the rich, vibrant colors of her acrylic paintings. Her style is very natural with brush strokes flowing organically. Her attention to intricate and beautiful detail brings a reality to her work that draws you into the painting allowing you to share those experiences
with her.
For 12 years, Nerida lived in the French medieval village of St Cirq Lapopie perched on a cliff above the Lot River. The influence of the large fields of sunflowers, medieval village, people and French fabrics are but a few of the subjects portrayed in her paintings.
Whether the subject is a bowl of capsicums or a woman relaxing in her immediate surrounds, de Jong manages to extract the innate romanticism that can be found in life’s most simple pleasures.
Her paintings tell real life stories. “My works are just what they are—explanations of what’s happening around me at a particular time,” de Jong explains.
Remembering the passion for drawing and painting that she felt from the age of three, the
Australian Artist Nerida de Jong has spent much of her life in some of the most beautiful corners of the globe, from the exotic Cook Islands and Fiji, to the breathtaking Greek
Islands, to provincial France. These idyllic locations called “home” over the years continue to have a great influence on her artwork today.
De Jong’s work is represented in galleries in a variety of countries and in many private collections throughout the world.



Nerida de Jong

Examples of her most popular works in giclee


=Spoiler написал(а):

https://i.imgur.com/yba4eSgm.jpg  https://i.imgur.com/nx1pAC0m.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/f0kQ5gmm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/LwnfXaHm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/8kIO1l5m.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/lQsVfoOm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/CZPGkSvm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/iiXgY0Lm.jpg. https://i.imgur.com/ECDKxHYm.jpg



What is Giclee?

  The Giclée, commonly pronounced “jee-clay,” is a process that requires that an original piece of art be scanned, then printed with an integrity of color and image that is superbly close to the original. This allows the art-
buying public access to a product that has the look and feel of an original at a reduced cost. Giclée printing allows people who do not want to afford originals to still have beautiful, lasting art in their homes.
Giclée printing has come a long way during the past decade. Once considered an unusual method of printing fine art prints, it is now well known and established. Many European artists’ work is available in giclée
such as Rembrandt, Gauguin, Chagall, Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh. Dozens of museums have mounted exhibitions or purchased giclées for their permanent collections. These include The Metropolitan Museum (New York), the Guggenheim (New York), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), the Philadelphia Museum, the Butler Institute (Youngstown, OH), the
Corcoran (DC), the National Gallery for Women in the Arts (DC), the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (DC), the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, the New York Public Library Graphic Collection, the High Museum (Atlanta), the California Museum of Photography, the National Museum of Mexico and the San Jose Museum, among others.
(Some information taken from Wikipedia)



Take This Quiz To Find Out Which Country You Truly Belong In

https://www.exploredplanet.com/guides/t … ong-in/11/



And death shall have no dominion

Dylan Thomas
1914 – 1953

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

from The Poems of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1943 by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.



Arild Heitmann is a leading photographer based in the north of Norway, and lives a quiet life in the small town close to the Lofoten Islands. In many ways his stature in the world of photography belies his hometown, but at the same time it makes a lot of sense.

Arild grew up in a remote part of Norway and his connection to the mountains is what led him into photography in the first place. He has explored northern Norway extensively, both as a photographer and a sports angler.

Arild is best known for his photos of the Aurora Borealis. In fact, he was one of the first photographers, if not the first, to compose pictures of the northern lights with the landscape below as the focal point. This means that his Aurora work is always easy to spot, due to the dynamic contrast between stunning foregrounds - from waterfalls to ice formations and frozen rivers - and eerie, illuminated backdrops.

Tours with Arild are bound to be eventful, as he’s renowned for being a photographer unafraid of going the extra mile to get a great shot. Just be careful you don’t find yourself falling into any icy rivers or being stalked by wolverines!

Together with fellow Norwegian photographer Stian Klo, he founded the popular Lofoten Tours. They run premium trips across the arctic region to all of the places that every photographer should visit, including Lofoten, Senja, Iceland and Svalbard.