Gerry’s Diary 171: Easter in Wales and Zurich, and “one of those days” (22nd April, 2016)

Hi, this is Gerry and this is my Diary for Friday 22nd April 2016. I’m recording this Diary two weeks earlier than usual. That’s because my wife and I are going on holiday, and I’ll tell you more about that next month in my next show. But for now we just had our Easter break. Our daughter and her family came here from London, and we had a lot of fun with Lulu and her little brother, so I’ll tell you a bit about that. Then I’ve got a story about another Easter – an Easter in Switzerland. Finally, there’s a story about a friend who had “one of those days” – that’s a day when everything goes wrong. But let’s start with the pub quiz.


My pub quiz last time was about sport. I asked the following two questions. When we talk about a local derby [1] (or derby, as the Americans say) in sports such as football, what do we mean? What’s special about a local derby? And the second question is this? Which local football derby involves the Old Firm? Who or what is the Old Firm in football? Because I’m recording this show early, it’s possible that I haven’t seen all your messages but I did see the message from Ella, who had the right answer to both questions. As she said, a derby is a match between two local rivals. In football, for example, the two football teams in Liverpool, Everton and Liverpool Football Club, are great rivals, and the matches between them are always big events. Manchester United and Manchester City are two more examples, or Spurs and Arsenal in London. The Old Firm [2], though, refers to the two Glasgow teams: Celtic and Rangers. The rivalry in Glasgow is perhaps stronger and sometimes more bitter [3] than in other cities because there’s a sectarian [4] dimension to it. Celtic was traditionally the Roman Catholic club, with a lot of support from the Irish community in the city, while Rangers was Protestant. There’s a history of trouble between Protestants and Catholics in Glasgow – not as bad as in Belfast, but similar. The football clubs these days have changed, however. Football is such an international sport now. Modern teams have players from lots of different religious and cultural backgrounds.


20160422 E LuluMarch was a nice month here – I’m talking about the weather. It was quite cold but dry and sunny. But then it changed – just before Easter, just before all the visitors came to Wales! Good Friday was nice – windy but sunny – but then the weekend was awful. We had the family here with Lulu and her little brother. It’s good to go outside with small children and we usually go to the beach or to local playgrounds – or even stay in the garden. On Good Friday [5] we went to the beach [6] and Lulu enjoyed digging [7] in the sand. But on Saturday it rained all day. So we went to the Anglesey Sea Zoo, and I’ve never seen so many people there before. It was a bad weekend for most people but a very good weekend for indoor places like the Sea Zoo. And Lulu loved it. Her favourite animals were the lobsters [8], because they were right in front of her eyes. Her little brother liked the big tank where all the fish were swimming round.

This Easter, something made me remember another Easter when we lived in Switzerland. It was a long time ago. Our children were quite young. We hadn’t been in Switzerland very long. It was perhaps our second or third Easter in Zurich. My mother came to visit us I remember, and we decided to do something different on Easter Sunday. Usually we didn’t like to go to restaurants when the children were small. Firstly, it was very expensive for us, and with three small children and one salary we didn’t have too much money. And secondly, the children didn’t really enjoy it. It was difficult for them to sit still [9] at table, and often they didn’t really like the food. But on this Easter Sunday, I thought it would be nice for us all to go out. I heard about a hotel in Zurich where we could go and eat brunch, that American invention: a sort of late breakfast at lunchtime. It’s an informal meal. The children could take what they wanted. It’s popular with families so there would be other children there and so on. I telephoned to reserve a table for the six of us.

That morning the children got up early. They got their Easter eggs and Easter presents [10]. We tried to stop them eating too much chocolate at one time. But they had a nice morning playing. Then everybody got dressed, ready to go out, and we got in the car and drove into Zurich to go and eat brunch. We found the big hotel, and we also found somewhere to park the car. The children were excited. I think we had to go up in a lift [11] to get to the restaurant. That was exciting, too. We went into the restaurant. I gave my name. “I booked [12] a table, for six,” I said. “For one o’clock.” “I’m sorry,” they said, “You’re too late. We’ve stopped serving brunch.”

For a moment, I didn’t understand. And then, of course, it became clear. Easter was early that year, like this year. And the clocks went forward [13] onto Summer Time between Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday, like they did this year. I thought it was one o’clock but it was two o’clock. Why didn’t I know? Well, we were new in Switzerland. I didn’t buy a newspaper. I didn’t listen to the radio much or watch television. I just missed the news that weekend.

So no brunch for us that Easter. I wonder, have you got stories about when you forgot to change your clocks?


Now here’s another story about things going wrong [14]. A friend telephoned before Easter and told us a funny story about going out. She lives in Cambridge and she had an invitation to go out to a very special dinner at one of the Cambridge colleges with some colleagues from work. It was a formal dinner. That means dinner jackets [15] (or tuxedos) for the men and long dresses for the women. Our friend only works part-time, so she was home during the day. She had plenty of time to relax and get ready for this special dinner. But then the old lady who lives next door came in to see her and stayed for a couple of hours. And then somebody else telephoned. And then something else happened. So most of the day went and our friend hadn’t really had time to relax, as she wanted to. But in the afternoon, it was quiet and she planned to have a bath, put her feet up [16] and look forward to her dinner. Before that she made a cup of tea, and she remembered that she needed a few things from the supermarket. Like a lot of people in Cambridge, our friend rides a bicycle, so she decided to ride her bike to the supermarket and get what she needed. When she arrived at the supermarket, she locked her bike, did her shopping and then came out to ride home. But… she didn’t have the key to unlock [17] her bike. The lock [18] was open when she got to the supermarket, so she was able to lock the bike, but now she couldn’t unlock it. So, she had to walk home (about 20 minutes), get the key, walk back (another 20 minutes) and then cycle home. When she got home she wasn’t feeling as relaxed as before and now she didn’t have much time to get ready. So she had a quick bath and washed her hair. She then decided to paint her finger nails [19]. She had a bottle of red nail varnish [20], so she sat down in her living room and started to do her nails.

Our friend’s house is very small. She has a tiny living room, and it’s full of old furniture, books and so on. So she was sitting on her sofa. The bottle of varnish was on one knee and she was painting the nails on one hand. The nail varnish had a strong smell. She breathed it in and it made her sneeze. When she sneezed, she moved her knee. And when she moved her knee, the open bottle of varnish fell off onto the floor. Our friend stood up, because she wanted to get the bottle. But… when she stood up she forgot that she was sitting under an old lamp. Her head hit the lamp and some of her hair got stuck in the metal structure of the lamp. When she tried to get her hair out of the lamp, she forgot that she had wet, red nail varnish on her hand. So she ended up with red nail varnish in her hair, red nail varnish on her housecoat and on her carpet. Not very relaxing.

Anyway, she got ready for the special dinner. She tried to do her hair so that you couldn’t see the red bits. She put on her nice long dress. It was an off-the-shoulder dress. So nothing on the shoulders [21]. It was a dress that you sort of roll on or roll off. At 7 o’clock she was just ready when her boss, the professor, came to collect her in his car. He was very nice and complimented her on her dress and so on. They drove to the college. The professor helped her out of the car, and then invited her to go up the stairs to the dining hall in the college. She started up the stairs and he followed her. Unfortunately, he didn’t look, and he put his foot on the bottom of her dress just as she went up the stairs. So she went up the stairs but her dress didn’t. She realised that she was starting to lose her dress. She was stepping out of it. The professor also realised what was happening. She gave a little scream [22]. He went very red and started apologising. But after she got her dress back in position, she told him: “It’s just one of those days.”


And now here’s your new pub quiz question. We, in the United Kingdom are having a referendum about leaving the EU. Which other countries have already left the European Union? Did any other country already leave the EU? Send your answers to the website or you can use Twitter. My Twitter address is @gerrypod. Don’t forget the Vocabulary Trainer on the PodClub app. And until the next time on May 13th, thanks for listening and take care!

[1] NB The word “derby” probably comes from the name of Lord Derby (1752-1834). In the 18th century Lord Derby was a great fan of horse racing. He started the famous horse race called The Derby. Then people started using the name “derby” for other big sporting competitions.
[2] NB Nobody seems to know where this name came from. “Firm” can mean a company. It can also mean strong or solid. So perhaps the rivalry between the two clubs has been commercially very successful, so they’re like a company making money. Or perhaps they are just strong (firm) rivals. Nobody knows!
[3] bitter rivals: the opposite of friendly rivals (Friendly rivals like each other, but ~ rivals hate each other.)
[4] sectarian: where there is trouble between different religious groups
[5] Good Friday: the Friday before Easter
[6] beach: a flat place (where you can walk) where the sea and the land meet
[7] to dig: to make a hole (here: in the sand on the beach)
[8] lobster: a big shellfish (a sort of animal that lives in water, which has a hard shell round its body, for example crab, mussel, oyster) which has a long body with a flat tail, eight legs and two large parts like arms that can catch things. People like to eat them.
[9] to sit still: to sit without moving, to remain sitting
[10] present: something nice that you give to another person on their birthday, for Christmas, etc.
[11] lift: a machine that carries you up and down in a building, e.g. from the ground floor to the top floor
[12] to book: to reserve
[13] to go forward: to advance, the opposite of “to go back”
[14] to go wrong: when problems happen, the opposite of “to succeed” or “to go well”
[15] dinner jacket: (British English) evening dress for men (a black suit with a white shirt and black bow tie) (American English: tuxedo)
[16] to put your feet up: to relax by sitting with your legs and feet on a sofa, for example
[17] to unlock: to open something with, for example, a key
[18] lock: here: something that will stop somebody from taking/stealing the bike
[19] nails: the smooth, hard parts that grow on the top and over the end of your fingers and toes
[20] varnish: a kind of paint that is usually transparent
[21] shoulder: where the arm joins the body
[22] scream: a high shout (People ~ when they’re very frightened or very surprised.)


Gerry 17-05-2016 13:11
Hi Dani
Thank you for your comment. You will hear my new Diary in a few days but I recorded it last week before I read your answer to my question.
I didn't talk about Algeria in my show because that happened a long time ago before the name European Union was adopted but it's a good point.
I hope you enjoy the next Diary and thank you again for writing.
Take care
Daniel 17-05-2016 12:29
Hi Gerry

I hope you had a nice holiday. I will go with my family in late July to Ticino.
It is always a pleasure to hear your stories for me . to wait four weeks are always a long time.

The answer to your question is complicated, so here is something from Wikipedia :-)
Originally to France belonging Algeria after its independence in 1962, no longer part of the EU . Belonging to Denmark autonomous Greenland took effect in 1985 is currently the only territory for a referendum of the Community. The French Caribbean island of Saint -Barthélemy has completed 1 January 2012 at his own request the status change to a Union only associated territory .

Best regards from Mollis , Dani
Ladi Stalder 28-04-2016 16:25
Thanks Gerry! This is a really nice diary, I enjoyed it a lot.
Vivi basappa 28-04-2016 16:23
Really nice voice!
Willy 25-04-2016 12:59
Dear Gerry
Since January 2010 I am a faithful follower for all your stories and topics. I like Oven`s stories from China too. Last Year I was for one day on the Isle of Anglesey and crossed first the big bridge and later on the way back the narrow bridge near your home. The weather was cold and a little wet.
Why I write to you today is my aha exprience with the switch to the sommertime in the USA.
On Saturday the 7th March 2009 my wife and I came back from a cruise and we stayed at a hotel in Beverly Hills. For the next day we had booked a City Tour Los Angeles and Hollywood. A Driver shoud us take to the meeting point at 8:45. Luckily we get up early and we were at 8:30 ready for breakfest.
We sat on the table and we wondered us, that so many people in the USA already breakfasted. The waiter brought us the coffee and a reseptionist cames and said to us: „The driver is waiting“! Two minutes later we knew, that in the USA the sommertime switch on the second Sunday in March.
After 5 minutes we were without breakfest in the car.
Kind regards
Ruth 23-04-2016 13:05
Dear Gerry
It was a pleasure to read and hear your interesting diary, also the nice photo with Lulu.
My story has not to do anything with switch to summer time, but something with breakfast.
We had a similar experience when we stayed a couple of days in Sydney. For breakfast we looked always for a nice coffee shop in the city, where we could sit outside. The last morning which we had in Sydney was a Sunday and we didn’t know that almost all coffee shops were closed on Sunday. We walked through many streets and wasted a lot of time until we found a big hotel which still served breakfast, it seemed exclusive, but we were hungry and decided to go in. The waiter gave as a table and told us that we could help ourselves on the big buffet and that the price was 42 Dollar for each. For the first second we were a little shocked but then we couldn’t resist, there were so many things at choice and it looked delicious. We were very happy and enjoyed our breakfast which we started with our habits coffee, bread, butter, jam, scrambled eggs and bacon.
After about 45 minutes the waiter came back and told us that they will clear away the warm buffet and if we like something more from there we have to take it on the table.
We were very disappointed that the waiter didn’t say a word before, how long they do serve breakfast.
In this short time we couldn’t profit from this wonderful buffet, so we paid too much for that what we got.

Warm regards