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OK, let’s start the episode.
Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.
I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for intermediate learners. The name of the story is Head in the Clouds. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Cloud. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Cloud. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So today we have a much shorter story than the last few weeks. I’ve been very tired recently for various reasons.
And two, I’ve been working out a lot, I’ve been lifting weights a lot recently. I’ve decided, I want to become really muscly, really muscular. I want to have lots of big muscles: big arms and big chest.
But of course, when you work out more, you also need more energy, so I have been eating more and sleeping more. But hey, lockdown is the perfect time to work on my body, I suppose! And I do find it quite fun, actually.
I know it’s something that everyone knows, but when you do a lot of exercise, your body creates endorphins, which are chemicals which make you feel really good, and I’ve got to the point with my working out where I love those endorphins. I feel great after a workout.
In other good news, in the UK we have finally found out when the lockdown will end. We’ve been in lockdown since early January. So all the shops have been closed, we haven’t been able to meet people. Everything’s just been very dull and serious and the weather was horrible.
But now there is the light at the end of the tunnel. There is something far away giving us hope to keep on going. From the 29th of March, we will be able to meet other people in public, and from the 12th of April, shops like clothes shops, hairdressers and so on will be open again. But mainly, I’m looking forward to restaurants being open, ’cause I love going out to eat
It does still feel like a long way away. We’re not even halfway to the 12th of April, so it’s going to be difficult. But the weather is getting nicer, it’s sunny, the days are getting longer. There is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, so I am so excited.
This summer, I’m really going to take advantage of whatever freedom we have, if we have any freedom! I want to do everything I can.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
When you have your head in the clouds, it means you are always daydreaming. Daydreaming is when you think about nice things that could happen. Right now, with coronavirus, many of us are daydreaming about going travelling, going on dates, going to restaurants—things we can’t easily do right now. But if you daydream too much, you have your head in the clouds, and you miss what’s going on in the world around you!
Famine is when there is very little food to eat in a region and people go hungry. Famines happen because of bad weather conditions, poor planning or bad farming techniques. When there is a famine, many people starve to death.
A herd is a group of animals: a herd of sheep, a herd of pigs, a herd of cows and so on.
A buffalo is a type of animal. It is like a cow, but it is brown, very thick, and has very big horns.
An equestrian school is a place where you go to learn how to ride horses. Equestrian means ‘related to horse riding’. When you ride a horse, you will need to buy equestrian clothing as well.
When you thrust something, you push it very quickly in a direction. For example, if it is very cold or you are very annoyed, you might thrust your hands into your pockets. If you are trying to quickly enter your house, you might thrust your key into the door.
When you illustrate a point, you do something to prove the thing you are saying. For example, maybe you are complaining that your house is very, very cold, so to illustrate the point, you pick a glass of water from the table that has turned to ice. Look, it’s so cold it froze! That illustrates your point.
When something heavy is pushed, it will start to topple. It moves from side to side, and may even fall over. Sometimes, it will topple but then go back to standing up straight again. We also use this to talk about politics. When a government is toppled, it is destroyed and another group takes over.
A puddle is a small pool of liquid that you find on the ground. When it rains, puddles will appear all over. You should try to avoid walking in a puddle, because if you do, your feet will get very wet. If there is a really big puddle in the street, you might have to jump over it.
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support me on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. Last week I talked about working with strangers online, the lockdown exit plan in the UK, the importance of rest, and “Have you ever?”. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
Head in the Clouds
Once upon a time, there was a man called Dai who always had his head in the clouds. While he daydreamed, he would walk into walls, bump into people and break all kinds of things. As a result, nobody wanted to trust him with any real jobs and he was quite poor.
One day, Dai received a gift from his sister: it was a pot of lamp oil. Over the next few weeks, as Dai used the pot, he noticed it had a strange quality. No matter how much oil he used, the pot was always full the next day.
That night, Dai lay down in bed, but he was so excited he could not sleep. He stared up at the pot on his shelf and daydreamed.
‘Just think, think of what I could do!’ he thought. ‘I could go out and sell the oil every day. I reckon I could charge twenty coins for that much oil, so in just five days, I’d have a hundred coins! That would be more than enough to buy a dog. No, not a dog! I’ll get goats, a pair of them. Then, even if there is a famine, I’ll have fresh goat’s milk and goat’s cheese to eat. And of course, I can breed them! They’ll have kids every six months, I think. If they have two kids each time, then in two years I’ll have ten goats in total. Ten goats! That’s a whole herd. I’ll be able to sell milk and cheese to everyone, and I’d even be able to buy a new roof. No, a new house! And why stay with goats? I could trade the goats for cattle, and then once the cows have had babies, I could sell the calves. Then I’d trade those for buffalo, and I’d trade the buffalo for horses. Once the horses have had children, I’ll have a whole herd of them. I could stop selling milk and meat and start an equestrian school, instead. Then, when I have the fastest, strongest horses in the land, I’ll sell them all! Oh, just think of what I could buy with that!’
He daydreamed of castles, palaces, whole villages to himself. But why would such a rich, successful man wish to stay alone?
He jumped to his feet and walked around the room as he continued his daydreaming, now speaking out loud.
‘No, I would invite the most beautiful women from all the world to compete for my affections. I would make it a competition, so that only she with the greatest beauty, personality and homemaking skills would be fit to marry me! And of course, I’ll fall madly in love with her, so impressed by her performance, and we’ll have a gorgeous little boy together. He’ll be called Billy, or Bartholomew, or Fernandez or something like that. And he’ll be big and strong, and I’ll bounce him on my knee and read him stories and tell him how I made my fortune, and then he’ll learn to ride on my horses—no, wait! I will have already sold the horses! Fine then, I’ll buy more. And my wife will say, “Oh, Dai, you can’t let the boy learn to ride, he’s so young!” And I’ll say, “Nonsense! Men of this family are strong and smart, and there’s nothing that can stop us!” ’
He thrust his hand in the air to illustrate his point, slamming into the shelf beside him. The pot of oil toppled over and smashed on the floor, Dai’s dreams leaking out onto his feet.
‘No!’ screamed Dai. ‘It can’t be!’
By now, the neighbour had gotten quite worried about Dai’s shouting. He rushed in and said, ‘Whatever is the matter, man?’
‘My wife, my wife!’ cried Dai, kneeling down over the puddle of oil. ‘My beautiful son! My wonderful horses! My golden palace!’
‘What are you talking about?’ said his neighbour. ‘You don’t have a wife, a child, a horse, and you certainly don’t have a palace!’
‘Oh, but I did, I did…’ whimpered Dai. ‘You wouldn’t understand. You’ve never had those things.’
‘Well, I have a wife,’ said his neighbour, ‘and I must be happy with what I have. Now stop shouting and go to bed, you silly man.’
Dai sighed and did as he was told. For now, he would just have to keep living with his head in the clouds.
If you enjoyed the story and want to say thank you, you can buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Just go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com and click the orange button that says Buy me a coffee! Then you’ll be able to send me $3 so that I can buy a coffee, but really, I’ll probably get a bubble tea. And I’ll think of you while I drink it! Thank you for listening, and until next week.