Bitesize Episode 23 - Happy Birthday to The British English Podcast

Charlie Baxter

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By Charlie Baxter

Bitesize Episodes (17-32)

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Learn British English in this episode with Charlie, your host, where he gives you an update on the direction of this show and what is currently new with him.
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The Life You Can Save

A charity that makes “smart giving simple” by curating a group of nonprofits that save or improve the most lives per dollar. They aim to create a world where everyone has an opportunity to build a better life and where there’s no suffering or death due to extreme poverty.
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 23 Transcript

Hello and welcome to this episode of the British English podcast, if this is your first time listening to this show, then I recommend going to the beginning and enjoying a whole year of episodes because this one, this episode is for the seasoned listener, the ones who have been with me for a while now, and we're going to have a bit of a heart to heart. I want this one to be a more intimate one. A more open and honest one from me to you, and I feel like it's only fitting to do it on the podcast's birthday. So let's put our hands in the air and say Happy Birthday to the British English podcast. More or less, give or take a couple of weeks. I'd say it's, you know, the Podcast's Birthday. Birth month. Let's go with that birth month because I started this over a year ago. Now this this podcast, not this episode. And I'd like to have a bit of a chat with you about it, about what is going on for me right now in my life and where I'm hoping this podcast could lead to for me and for you. But I did use the word me there in that introductory part quite deliberately, because I'll be honest, this this episode is, you know, kind of for me. I've put me in pole position in regards to the planning. Pole position, meaning first place, normally in a race, you say pole position, formula-1, the sport. Normally I would put the British English learner in first place, which, you know, for the planning of an episode, which is what I should do as I'm serving you. I'm aiming to give you what you want. But this one, I'm I'm being pretty selfish and going with what I want, and I hope it still aligns with you somewhat. I'll, of course, be giving you some lovely intermediate to advanced English expressions to keep you entertained. But anyway, let's get into this bitesize episode with a bit of Charlie chatter chatter from Charlie. And if you've not signed up to the website yet, then go grab that free worksheet to help you with this episode's vocabulary over on the British English podcast dot com. All right. I'd like a pianist in the background for this one. Let's get him on. Yeah, nice. There we go. So we can imagine maybe sitting down for a candlelit dinner at a nice restaurant not too posh to make you feel nervous. Just a very nice one. Just me and you listening to a bit of piano in the background. And for some reason, I'm going to talk all the way through the meal and not let you get a word in edgewise. How rude of me, I know. But anyway, so yeah, one year, one year in, I'm one year in and I'm sat here in my makeshift recording booth.

Yeah, and I've actually just upgraded it a little bit. I now have three spotlights. No, they're just lights, actually. They're just little click on lights above me before I had no lights. I've been recording in complete darkness for over a year. So yeah, I've got some lights that cost me £5. But due to the growth of the podcast, I felt like I could afford to treat myself because we've got a large community now. I checked the stats recently and over 200000 people have subscribed to the podcast and nearly a million listens, which is amazing. And what's more is the emails I'm getting from people are truly heartwarming. I love them. I would read some out right now, but I actually can't read them very well at the moment because I'm losing my sight. Yes, it's a very recent discovery for me. It's actually taken me about 10 years to realise that my sight is so bad that I finally decided to go to the optometrist, the person, the eye doctor and get my eyes tested. And it was funny. The guy's reaction he was he was really bowled over by or astonished, you could say, amazed at how bad my eyes were considering. I don't have any glasses or I haven't had any glasses before. So, yeah, to my amazement, I really need glasses and it's been a bit of a, yeah, a life changing week to consider that I am now somebody who needs to wear glasses.

So I walked out with a prescription that says my eyes are very bad and then went to a glasses shop and tried the lenses I was prescribed. And after choosing the frames and whatnot, I put them on. And honestly, my whole world changed. It went from what I thought was normal. Like, I don't know if you if you if you've only got Netflix in SD, you've never upgraded to HD, if you just watched everything in standard definition and then suddenly flicked it to HD. That is exactly what happened for me. I was, yeah, dumbfounded. Yeah, by the clarity that my eyes could see with these glasses on and every detail, I could see everything in my partner's face, which she suddenly found very worrying. So it was amazing to get this glimpse into a world of HD life. But the shop was closing and I had to quickly pay for the order. So I was torn away from my new world and told that I'd have to wait two weeks for them to make the lenses and frames, you know, make the frames and put the lenses in. My prescription in. And you know what? I don't know what's worse being given a glimpse of how 20/20 vision is or being robbed of that and downgraded back to shite sight for two more weeks. So I really feel like I'm suddenly struggling.

Like, you know, before I just thought, I don't know, this is this is standard, but now I feel like I'm blind. It's really strange. It's affecting me psychologically. And I spoke with some students about it, and they said that their sight has gotten worse since lockdown. And I reckon mine has actually gotten worse because my computer screen time is definitely increased this year, as I'm sure yours has during the pandemic. But interestingly, I don't know if you know this, but I've been informed that there are such things as eye workouts that you can do. Yeah, you can work out your eyeballs. And so now I stare off into the distance to to try and do this workout. I often do it when Stacey's talking to me, and then when she complains that I'm not paying attention, I say, No, no, no, I'm just doing my eyeball workout. Carry on, you know, carry on talking about that nutrition vlogger you like, yeah, I'm still listening, I'm just not engaging in eye contact because I'm doing my eyeball workout. Yeah, I'm very excited about getting these new glasses and being able to see properly again oh it's going to be great. So that was a big thing for me this week, and it sounds silly, but it does connect to the success of this show and how you may ask. Fair question. Fair question. I will answer that.

So for the last eight or so years, I've just been getting by, really. I've just been getting by just focussing on finding work that I enjoy doing and finding a way just to pay rent, really. And because of that, I've neglected my health. I don't really see a doctor for a check-up. I haven't seen a dentist in ages, and I've just always tried to scrimp and save whenever possible with adult like things like health care and paying for a decent accountant or considering a pension or all of these things. I've put to one side for a long time now, considering I'm 30, and thankfully I'm starting to see some success with the podcast that I'm doing and you're listening to right now. And because I've dedicated a lot of time and energy into the academy that supports the podcast, basically enough people are in there and are really enjoying it to the point where I'm not so scared of how I'm going to pay my rent. And yeah, I'm now feeling like I can start to take care of myself a bit more. So thank you to everyone who has joined the Academy or the Premium podcast, as you have helped me realise that I'm actually blind. Yes, that's that's what you've done. No, seriously, you are helping me grow up and I'll hopefully have some exciting news to add to that in the near future. But with this feeling of having more than just enough for a happy meal at McDonald's, I'm starting to want to give back to society and I say that.

But I should also, you know, say I'm not I'm not earning loads. I'm still earning like probably less than an average salary, but it's growing and it's more than I've ever earned. And yeah, it's going in the right direction if I keep my head down anyway. So I remember a podcast I listened to a couple of years ago, and this guy was talking about a company that did research into like 200 of the top charities in the world and declared a clear winner, or at least the two to three main ones that give the best bang for your buck in terms of making a positive impact. And this really struck a chord with me because I don't respond very empathetically to to things that some people do like, if I see somebody begging on on the street, I don't feel too encouraged to give them money. It might be showing a cold hearted approach to life here, but I think that giving in that way is almost encouraging some to keep begging because you are rewarding them with that behaviour. And I've been approached by charities before on the street about, you know, saving a poor dog that's not got a home or raising money for the local youth centre. And I'd resist. I'd feel my hackles rising because I'd think hang on if I was to give money, if I was to have enough money to give money, surely I should be giving to the most needy, the most deserved, otherwise, it would be just poor judgement on my behalf as to where money is being distributed.

So, yeah, this conversation I heard about finding the most efficient way to give back really struck a chord with me. And the other thing that encouraged me to run with this idea was after having a conversation with a Brazilian student living in London who went to a homeless shelter to serve food one evening. And he was saying, You know, it's nice to give back. And I challenged him by saying, Although that is very noble of you, don't you feel a little bit guilty that you're kind of doing this because it makes you feel good? And he very calmly explained to me that he's very comfortable with the idea of making himself feel good because it increases the likelihood of him going back there and serving them again and saying that out loud makes me feel a bit basic. But for some reason, it was a bit of a light bulb moment for me because for the last four or five years, I've been trying to get the better of my ego. I don't think I have ever been an egotistical maniac by any means, but after listening to a lot of a guy called Eckhart Tolle, who is a German born spiritual teacher and self-help author who's best known as the author of The Power of Now and another book that I think is better or really spoke to me, you could say that you could say a book really spoke to you its message resonated with you. That book was a new Earth awakening to your life's purpose. And so I've I've been trying to not act through the ego. So that means to try to avoid doing something because it fuels your self-importance or my self-importance, no matter the size or significance like a small one is from just being in a conversation and you're listening to somebody, tell you something and then that what they say triggers a memory for you and you want to tell them that memory because you think it's interesting and it makes you sound impressive or cool. So instead of holding onto that memory and waiting for your conversation partner to pause so you can jump in and and say your interesting cool story. The idea is, is just letting go of that memory and continuing to be present for what they are telling you and remain in the now and be an active listener because as soon as I hold onto a memory, I'm not with them in their story. I'm not truly thinking about what they are telling me. So, yeah, there's behaviours like that little one that I'm trying to improve upon, but also bigger ones like giving back.

I was under the impression that if you are giving back because it makes you feel good, then you need to work on yourself and try to find a way to love yourself and others without needing that crutch of saying, I'm a good person because I do this and it makes me feel good. But I guess I was blinded by this attempt of enlightenment and was forgetting the external result of giving back, which was very foolish of me.

So yeah, I've I've come to conclude that in regards to helping society out, it really doesn't matter if you are doing it for your ego or not, just as long as you are actually helping others. And so I followed up with this charity that was recognised as one of the most effective ways to help save lives. And they found research proved that if you actually talk about being charitable, it not only helps you become accountable because, you know, people start to think of you as somebody who does that kind of behaviour regularly, and they might ask you about how it's going and things like that. Then then that way you feel compelled to continue to help people as it starts to attach to your identity if if other people assume that of you. But it also helps others consider giving back as well.

The more we hear others are doing something, the more likely it is we consider to do it as well. And what's more is that when I get into work mode at home, I am even more driven to make, you know, each episode as good as possible. The learning resources as effective as possible. And to keep growing the business in general because A I'm helping you study English, hopefully in a way that keeps you motivated. And B, I'm able to contribute to these charities that are genuinely saving lives. So there are a lot of positive reasons for giving back and for talking about it on here. And one more that is tipping me over the edge into taking action is the idea I used to have of giving back when I'm older and more financially secure, which turns out to be one of those those finish lines that keep on moving a bit like fluency in a language. You know, the more you learn, the more you feel like there is actually even more to learn. And instead of assuming that that day of crossing the finish line will come, I think it's better to start accepting where I am and appreciate how far I've come. And in regards to giving back, I can start today and and just give what I can. So I'm going to be starting very, very small, just like one percent of the income from the Academy and Premium Podcast, and then we'll see how it goes from that point onwards.

But the important thing for me is to start now and commit to it. So what I'm trying to say to you is is those who are members of the Academy or the Premium Podcast or if you purchase anything on I'd like you to know that. One percent of your purchase or monthly membership is going directly to a charity that helps the most needy in the world, and you are going to be helping a wonderful cause. And for that reason, I think we should take a little moment to explore the causes. Because I know the world is full of contradictory data and opinions. You know, my auntie has adopted a horse and she cares for it most days, she she even shovels its shit and even grooms it down to give it a nice life because it was put through its paces as it as a competitive racehorse. And so she believes that she is doing a wonderful thing, and I agree. I really do agree. She's being very nice to this horse. But here's my opinion on where I think money should go, and that is to humans who are in the most dire situations. But before I go on to explain about their situation, I'm not saying the detail because I want you to feel guilty or anything about your life if it is better than theirs. I don't like that approach, and that is actually a big reason why I haven't given to charities for over 30 years now. I think it's rude to make people feel guilty for a life they have. It's far better to inspire and help people feel happy about helping others and making a difference in the world.

All right, so there are two charities I have my eyes set on. One of them is for those in extreme poverty, particularly in countries in sub-Saharan Africa who can't afford malaria medication or preventatives. And each year, four hundred and thirty five thousand people who get infected with malaria die from the disease, and over 60 percent of these deaths are children under five years old, making malaria one of the leading causes of child mortality in Africa. And when I told my partner this, she started to, well up. But that's not my aim. My aim is to say how amazing it is that we can help prevent this. And according to the World Health Organisation, insecticide treated mosquito nets are currently the best option to prevent malaria transmission in large parts of Africa. So malaria, the disease is spread by mosquitoes at night while people are sleeping generally speaking, and when long life insecticide treated nets are hung over beds and sleeping spaces. Mosquitoes land pick up insecticide on their feet and then they die.

This is a hugely effective intervention. The Centres for Disease Control confirms that these nets have been associated with sharp decreases in malaria in countries where malaria programmes have achieved high coverage of these nets. So they are really working. And these nets cost just two U.S. dollars and they can sleep two adults and last for around three years. So one of the ways I am going to be using one percent of whatever you purchase from the British English podcast is to buy as many of these nets as possible each month. So let's say you join the Academy annual membership. You have automatically just managed to save four people from being exposed at night because you have raised enough money to get to insecticide treated mosquito nets, which would significantly reduce the risk of yeah, for people from getting malaria for around three years. And you know, it's no skin off your back. You're getting the learning resources for the exact price that it has been and will be. And I'm I'm taking one percent of that profit and giving it to the charities to buy these nets. And another charity that I think has a major impact on quality of life is Helen Keller International. This is a vitamin A supplementation programme. Basically, loads of children are deficient in vitamin A. And this is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia. And yeah, so it's a result of diets low in vitamin A rich foods. So the solution is providing oral supplements with a high dose of vitamin A. And this can prevent child blindness and only costs one US dollar and twenty three cents per supplement. So again, a super cost effective way to make a huge impact on lives, and I know a lot of people feel like charity begins at home, meaning people think they should focus on helping people near them first. But to be honest, I get much more motivation to work harder with the idea that I would personally be helping give somebody sight for the rest of their life or even save a person's life. So the organisation that has vetted these charities is called The Life You Can Save, and I'm going to be contributing every month thanks to anyone who supports the podcast. I'd like to create a space where those who want to contribute a little bit more can do so, and we can all get together in a wonderful group giving page and and celebrate each month to calculate how much we've helped, but we'll take it step by step and just know that one percent of any membership or course purchase will be going towards mosquito nets to prevent malaria or vitamin A supplements to prevent blindness. And no, no, I won't be buying myself glasses with the pot of money for the, you know, blindness thing.

I've bought my own. I've bought my own glasses fair and square. That pot that I'm reserving now is to make a real difference in the world. And as much as I struggle to be sincere, I love the idea of doing what I can to help save a life by supporting a charity that makes sense to me, and I thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart for listening to the show to help it grow. And yeah, especially anyone who has signed up to the Premium podcast or academy, and that is where I'm going to leave this episode. So happy birthday to the British English podcast. Here's to a bright future of helping you stay motivated and engaged with your learning and to raise money for those who need it most. I'll be back next week with some more British culture and British English for you. And don't worry, I won't be turning this show into a constant reminder of how lucky we are for having enough vitamins in our diet or for having not got malaria yet. As I said, I want you to feel inspired and give you an extra spring in your step for helping those who really need it, and to help you feel like you're making a positive impact on this world. Lots of love. I've been your host, Charlie Baxter. See you again soon on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

It focuses on British culture, informal expressions, accent and history that is all unique to the UK.

Charlie has spent 6000+ hours teaching intermediate-advanced students since 2014 privately on Skype and has seen a lot of different styles of learning and while he believes there will never be a single CORRECT way to improve your English there are a large number of methods that people use that do waste people's time and prevent them from improving quickly.

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