Bonus Episode 21 - Motorway Monologue 1

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this episode, Charlie wanted to record the culture shock he was experiencing when he was back home to see family and friends in the UK. So, he decided to record this podcast on the road in action! But don't worry, he is safe. It was a hands-free device. So join Charlie as a passenger till the end and listen to the motorway experiences he had back in his motherland!

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Transcript of BEP Premium Ep Motorway Monologue Pt. 1.mp3

Well, hello. Welcome to this episode of the British English podcast On the Road. Because your host, Charlie, that's me, is in the U.K. I typically at the moment I reside in Sydney, Australia, but I have gone back to the UK to see my friends and family and right now I'm in the car heading west from where I reside or my parents reside, and I'm going to see Stacey and her family that live near Wales. They live in the county called Herefordshire, and so I live in Surrey and my parents live in Surrey and they live in Herefordshire. So I'm making a three hour drive to them today. And having been away from the UK for two and a half years, maybe even three years now coming up to three years, I feel like when I got here that everything felt new again. It felt almost like I was coming to a country for the first time. I was noticing all of these differences, more so than I have ever before. It might be because I've started doing a podcast on culture and language, and because of the culture aspect, I've started to really focus on the differences that we have between countries. But it just really shocked me and I wanted to capture it and I thought a good way to do it might be whilst I'm on the road in action, experiencing it as we go. So I thought, Yeah, let's do a podcast recording whilst I'm driving. It's a hands free device, so don't you worry, I'm safe right now.

If you don't hear this episode, then obviously it's not gone well. But hopefully this this will air and that will mean that I made the journey safe and sound. And en route, I'm also going to see a friend, a friend who you might know very well, because this friend is a colleague. She's a teacher on the Internet. She's a teacher on YouTube. And she yeah, she's been on the podcast quite a few times. I won't be specific. I'll let you guess. I'll let you guess. How about that? But one clue that's pretty obvious is that she's got very blonde hair. So yeah, I'm very excited to meet her dog, her husband, her cat, and see her new home because she's just moved house. So when I left the airport, by the way, myself and my partner Stacey, we were greeted at the airport by both of our parents and had very emotional hugs with them for having not seen them for two and a half years. And then they took us back to my parents' house where we all had a nice little slumber party and it was a nice opportunity for them, for both of our parents to get to know each other a bit bit more, because to be honest, they haven't really spent much time with each other. They spent like probably two meals together, but yeah, so they got to see my parents' home and then I was greeted by my niece and two nephews, which was really, really sweet.

I've kind of been a little bit distant with children and thought that, you know, I wasn't that bothered. It was really lovely. And it was it was actually much nicer than I thought at my age. I'm almost thinking having to think about having kids, but at the same time, I like my life with Stacey and we kind of don't really feel ready yet. So I was imagining that I wouldn't love seeing children that much, but I was completely wrong. And I have fallen in love with all three of them. And it was sad for me to to go today because I want to spend more time with them. I want to see them as many times as I can before I leave for Australia and it's even making me think about moving back to the UK earlier than we had planned. So yeah, I'm really, really enjoying them. They're a sweet age. So one of them is four, Izzy, the girl, and one of them the twins are around about two years old and they're so clever, they're so switched on. It's interesting for me to see the development and it's really also as a linguist, it's very interesting to see how they're learning language. You know, they're exposed to adult conversation in front of them and they're trying to catch up with what's being said. So it makes me think, you know, exposure to a huge amount of listening practice or reading practice is so important for language learning as a non-native because that's what we do is as a young person, we expose ourselves to listening and a little bit of reading, a lot more than we speak at the beginning for years, like three or four years, and then we start coming out with our own short sentences. But yeah, so much listening at the beginning. Anyway, back to the mundane. You can probably hear it raining, so it's absolutely terrible weather today. I did arrive and was greeted with blue skies and a really crisp winter's day, which for somebody who's come from a country that's had 30 to 35 degrees, maybe even like 20 degrees at night, 25 degrees at night and no air con, I'm actually very thankful for it. So it's quite enjoyable. But yeah, today it's been miserable raining and it it's very grey. It's grey all over. Right now I can't really see much colour. Like in Australia, I have to drive with sunglasses and everywhere it seems it seems oversaturated with colour. But yeah, everywhere here right now is just grey. But I'm embracing it. I'm embracing it. And you've got to remember it's February so you know the worst month to experience the UK, I would, I would argue. So if you're thinking of doing a trip to the UK, skip February, do not come in February. But yeah, you know what I've noticed there's so many cameras. I remember an American person that I came across when I was travelling in, I think it was in Chile, they lived in a in Hawaii but originally were from a from like a southern state.

And they asked me directly like, Oh, you're from London, how is it being in the biggest watched or the most over watched city by Big Brother? And I was like, What are you on about? And it turns out that apparently that London has the most amount of speed cameras... or no ... CCTV cameras in the world. Which yeah, I didn't know then, but thinking about it now, there are a lot. And not just CCTV cameras. There's so many speed cameras, almost like every mile or two, there's an average speed check which again I haven't seen much in Australia. They've got a lot of other kind of cameras, like red light cameras, but this is beginning to be really dull for you. So I'll move on to another thought in a second. Another thing that I'm noticing that I wonder could ever be an analogy for language learning is that I am really, really comfortable on the roads in the UK right now. I actually don't really driven here properly for about six years or something. But yet as soon as I get back in on the road here and I drive, it just all seems to come back. And I know exactly, you know, the the little things about who should give way, when, what kind of road rage to be is to be expected, and just the little things that a road culture or the driving culture of each country has. And and the way that I should expect to drive. It just, I don't know, it makes me think as natives with our language, we don't even need to use it that much. And then when we go back to it, it just flows. It just seems to make sense. And yet when, when I'm driving in Australia each time I haven't practised for a while, if I, if I go a week or two without going on the roads, I forget where I'm going, I forget how to drive and be a good assertive person on the road. And I'm desperately trying to make this analogy between, you know, a non-native language where if you don't practise enough, you're going to get rusty. And I think. It just it's just a reinforcement, basically, that a little bit of effort every day is so much better than an hour or two on a weekend of studying a language. So I'm sure you do it by now, but if you don't, do little bits every day rather than big chunks every now and again. It's really hard for me with my Spanish. I'm not in that routine at the moment. Having gone away, I know that I'm not in a way that I would do five, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour every day. But I really want to achieve that habit, and so I encourage you to find a way to to get that habit.

I picked up a hire car yesterday and Harry and I, we used to hire these cars from this car rental service near Gatwick for a ridiculously cheap price for like I think because we used to do the immersion courses where we'd live with 6 to 10 people from all around the world. I think we had at one point we had an Argentinean that had never flown before. She got on a plane and met us in Brighton along with a Russian, a Russian who drove from Moscow. He drove all the way from Moscow to Brighton, so he got on the ferry. But yeah, amazing. So many people travelling from far and wide or you could say all four corners of the world and they met us there for a week or ten days and we had wonderful experiences in a very nice Airbnb. We started to feel like it was home because we did it like seven or eight times, I think, over a period of two or three years. Anyway, we used to pick up these cars for next to nothing. They were cheap as chips, they were about £20 for a week, which I at the beginning I didn't understand how they could make money off them. But I quickly realised that they were doing this thing where if there's any kind of scratch that you don't record on your car before signing the contract, then they will come back at you and they will fine you heavily.

They'll say that you did this scratch. You owe us £300. So if you ever, this is a top tip of travelling to the UK. If you do hire a car, make sure that you video with your phone video a 360 view of the car before you sign the contract and take close up pictures. So go around the car with a video and especially pay close attention to the wheels because a lot of them have alloy wheels and then they, you know, you could quite easily clip a kerb or people have before and then they say that damage wasn't here before. So you owe us £800 for that brand new wheel. So yeah, really get a video going and then you can benefit from it because you can pick up these cars for really cheap. However, since COVID, the car prices have shot up and I met the guy from the same place that I got these cars from four years ago. He was still there, still in the same very small office. But he said he had to they had to sell 250 cars. They owned over 250 cars. And they had to sell most of them during COVID because they were getting next to no business. And then they've had to gradually repurchase cars as the lockdown has eased. It just reminded me how impactful COVID has been for so many businesses.

But yeah, it's been it's a lot more expensive to hire a car. I had to pay £260, maybe £300 for a hire car for 2 to 3 weeks. But I tell you what, it's a very new car. And our car in Australia, she's an old girl. I call her Gilly because she... I thought she was silver. And I said to Stacey, I've got us a lovely old silver car. And we she turned up and she said, That's not silver, that's gold. Gold is rubbish. I don't like a gold car. Why have you got us a gold car, Charlie? Send it back. She didn't say send it back. I'm putting it on. She's she's nice, but you know, she has her opinions, so we compromised with it being a gilver, not a silver, not gold, but a gilver car, which then turned into Gilly, the gilver car. Anyway, Gilly is about 20 years old, maybe 15 years old, and this car is about a year old. So I've got heated steering wheels, heated seats or a heated steering wheel. There's not two of them, is there? Goodness me. It's not a driving instructor's car. Although I think, I think they only really have pedals, don't they? They don't have an extra steering wheel. Maybe they do. Picked up the car, enjoyed the steering wheel and the luxuries that a brand new car has. But it just made me laugh because, you know, in Australia there's certainly no need for a hot steering wheel.

If anything, you need an ice, an ice cold one. And that's all I've got to say on the matter. Oh, yes. So last night I went up to see my one of my best friends called Steph. She appeared on British Stereotypes episode three, I think, season one, episode three And she's getting married, and that's actually why we are back in the UK. We were going to come back at Christmas, but she's getting married in February, so we thought, let's wait two months and then we get to go to a close friend's wedding. So I'm going to be reading a passage. They've given me a passage to read at the Civil Service. So it's not a religious service. So it's not a religious reading, but it's it's a nice message that encapsulates their relationship because it was based on a long, long friendship, close friendship for many years. And I've known them for well, I've known Steph for about well as long as I've lived because our mothers were in the same antenatal group. But yeah, I've been close with Steph for many years and we've actually had a very similar life because we went to the same university, did the same course, and this was after going to the same school, secondary school. We went to do, we went to the same course up in Nottingham Trent, same groups of friends. And then we had loads of similarities that we had the same car, we had the same preferences with loads of things.

So we think we're twins. Oh, we were born on the same day. That was the, that's the main thing. We were born on April the 18th. And so we celebrated our 21st together by hiring a big boat in Nottingham Trent and had a boat party full of our friends. But anyway, I went to see her last night and her fiance Andrew, and it was really nice catching up with them again after not having seen them for about three years. And they're getting ready to get married next week, so it's all very exciting for them. And as I was going up, because they live in not central London, but well, they live in Earlsfield. And and we're looking to move to somewhere like Earlsfield, maybe Richmond, if we can afford it. Apparently, Richmond is very sought after. There's a delightful amount of parks in Richmond. Basically South Southwest. Yeah. Southwest London? Yeah. Lots of parks and loads of deer as well. If you like deer, then you should go to Richmond. I haven't actually been, so I don't know why I'm going on about it, but I've seen some videos of vloggers living there and I love the idea of coming back from Sydney and living in Richmond for a few years. Yeah, I went out to see them in Earlsfield and my dad was banging on about this new congestion charge. So many years ago, again, this is a really, really, really boring thing and I love telling you about it.

So, years ago the UK implemented a congestion charge in London. Central London for anyone who drives in there had to pay £5 a day for entering in their vehicle. It was a way to lower the amount of traffic in the middle of London. I think it was quite successful. But they've expanded the congestion charge basically to be, anyone that has a car that is like not efficient, and a car that doesn't have good emissions. Anyway, he was saying you're going to get charged £12.50 to go up there, you know. Looked online. It was the dullest thing I've ever searched on Google, but it turns out I was safe. The point that I'm making is that they've introduced this bigger thing. So you've got to watch out if you're driving into central London in ultra low emissions zone or the low emissions zone. L. E. Z. And if you haven't fallen asleep yet, then I don't know what's wrong with you.

We will be leaving part one there for today. But don't worry, we have part two and three round the corner for you to enjoy. But first make sure you utilise all of the learning resources available to you for this part. And then when ready, I'll see you in part two to continue the conversation. Thanks again for supporting me. This is my full time job. So here's to many more episodes of the British English podcast to help you improve your English.

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Transcript of SAMPLE Premium Podcast Player

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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