Intro [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The English Waffle, a podcast aimed at advance English language learners who want to improve their listening skills by listening to real conversations. My name's Owain and in each episode, Mike and I do a bit of waffling about a particular topic. We talk, in this episode, about being under lockdown. Mike and I share our experiences during this strange situation. Listeners find out what we've been doing and what Mike's going to do when lockdown is lifted. The conversation was actually recorded a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, things have changed a bit in different countries around the world since then, although here in the UK we're just taking our first tentative steps to...towards getting back to normal. Towards the end, Mike does some shout-outs to some English Waffle listeners, he's been speaking to, and I'm going to say thanks to one or two of you after the conversation. So I hope you enjoy it. Let's get waffling.
[00:00:56] Waffle Theme Tune
Owain [00:01:24] Hi Mike. How you doing?
Mike [00:01:26] Good. Thanks. Yeah, good.
Owain [00:01:28] How's...how's life on the lockdown treating you?
Mike [00:01:34] Not bad. Not bad. That's...That's like the weirdest answer ever. [It's just...] It makes it sound like it's like a normal, like, every day, hehehe, every day of the week, this is what happens. Not bad. Yeah, how's your week been. Not bad. Erm, but I've I've been reflecting on that day, actually, and I've been thinking how, erm, in so many ways, this has been a really, like, good time for me because I've had to...I've sort of been made to slow down a lot, and that's been really good. And I think that....Yeah it's difficult because it's you know, it's obviously really sort of really hard for a lot of people.
Owain [00:02:17] Yeah.
Mike [00:02:17] But it's, erm, it's, you know, you can't you can't deny your own reality. And I think this is just where it's being honest with yourself and, for me, it's being a very valuable time to connect with friends and family on a sort of deeper level.
Owain [00:02:33] Right. Um, what's what's a typical day un...under lockdown for you?
Mike [00:02:38] For me, work has been largely unaffected. It's it's still, erm, I I'm a teacher, so I teach English and French and Spanish. And it's all moved online. So I have group classes and individual classes that I do through Skype and Zoom. And that's kind of been pretty much the same as, er, as it was before. It's just moved online.
Owain [00:03:07] Yeah. Yeah. So [it's been a] smooth transition for you. You're not, I mean, how how much of your time did you spend travelling around London then?
Mike [00:03:16] Yeah, quite a bit. It actually made me realise that I saw, saw quite a...quite a few trains every day. I don't miss that. I don't miss travelling in. No, for sure, erm, just being able to...to take an hour for lunch. So go round the park and have a good lunch break. That's been that's been an added bonus, I'd say. And just in keeping with the whole thing of just slowing down and not rushing around from, er, from activity to activity, which is what we tend to do in London.
Owain [00:03:49] Sure and i...it's quite funny you say that about, um, having your lunch break outside and stuff. And, um, the first thing I was thinking: I hope you didn't sit down anywhere to relax. I hope you kept moving the whole time because of course, for people who don't know, here in the UK we are allowed to go out of the flat for a few different reasons. One of them is to get a bit of exercise, but you can't go sit in the park and have a sandwich.
Mike [00:04:15] That's right.
Owain [00:04:16] Certainly not in London.
Mike [00:04:17] No, that's right.
Owain [00:04:18] You haven't been doing that, have you Mike?
Mike [00:04:19] I haven't been doing that. No, no, no...
Owain [00:04:23] [You don't have a] confession to make here on on...
Mike [00:04:26] On the English waffle. No, I am...I am resp...I'm totally in this together with everybody else and, er, I respect the...the guidelines that are given to us by the government. And I think the government's doing a pretty good thing, to be honest.
Owain [00:04:43] Yeah. Yeah, 'cause, 'cause it is true that I mean, we we...I w...we talked about Spain before. And, you know, I've got some good friends in Spain, and, um, it's just mind boggling the fact that their children have been, um, in some cases in a in a in a flat of 40 square meters for about six weeks without going outside, haven't had any daylight, they have been able to run more than the length of their...the longest corridor in their flat. Uh, and you just think to yourself my goodness me. It just must be the...It's qu...It's quite funny because we've got some friends [...] apparently the lock...that was that was changed today. So now children are allowed to leave their flat, as of today, to get a bit of exercise. Um...
Mike [00:05:28] Yep.
Owain [00:05:28] We...we called some of our friends today, um, actually, Lorenzo, who's been on the podcast. And we said, so how how how was going out of the flat? Were the, were the kids really exciting? And they said: oh no, we haven't been out today.
Mike [00:05:43] How come? They just, no, gonna wait for another day.
Owain [00:05:48] Yeah, we'll just see happens.
Mike [00:05:48] What's one more day?
Owain [00:05:49] Well, exactly. Yeah, I mean, it's been six weeks. So doesn't make that much difference, does it? But it is quite tricky for me because I have to be quite careful with my friends and also with some of my students who are in Spain an...and not talk too much about my my experience here where I'm living because it's actually completely different I think.
Mike [00:06:10] Yes.
Owain [00:06:11] And, you know, I have...I have the luxury of having a really nice garden I can go and sit out in in the sun.
Mike [00:06:18] Yeah.
Owain [00:06:20] And uh...
Mike [00:06:20] Yeah.
Owain [00:06:20] You know, we had lunch out there today. And, um, you just think...I mean, you w...because actually for you, it's not so easy either 'cause you're in you're in a flat in the middle of the city. You don't really, you don't have an outdoor space, do you?
Mike [00:06:31] It's not, but...but I think, as you touched upon then, we are, er, the way that England is dealing with it as a whole is vastly different from some of the countries where we...where we'll have listeners. So I I know that we are in very different positions to...to a lot of people. But that said, I'm sure loads of...People I've talked to on the language app Tandem and, erm - a shout out to to specifically to Olivia, if she's listening, Olivia and Jaoquin and, er, a couple of others who've who've been really supportive of of the podcasts so far. Erm, you know, they've all said that their lives have been changed in, er, some ways for the better because they've been able to get on with projects and, you know, devote more time to English studying...
Owain [00:07:25] Yeah.
Mike [00:07:25] ...learning English and to, you know, let's...basically doing things inside, but creative things and positive things, which which is great. Owain, what what about you? What have you been, er, doing that's been sort of different from your normal, everyday existence?
Owain [00:07:46] I haven't had as much time as I thought I would do to do other stuff. I s..sort of at the beginning of this whole thing, I envisag...envisaged [sitting down every day]...
Mike [00:07:55] That novel...that novel was going to come out.
Owain [00:07:57] [that novel], you know, a blog post a day, you know, practising my scales on on on my instruments, and...
Mike [00:08:03] Yeah.
Owain [00:08:04] I've hardl...I've hardly done any of that. And you know...
Mike [00:08:06] Yeah.
Owain [00:08:07] ...just between working....'cause I'm still working quite a lot. I've still got quite a few classes and, you know, um, trying to develop my own online business at the same time, er, which is...it's quite a time for actually, um, also getting to grips with working with my college students, 'cause I'm still...I'm still...er, I don...I don't actually have any live classes at the moment, but I'm working on trying to set up kind of tutorial sessions where I can get a group of students together...online.
Mike [00:08:31] Okay.
Owain [00:08:33] But because of the age of my students, there're kind of safeguarding issues that that I have to be careful about but, um, yeah, no, it's it's it's it's great, and and, I mean, a lot of people are talking about how, oh, this is going to change the way we work forever. I don't know about you, but I kind of feel that that they're over exaggerating a little bit, but, you know, a lot of people're just gonna survive this time, do whatever they have to do and then get back to normal and nothing much is going to change. I mean, what about [indistinct], is this going to change your mindset forever, Mike?
Mike [00:09:06] Lot of unknowns, aren't there. I mean, it's it's, it's change...it'll change the way that I approach a day, I think, and try to kind of take take into my life the lessons I've learned about myself in the lockdown, which've really just been doing less, but better...but but more. Do you know what I mean? So, I'm definitely guilty of charging around and filling my day and weeks up, as a Londoner. And now that this con..confinement has come along, you you start to revalue what what you want to do. And, you know...
Owain [00:09:48] Yeah. Well, this is goo...This is a good way to kind of bring it to an end. So, obviously, one of the big questions - there are lots of things we can't do right now - and one of the big questions that's going around is what is the first thing you're going to do as soon as this whole thing comes to an end?
Mike [00:10:03] Get a haircut, probably.
Owain [00:10:06] Yeah, you need, actually, yeah, it's a bit of a mess.
Mike [00:10:08] Yeah, I'm getting quite a lot of, yeah, I would call it abuse, but that that's too strong. I'm getting a lot of, er, a lot of, er, teasing from my friends, er, about the state of my hair. So I think probably probably a visit to the barber's, visit to the hairdresser's, yeah.
Owain [00:10:24] Just for benefit of the list...any listeners out there who are trying to imagine what Mike looks like right now. He just looks like a hedgehog or something. Not really sure if that's the...[does it justice].
Mike [00:10:32] Thanks mate. I can always count on you for...for compliments, from from my mate.
Owain [00:10:38] A very nice looking hedgehog.
Mike [00:10:40] Oh, thanks. Yeah. I mean, that's a good point to end on it it it... Also, something we are thinking about, though, is putting this...maybe putting it on YouTube. Owain, maybe you don't know this, but I've I've been thinking about it.
Owain [00:10:55] What?! Well, I'm a little shy Mike, so, you know, I'm not...
Mike [00:11:00] Well, this is it. It's the best way to combat shyness: get yourself on the Internet.
Owain [00:11:05] Yeah.
Mike [00:11:06] But, you know, clearly we'd we'd like to, erm, to spread the word and get some more visibility for...for The Waffle. And we've had some really lovely feedback from listeners. So that's just something that we're thinking about doing. But please subscribe, if you like listening to the Waffle and tell your mates. Tell your friends. It really helps us. And the more listeners we get. Quite simply, the more motivation it gives us to do it, so.
Owain [00:11:35] Abso...absolutely! Okay, Mike, well, I think that's all we've got time for today. So, um, see you next time.
Mike [00:11:41] See you next time, Oast. Cheers! See you later.
Owain [00:11:44] Cheers. Bye.