In this The English We Speak podcast: Jen and Feifei are going on a day trip in London. They try to count the number of red things they see, until they both start to get angry. Listen to the programme to find out why.
Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I’m Feifei and I’m joined today by Jen.
Jennifer: Hi there, we’re going to go on a day trip today – and we’re going to explore how the colour red fits into London life. I’ve packed my sandwiches…
Feifei: And I’ve got my camera – let’s go!
(Out on the street)
Jennifer: So here we are on Oxford Street – it’s one of the busiest streets in London. So let’s play a game: how many red things can you see? You go first, Feifei!
Feifei: It’s easy to see red things in London. Look over there – there’s a red post box. There are hundreds of them around the UK, although some of them were painted gold after the Olympics!
Jennifer: Oh yes. That’s a good one. OK, my turn. There are a couple of red telephone boxes over there. Not many people use them nowadays, because almost everyone has mobile phones, but they are certainly another iconic symbol of London.
Feifei: If something is iconic, it typically represents something – so a red telephone box typically represents London. Here comes one of the most iconic symbols of London – a big, red double-decker bus!
Jennifer: Shall we get on it and head over to Hyde Park for a stroll?
Feifei: Good idea. I’ll stick my hand out for the bus… (The bus drives past) Hey! It didn’t stop!
Jennifer: Oh that’s so annoying! It really makes me see red!
Feifei: Oh me too! Here, the phrase ‘to see red’ can be used to describe getting really angry about something.
Jennifer: Well don’t worry. We can catch the next one… in fact, here comes another.
Feifei: We made it! Off to Hyde Park we go. Shall we move down inside and get a seat? There’s a couple at the back there.
Jennifer: There are quite a few people in the way though… Excuse me, sorry, can I just squeeze past into this seat? Would you mind moving out of the way? Excuse me? (Whispering) These people won’t let me past! They’re just pretending we’re not here. Oh! I’m really seeing red now!
Feifei: We should have walked. Let’s get off. We’re not that far from the park anyway.
Jennifer: Yeah let’s go.
(Sound of birdsong)
It’s lovely here in the park – it’s a breath of fresh air compared to that crowded bus. Shall we find somewhere to go and eat our sandwiches?
Feifei: Here’s a picnic area, let’s sit down. Oh no – more red!
Jennifer: What do you mean?
Feifei: Someone has spray painted red graffiti all over the table and the seat… And the paint is still wet! It’s all over my clothes! I thought I was seeing red before, but I’m really seeing red now!
Jennifer: Well, our game was to look for red things in London – but I didn’t think we’d be seeing red all afternoon! I think it might be time to go home, before we see red again!
Feifei: I think you’re right. Join us again for another edition of The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. Bye for now!
The English We Speak – To see red Transcript Video
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