376. A Game of Mini Golf and a Pint (with James)

Hello everyone, here is another episode of this podcast for people interested in listening to authentic conversations and learning British English. I’ve been very prolific recently because I’ve had a bit of time off and I’ve uploaded loads of episodes in quite a short period, but this is going to stop very soon when I go away on holiday for a few weeks. While I’m gone you can listen to all of this new content, or go back into the extensive episode archive to listen to some of the older content.

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So, what about this episode. I’ve been staying at my parents’ house in Warwickshire, in England for a few days, enjoying the company of my family and spending time in the sunshine. When the weather is good here one of the things we like to do is go for a walk in the local park, have a look at the local castle and play 18 holes of mini golf. Technically mini-golf is for kids but it’s a lot of fun to play if you’re an adult and you’ve got nothing better to do. I expect you’re aware of the concept of mini-golf. Essentially, it’s like normal golf but mini. There are typically 18 holes. The aim is to put the ball in the hole using the fewest shots possible. The problem is that each hole has lots of obstacles in the way, like bridges, slopes and windmills.

So in this episode my brother James and I decided to go for a game of mini golf and we thought we’d record a podcast while doing it. So, why not join us as we walk through a historic English town, play some golf and then go for a pint of beer in a local pub.

During this episode you’ll hear us talk about a number of different topics, including some history of medieval England, some details about our game of golf, some of the things we can see in the park, some descriptions of the pub, the beer and the crisps, and some comments about what it’s like growing up and living in the countryside versus living in an inner city area like South London. Eventually our conversation turns to slightly more serious things, including the riots that happened exactly 5 years earlier in parts of London. That was a serious series of social disturbances which shocked and confused the nation. Why did so many young people living in cities decide to start vandalising and looting their local areas? Was it just basic criminality or was it a symptom of a bigger problem in our country? We talk about that a bit, and of course there’s some mention of Brexit and why people voted to leave the EU, but then James decided it was all getting a bit too serious, and he’d rather just enjoy his beer, so we stopped. We then get interrupted by a wasp, which is quite typical for an English beer garden during August. At the end you’ll hear James explaining why he sometimes feels awkward about appearing on the podcast, especially when we end up talking about serious things. You’ll see that he doesn’t like to take himself too seriously and he seems to think that nobody is interested in hearing what he has to say about big subjects like the London riots. Now, I wonder if you agree with that, or if you in fact find it interesting to hear him talking about such big topics, even though he’s no expert. I look forward to reading your responses to that question.

Anyway, before we get to all that, let’s start listening to the recording I made the other day on a sunny afternoon in Warwick as James and I head down towards the park to play a game of mini golf. I’ll talk to you again at the other end of this recording, but now let’s get started. Oh and by the way I would like to just warn you that there is a little bit of swearing in this episode, and a couple of instances of us talking with our mouths full. I will let you decide which one you find more offensive – swear words or talking with your mouth full. OK, so without any further ado, let’s go to the park.

*Recording begins*

Mini golf
James and Luke go to the pub
James’ final word

*Recording ends*

So, there you go – that’s the rather anti-climactic ending of that conversation. It ended in the living room, with my brother pacing around, unable to relax and stressing that he sounded too serious and pompous when talking about issues on the podcast. I sort of agree – I also enjoy talking about more light-hearted subjects and having a laugh but I also think it;s worthwhile taking about the more serious stuff from time to time, especially when it’s about real things, like the genuine experience of living in the UK. But also, we’re not experts so that does get a bit tricky sometimes.

But I’m interested to know what you think. Are you interested in hearing my brother’s opinions on things like the London riots and Brexit? Does he need to worry about sounding arrogant on the podcast, or is it genuinely interesting to listen to. Let us know in the comment section. I would very much like to show him what you really think.

That’s it for this episode. By the way, I’ve done loads of episodes recently. I’m going to talk to you about this in another quick episode, but the main reason for that is that I’ve had a little bit of time off and so I’ve been enjoying making a few episodes featuring conversations with my family and friends, but this is going to stop soon because I’ll be going away on holiday for a few weeks, so my thinking is that you can listen to all these new episodes while I’m away.

I’ll talk to you about that a bit more in a quick episode, probably later today, and then that’ll be the last episode for a little while  until I come back from my break.

As ever, sign up to the mailing list to get instant access to the page for the episode for notes, vocab, transcripts and links etc.

I’ll speak to you soon.



  • Celia

    I certainly agree with the previous comments: it is very interesting for us, lepsters, to listen to your brother, regardless his degree of expertise on the subject.
    But I want to add another point. I also have interest in ordinary things, regarding your family, your daily routine, your preferences… whatever… the description of a nice walk in your home town, the type of supermarket where you usually go, the gym classes that you have in Paris… anything can be appealing even if it seems boring to you… apart from being useful for the purpose of learning the language!

  • вася пупкин

    whats the word “…i felt(fell) ident……… from 47:37 to 47:40 of this podcast

    • Catherine Bear


      James says: “I felt indebted to you that I should finish off this interview.” Whether he means it literally or ironically, I cannot tell. He might have been thinking “I need to catch my train. So, piss off, man!!!” ;-)

      In Russian: “Я чувствовал себя обязанным перед тобой записать интервью до конца”.

      Hope it helps.


      • вася пупкин


  • Podzim

    Hi James and Luke!
    It was actually very interesting podcast with you, James. Perhaps you feel a little bit awkward, but on the contrary, you sound genuine. People who listen, are interested in real English, such as yours. Your hesitation, your careful thinking, it just mean you want to deliver the best to us. And you do it. Thank you James!

    • Catherine Bear

      Dear Podzim, I absolutely agree with you.

      Do you know the Lost in Hastings story of James? It is in a recent episode about telling anecdotes. You definitely should listen to that! :-)


  • cesar

    I find it most interesting when you talk personally about serious matters..It has never occurred to me to think you are arrogant or anything like that..
    So keep going!


    I like to hear about serious subject, I like James’s voice, and I like Luke when talk with James!!!

    • Catherine Bear

      Hi Sakiko!

      Did you know that Luke and James used to produce mini radio shows as they were children? The grew up in a BBC family, surrounded with BBC stuff, and Luke really wanted to be a BBC presenter (their dad is – as you know – a BBC guy).

      That would be such fun to listen to those old radio shows of these terrific brothers, wouldn’t it?

      Take care,


      • SAKIKO

        Thank you, Catherine! I think I’ve heard of it. Haha, it would be so true! and I feel like conversation with siblings is more frank than with friends. Anyway I like James very much not only his voice.

      • Catherine Bear

        Thanks, Sakiko! Yes, I agree on your thoughts.

        A little bit of the personal history of Luke you can find in the beginning of the episode 282 “Questions from Tea4er.Ru (Part 1)” (also in transcripted form). It was there this story with the old cassettes. Oh, that would be a terrific item for the “Luke’s English Podcast Online Museum” one day. :-)

        Happy listening,

      • Have you heard the episodes about Jokes? One of them contains a recording of James and me when I was about 6 years old. We’re telling jokes. I think it’s in the episode “Telling Jokes in English (Part 3)”

      • Catherine Bear

        Wow, thanks, Luke! I appreciate your helping out in navigating through your huge universe! I love joking episodes. This one will be the next to download. I was actually looking for something funny to listen to on my way to work (on my bike over the fields full with sunflowers and some stinky cabbage). :)
        Have a wonderful day!
        PS: Luke, you have increased the level of humour and fun in my life, thank you soooo much!!!! One can bear the oddities of a routine day more easily. Thank you! :)