Tag Archives: cars

605. Unexpected Road Trip (with James)

James and Luke go on an accidental road trip in the south-west of England and record a rambling podcast, while slowly going a bit mad. Will they make it to their destination before sunset? Listen to find out what happens and to learn some words and culture in the process. Photos below. 

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Where? The Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2LY (near Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road)
When? Sunday 28 July from 2PM (and probably continuing into the afternoon)
Who? English teacher Zdenek Lukas is the host and all LEPsters (and non-LEPsters) are welcome! Also, Luke might be there with his brother and friends.
Email teacherzdenek@gmail.com to let him know you’re coming.
Come to chat, meet people, play board games in English and have fun!

Episode Introduction (after the jingle)

Hello, welcome back to the podcast everyone, I hope you’re all doing well and having a nice summer or winter depending on which hemisphere you are currently residing in.

I am currently in the middle of a very busy teaching schedule – teaching classes all day every day this week and next week, and of course in the evenings I’m looking after my daughter and dealing with all the usual aspects of life in general. So, I have not had a lot of time to work on podcast episodes. That’s why there’s been a delay and that might continue for a few more weeks, we’ll see. But here’s a new episode!

There are actually loads of things I’d like to talk about, including the fact that England are now World Cup winners – yes, we won the World Cup for the first time ever, so it finally came home! I’m not talking about football of course, nope – I’m talking about cricket (yes, that still counts! It’s still a big deal because let me remind you that it is the world’s second most popular spectator sport.) Yes, England are the champions of the world. Those of you who come from cricket-playing countries will know exactly what I’m talking about. Everyone else will probably be confused. And don’t you dare compare it to baseball. Anyway, England won the cricket in dramatic fashion, beating New Zealand in an incredibly close game which went right down to the wire. I’m not going to talk about it in this episode actually, but I did want to mention it because of course I am very proud and I’ve had plenty of requests from listeners in places like India and Pakistan who want me to talk about it. I’ll see if I can cover it in an upcoming episode. If you can’t wait and you want some cricket chat on the podcast, you could always listen to episode 473 in the archive which is a conversation with my dad all about cricket.

But anyway, this episode is all about an unexpected road trip that I went on with my brother recently.

Last week, I was on holiday with my family. We travelled to England and actually I did manage to record two episodes while I was there. This is the first one and it was completely unplanned and recorded on my brother’s phone during various parts of a long and quite frustrating day that we spent near the end of the holiday.

In fact, this episode is a sort of road trip diary, recorded on the road with James.

In this episode you will be able to hear…
Exactly what happened when I got a flat tyre while driving back from the holiday. A tyre is the rubber part of the wheel of a car or bike, in this case car – the black rubber part of the wheel which is full of air. So I got a flat tyre, which is where the tyre (or inner tube inside the tyre) gets punctured and all the air comes out. In fact I got two flat tyres in the same week, which I think is really unlucky. Anyway, the second one caused my brother and me to end up having to go on an unexpected journey through the lanes and roads of Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. On the way we recorded a series of rambling conversations covering the details of our trip and lots of other topics, and that is what you’re going to listen to.

So why don’t you join us on our accidental road trip and listen to us rambling on about…

  • The specific problem with the car, what happened and how it could be repaired
  • Different words and expressions for feeling angry (because I was very angry with the situation, certainly at the beginning, although you can’t really hear it in my voice because I’m so cool, calm and collected)
  • The dangers of drinking strong coffee and the phenomenon of “coffee rage”
  • The film Robocop and the 2014 Robocop Reboot (a very random tangent)
  • How and why cars might pull each other at nightclubs
  • Going insane while waiting to be rescued by roadside assistance
  • Different types of pub, including how to pick the right pub for a drink in England
  • The taste of beer, and different types of beer that you can get
  • A close encounter with a famous TV comedian at a motorway service station somewhere near Bristol
  • Fascinating details of the sandwiches that we bought to help sustain us on our adventure
  • The topic of going vegan or at least just eating less meat, and why eating meat is said to be bad for the environment
  • How to actually spell and pronounce the names of some English cities and counties on our trip, including Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Worcester, Worcestershire, Warwick and Warwickshire.

All that and more, coming up in this very rambling episode, spontaneously recorded on James’ mobile phone.

Listen on to find out all the details and to hear the voices of some other members of my family at the end, and by the way there is some strong language (swearing), the sound quality might not be up to the usual high standard because it was recorded on a mobile phone (but I think it’s ok) and also there is a lot of slightly mad rambly nonsense coming up – but I think you’ve probably come to expect that sort of thing from this podcast haven’t you?

OK here we go…


418. The Rick Thompson Report: Technology and The Future (January 2017)

Talking to my Dad about developments in technology in the future.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Thank you very much for choosing to listen to this episode. How are you? Are you doing alright? Are you ready to listen to some English? You are? Good! (I’m assuming that you all said yes to that) OK, well let’s go then shall we?

It’s the new year period and it’s normal at this time to look forward to the year ahead and to think about the future in general, so in this episode I’m talking to my Dad about technological developments that we can expect to see and read about in the coming months and years and the implications of those developments.

Of course neither of us are experts in this field (my Dad is a broadcast journalist and I’m an English teacher) but we both like to keep fairly up-to-date on technological issues, and since CES happened earlier this month in Las Vegas (that’s the Consumer Electronics Show where all the latest tech products are presented) there’s been quite a lot of coverage in the media about new technology. My Dad has been reading about it, I’ve been reading about it, and maybe you’ve been reading about it so let’s talk about it.

And that’s what we’re going to do and that’s what you’ll hear in this episode – two blokes, talking about technology, including some bits about driverless cars, green energy, drones, virtual reality headsets, augmented reality, and superintelligent computers that talk to you in that slightly threatening and disturbing sounding voice. “Good morning Mr Thompson”, “Did you sleep well?” “I have noticed that you are late with your banking payments Mr Thompson.” “It’s the 3rd time this year.” “I’m afraid I am going to have to turn off your oxygen supply unless you pay the outstanding credit on your account Mr Thompson”.

As I said, we’re not experts but I am sure that I have many tech-minded listeners who know a thing or two about this subject, so if you have anything to add to this conversation then I invite you to write your comments and predictions in the comment section on my website.

From a language point of view, you’re going to hear a lot of terms relating to technology of course, but also the natural conversational English that you’ve come to expect from episodes of this podcast.

If you’re interested in transcribing this episode as part of the Orion Transcription Team, go to my website and click transcripts – the details are all there. The team is growing all the time and it’s a good way to get some intensive language practise while helping to add value to my website by working together with other podcast listeners.

OK, so without any further ado, here’s a conversation with my Dad about technology and the future.


Moore’s Law
(n.) Moore’s Law is a computing term which originated in around 1970 based on an observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore (not Ian Moore), co-founder of Intel. The simplified version of this law states that processor speeds in computers, or overall processing power for computers will double every two years.
So, it starts as 2 and becomes 4, then 8, then 16 – doubling every two years, resulting in massive levels of development at an ever-increasing rate.

Basically: computers are getting more and more advanced all the time and eventually they’ll take over the world and make us their slaves like in The Terminator or The Matrix, maybe.

What is Moore’s Law? Webopedia Definition

How driverless cars could solve our traffic problems

Dad’s footballing predictions (wishful thinking I think!)

Leicester City will win FA Cup
Liverpool will win the Premiership


Outtro Script

What do you think? I am sure many of you have interesting things to add to this conversation. There’s bound to be a lot of things that we missed, including things like chatbots, Uberisation and plenty of other things. Get into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Did you understand everything we said in this episode? There’s a lot to be gained from that conversation in terms of vocabulary. Taking part in the transcript collaboration is a way for you to focus on that, but also perhaps I should do another episode just focusing on the language you heard in this one. Just let me know.

Don’t forget to do these things:
Join the mailing list on my website.
Like the Facebook page for LEP and follow me on Twitter. @englishpodcast

If you’re a ninja listener, hiding in the shadows, I invite you to come forward and leave a comment on my website saying who you are and how you found the podcast.

Thanks very much to those of you who have written recently. It’s good to hear from you and to know exactly who is out there downloading my episodes.

Take care and have a good day, etc!


139. Hard Driving / Car Vocabulary

One Man. One Car. One Destination. Lots of vocabulary.

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In this episode you join me in a BMW Mini as I attempt to drive across Paris, through some of Europe’s busiest streets, on a very hot July afternoon. My mission is to deliver the car to a car-park while avoiding angry Parisian drivers, pedestrians with prams, and busses full of Japanese tourists. The ultimate goal – a glass of cold beer on the terrace of a cafe, and to save the world through another episode of Luke’s English Podcast, of course.

Do I manage to complete my mission? And what driving-related vocabulary can you learn during this episode?

Listen, and you will find out…

Here are extracts of the transcript for this episode that contain all the driving-related vocabulary.

  1. Hard Driving – driving vocabulary



The car is on. I’ve got my hand on the handbrake on my right. I’m in the first gear. And I’m going to get moving, so I just lift the handbrake up. I’ve got the clutch. My left foot is on the clutch. I’ve put myself on the first gear. Handbrake is down.




So, [the] vocab is, what I’m holding, what I’ve got in front of me, the wheel. The thing that I’m turning in order to control the direction of the car, that’s the steering wheel, folks. The steering wheel. Turning the steering wheel to go left and right.




The gear stick to control the gears.




Gear stick. First gear, second gear, third gear, fourth gear, fifth gear, sixth gear sometimes and reverse gear, of course. Handbrake, I’ve already mentioned that. That’s the way you can sort of… how you stop the car when you’re on a hill, or you park, you pull the handbrake up. Sometimes, if you’re in a Hollywood movie and you need to like turn the car around very quickly, you might pull the handbrake and do the handbrake turn. It’s very dramatic and exciting. But I’m not going to be doing it today, folks, no! I’m going to try drive safely.




So, the pedals on the floor to…




So, the pedals on floor, the one on the furthest right is the accelerator pedal or the throttle, which is the accelerator.

The accelerator pedal, the brake pedal on the middle and the clutch on the left. OK. I’ve got some switches behind the steering wheel. You can hear the indicator switch, which sounds like this: “Indicator sound” Yeah. This is the indicators, they indicate left and right. And I’ve also got things like headlights, and stuff like that. I’ve got the speedometer in front of me, I’ve got a fuel gauge, rev counter which tells me how I’m revving the engine.




We also have the glove compartment on the right in front of the passenger seat, which never contains gloves. They call it the glove compartment, you know, it’s like a little box that little storage cupboard thing in front of the passenger seat. I don’t know why they… I know why they call it the glove compartment. It’s because traditionally that’s where you keep gloves. I’ve never ever seen a pair of glove in the glove compartment. Usually, it’s just like an old map or some boiled sweets or something like that. Never, never any gloves in the glove compartment.




There’s the horn, which makes the car go “Beep beep beep” this is the horn. The seatbelt, which can obviously save your life if you have a crash. Hopefully, that’ll never happen. You also have mirrors, don’t you? Mirrors, what you can, which allow you to see behind you. You’ve got the wing mirrors on the left and the right. And then you have the rear view mirror.




So, the windows, the window in front of me, we call it the windscreen, in front of me, it’s the big window at the front of the car. The windscreen. In America, they call it the windshield, but we call it the windscreen. Then the other one, it’s just this the window in the back window. It’s just pragmatic. The front part of the car that you open if you want to look at the engine, it’s called the bonnet. But in America, they call it the, what do they call it, the hood, hood, but we call it the bonnet. The front of the car is the bumper. That’s the part which is used to sort of bump other cars.






I’m just going to run through the vocab of the car that I attempted to teach you during the journey just as a summary.

  1. You got in the car. You’ve got the steering wheel, which you use to turn left or right or to steer the car. You have accelerator pedal, the brake pedal and the clutch pedal. You use the clutch to change the gear. And also you have a stick on the right if you’re in Europe and that’s the gear stick.

You have the seat-belt to keep you safe. If you have a crash, then the airbag will come out and protect you so that you don’t get badly injured in the event of an accident. You have mirrors, the rear view mirror in the middle, the wing mirrors on the left and right. You have the indicator to show which direction you’re going to turn, left or right. Tick, tick, tick, tick, like that. The indicator. You’ve also got things like the windscreen wipers, which are those things that clean the water of your windows or the dead insects after a long journey, you use the windscreen wipers to wipe them off. You also have like jets of water which spray onto the windscreen. And if you angle the jets correctly, you can spray pedestrians as you drive past them, which is quite good fun, isn’t it?


You’ve got the… the back window with a windscreen wiper on it, you’ve got the brake lights, you have bumper at the back, bumper at the front. You’ve got the boot of the car or in Ameri… that’s the back, that’s the storage area at the back of the car. We call it the boot. In American English, they call it the trunk. The front of the car, you’ve got the bonnet, which covers the engine. And in America, they call that the, what do they call it, the hood. That’s right. You’ve got also the petrol cap, which you remove in order to fill a car up with fuel.


Let’s see, what else? So, the number plate on the back and the number plate on the front, they have the registration number of the car. Also the wheels, of course, they’re very important. If you want to actually travel anywhere. You got the wheels… the wheels have, what are do they called it?, alloy covers, often if you’ve got like you know very nice cool car, you might have alloys on the wheels, which look cool. Then you’ve got the rubber bits that go around and they’re filled with air. Those are called tyres [tires in US English], of course. The tyres that go around the wheel. Just the same as a bicycle, in fact. Headlights on the front help to illuminate the road as you’re driving.




There are some verbs we associate with driving, as I mentioned before you. You accelerate. You brake, brake means to stop [or slow down]. You turn left, you turn right, you steer the car. You reverse, I mean, you go backwards. Mirror signal manoeuvre. Mirror, obviously, check the mirror before you move. Signal, that’s to indicate which direction you’re going to go. And manoeuvre, that means to turn or to make some sort of specific movement in the car. A manoeuvre. A manoeuvre might be, for example, a 3-point turn or a U turn or a… if you reverse into a parking space, to parallel park, which is one of the most difficult things that you can do when you’re driving is parallel park. When you’re learning to drive, that’s very difficult. If you have a space in the road and you have to try and park the car in that space. So, that’s nicely positioned, close to the curb, without too much space between the car and the curb and you don’t actually touch either the car in front or the car behind. That’s… if you can master that art, then you should be able to pass your driving test, how to parallel park.



Other vocab:

  • traffic
  • traffic lights
  • zebra crossing
  • satnav
  • petrol

A listener has written a finished transcript of this episode. Click here to read it. Be aware that it hasn’t been fully corrected yet, but is about 90% accurate.