Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Girls of Zway

Road to Zway

Road to Zway

Here are Mariana (right) with Clara (middle) and their Canary friend Irina (isletera) at an Ethiopian restaurant and dance club in the capital of Addis Ababa. Travel to an amazing country in the eastern Horn of Africa with a group of eager, enthusiastic young people who want to live and learn from the Ethiopian students and our host teachers, it is very worthwhile. So it was easy to write the song Road to Zway which I hope you like. Here is the song: 

by David Shea /Delmar Lemming 

Well I ve never seen your country 
Says the pirate to the guy 
Who is busy checking passports 
As we set our sights on Zway 
On the road to Zway
We've been yearning, ever burning
On the road to Zway 

You can fix that old two-wheeler
Said an angel with a sigh 
But we had better get back to choir 
And the mission house in Zway 

On the road to Zway
On the road to Zway 
We've been burning 
Ever learning 
On the road to Zway 

Comments on Clara in the Rain

My song Clara in the Rain is based on a real experience. A couple of years ago in the month of August, my daughter Mariana and her friend Clara (pictured above) and I participated in a summer school program in Zway, south central Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa. In a violent thunder and lightning rain storm, we had to abandon our sports day and take refuge in the camp base where we were staying. Once all 15 volunteers were safe from the torrential rains, their "fearless leader" realized he had left his rucksack in the playground. Yikes! It was going to get soaked! Well, Clara only needed that excuse to go running back in search of the missing bag. That is the story and here are the lyrics.

Run Like Clara in the Rain
Bag left in the mission yard
Thunder, lightning, it was raining hard   
I told Irina, told Mikel, too
They told Clara, see what she might do
I’d like to run like Clara in the rain

I’d like to run like Clara in the rain
Feel such joy within my veins
Drench my clothes through and through
Run with Irina and Mikel too
I’d like to run like Clara in the rain

2”Hey,” says Clara “let’s have a little race”
Mad dash to the playground gates
Mud tromp down a pebble lane
Make that forgotten treasure claim
I’d like to run like Clara in the rain

3 Thanks for your kindness, that crazy spree
Muddy clothes, imagination free
I warned them but it was no use
That bag had just been their excuse
To run like Clara in the rain
Feel such youth within their veins
So ran Irina and Mikel
To catch dear Clara in the rain

4 Youth is contagious, joy is just
Laughter’s a bike that will not rust
Unless you leave it in the rain
Defy all sorrow, go a little insane
When you run like Clara in the rain 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Clara in the Rain

Clara in the Rain by Delmar Lemming (D Shea)

This is a song I wrote in celebration of a summer storm in the town of Zway, East Shoa, Ethiopia. My daughter, Mariana Shea, and her dear friend Clara, travelled to Zway to team teach with Ethiopian instructors from Mary Help School during the month of August 2017. It was a fantastic experience. Everything described in the story actually happened. Or I think it did, anyway. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hop along, Peter,

Old Uncle Peter, he got tight,

Started up to heaven on a stormy night.

The road being rough and him not well,

He lost his way and he went... to...

     Hop along, Peter, where you going?

     Hop along, Peter, where you going?

     Hop along, Peter, won't you bear in mind

      I ain 't comin' back till the gooseberry time.

Old mother Hubbard and her dog were Dutch,

A bow-legged rooster and he hobbled on a crutch.

Hen chewed tobacco and the duck drank wine;

The goose played the fiddle on the pumpkin vine.

Down in the barnyard playing seven-up,

The old tom cat and the little yellow pup,

The old mother Hubbard, she's a-pickin' out the fleas,

Rooster in the cream jar up to his knees.

I've got a sweet gal in this here town,

If she weighs an ounce, she weighs seven hundred pounds,

Every time my sweet gal turns once around,

The heel of her shoe makes a hole in the ground.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book review NI1

Book review

Introduction: give the title and author of the book.

  • Body:
    1. Summarize the plot in a few sentences.
    2. Mention the setting: the place and time of the plot.
    3. Say something about the main characters.
    4. Say something about the content.
    1. Comment on the book.
    2. Let others know why you liked the book.
    3. Is the author's style good or bad, is the book interesting?.
    4. Would you recommend the book to certain people (fans of romance, horror, history)?

Write about 150 – 200 words about the book
Deadline for this assignment: November 22, 2016

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cat on the Moon?

You may want to know more about our new cat song. Please search in the box provided (above) for the song. You need to enter a key word. That is all. 

Cat Came Back!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


(Cisco Houston)
I am a roving gambler, I gamble all around
Whenever I meet with a deck of cards I lay my money down.

I've gambled down in Washington, I've gambled over in Spain
I'm on my way to Georgia to gamble my last game.

I had not been in Washington not many more weeks than three
When I fell in love with a pretty little gal, she fell in love with me.

She took me to her parlor, she cooled me with her fan
She whispered low in her mother's ear, "I love that gambling man."

"Oh daughter, Oh dear daughter, how can you treat me so?
To leave your dear old mother, and with a gambler go?"

"Oh mother, Oh dear mother, you know I love you well
But the love I have for this gambling man, no human tongue can tell."

"I hear that train a-coming, it's a-coming 'round the curve
A-whistling and a-blowing and a-straining every nerve"

"Oh mother, Oh dear mother, I'll tell you if I can
If you ever see me back again, it'll be with that gambling man."

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Ballad of Jesse James

The Ballad of Jesse James
Jesse James was a lad that killed many a man
He robbed the Danville train
He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor
He'd a hand, a heart, and a brain

(Poor ) Jesse had a wife, to mourn for his life
And three children, they were so brave
But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave

Jesse was a man, a friend to the poor
He couldn't see a brother suffer pain
And with his brother Frank
he robbed the Springfield bank
And he stopped the Glendale train

It was Robert Ford, the dirty little coward
And I wonder how he feels
For he slept in Jesse's bed and he ate o' Jesse's bread
But he laid Jesse James in his grave
It was with his brother Frank that he robbed the Gallatin Bank
An' carried the money from the town
It was at that very place that they had a little chase
For they shot ol' Captain Sheets to the ground
They went to a crossing, not very far from there
And there they did the same
For the agent on his knees delivered up the keys
To the outlaws, Frank an' Jesse James
It was on a Wednesday night, not a star was in sight
When they robbed the Glendale train
Those people, they did say for many miles away
It was robbed by Frank an' Jesse James
It was on a Saturday night,
When Jesse was at home
Just talking with his family brave
Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night
And laid poor Jesse in his grave
Now, the people held their breath
When they heard of Jesse's death
They wondered how he ever came to die
It was one of his own gang called little Robert Ford
An' he shot Jesse James on the sly

Jesse went to his rest with his hand upon his breast
And there are many who never saw his face
He was born one day in the County of Clay
And he came from a solitary race
This song was made by Billy Gashade
As soon as the news did arrive
He said there's no one man with the law in his hand
Could ever take ol' Jesse James alive

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Into the Holler (by D Shea and Katy Hooper)

This is a song I wrote with my friend Katy Hooper who sings with me on this recording. We were pleased to have the able accompaniment of Diego Torres on the flute. I hope you like it. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Questions, a key language learning technique (for all my students)

For the last few academic years, I have been considering different strategies to stimulate conversation in my classes. One fairly simple method of getting people talking is to propose topics of interest. For each topic, the students are presented with a series of questions to share with a partner or in small groups. 
This idea is not original, it actually dates backs to the Greeks, but more recently, I have been taken by the work of Larry Pitts who teaches English language and culture in Korea. His book has been a valuable resource for me. I do not use all his listed questions, but rather choose a few that I hope the students will appreciate. In future postings here, you will find some of my lists.



What three pieces of advice will you give your children?
Whose advice do you follow more, your parents’ or your friends’ advice?
If you could give the leader of your country some advice, what would it be?
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, what would you
tell your younger self?
Who was the wisest person in your country’s history? 
What kind of advice did that person give?
Where do you go to get good advice?
Now it’s your turn to give some advice:
What are some things students should do to improve their English?
What should I do to make more money?
How can I get more free time?
What should people do when first meeting their boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents?
What should someone do to be happy?

( Adapted from the following source materials:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CLIL students

Welcome to all my CLIL students who want to improve their communication skills, achieve better speaking skills. 
Here are our first questions: 

1) How useful is English to you?
2) How often do you use it?
3) What are your strengths in English?
4) What English speaking countries have your visited?
5) Do you have any strategies for improving your spoken English?

Huddie Ledbetter, great American singer, songwriter and the king of the 12-street guitar

Huddie Ledbetter, as known as Leadbelly, is one of my favorite singers. I am going to include two of his songs in the next few classes. I hope you like them and find them interesting and fun to sing!

biographical data for Huddie Ledbetter

On a Monday (by Huddie Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly)

On a Monday (by Huddie Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly)

On a Monday
I was arrested
And on a Tuesday,
I got locked up in jail
And on a Wednesday
My trial was attested
And on a Thursday
Nobody would go my bail

Yes I'm gone
Aaaalmost most gone (3x)
And I ain't going to be seein' them pretty women no more

Take these stripes
These stripes from off my shoulder
Take these chains
These chains from off-a my leg
Well these stripes,
You know that they don't bother me
But these chains
These chains are killin' me dead

Yes I'm gone…

Now on a Friday
My baby went out walking
And on a Saturday
You know she locked up the door
And on a Sunday
She must have done some talkin'
Cause on a Monday
She had sold all o my clothes.

Yes I'm gone …

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Speaking Test Tips


“Good afternoon, my name is Fabio BL…. (entire name) and I am very happy to have this opportunity to share my thoughts today. “

THEN enter into your topic:

“In this photo, we can see ….” or “I can see “ or “There are many people dancing ...”


“I also notice that many of the people in the picture are in a hurry, they are walking along the road toward the port, perhaps they are going to take a boat to another island or maybe they will meet someone who is arriving at the port of Las Palmas.”

RULE THREE (IMPORTANT): Finish off with a flourish!

Examiner: “Okay, excuse me, your time is up, the exam is finished.”

You: “Well, that's all I would like to say, thank you for listening to me and have a great afternoon.”

Friday, April 15, 2016

Another Interesting Link

To my EOI Students of English at any level, 

Here is another  link 

which you may find of interest.

Best wishes!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

NI1 Speaking titles for May 2016

Speaking Titles for the May Exams

Monologue (2 minutes)

1 Talk about what you consider to be a balanced diet.

2 Describe an old post card of Gran Canaria, photos taken in the early 20th  

century. Use extensive vocabulary and interesting expressions.

3 Why are stereotypes so common in our society?

4 Talk about how you manage your income.

5 Talk about how you spend your free time.

Dialogues (4-5 minutes)

1 Interview with a difficult public figure (politician, pop star, actor and so on). One journalist 

and one person being interviewed.

2 Give advice to a person who is looking for work. Candidate A is the unemployed person, 

candidate B is the career counselor.

3 Greeting the good news. Candidate A has just had a baby and candidate B must give the 

congratulations and get all the details of the birth (what name they are going to give the 

baby, size, weight and hair color).

4 Giving advice to a friend with a problem. Candidate A has a son/daughter who is 

addicted   to the WWW, surfing all day and all night long. Candidate B has to give A some 

advice on how to deal with this unpleasant situation.

5 Managing our money. Candidate A always spends money on shopping, gambling, music 

and so forth. Candidate B is more thrifty and advises A to be careful with his/her funds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Improve your listening skills in English

Here is a terrific resource for all my students, intermediate and advanced, to improve your listening skills.

Just click on the link and do as many listening tests as you can. They are well-ordered and graded.

Randall's Listening Page

Good luck! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Writing paper for final exams NI1 level

Writing Paper for NI1

1. Describe a sport or hobby that you enjoy.
       How long have you done this activity? (Present perfect)
 Why did you take up this activity? ( simple past)
 Have you made friends through it?

2. Imagine you have won a contest with a travel company.
They have awarded (given) you a trip around the world.
You have one year to travel and can visit 6 countries.
What countries are you going to include and why?

Both essays should be 130 – 150 words.
You will be graded on
  • Expression
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Vocabulary (adjectives)
  • Register
  • Content

Email me with your essay if you
would like to practice:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NI 1 CD 3 Track answers


1. A long dress with short sleeves
2. At the coffee house
3. 21st March
4. One video and a couple of novels
5. On the radio
6. Channel 4 news
7. Horse riding


1. gym
2. Saturday
3. 215
4. lessons
5. age
6. Reysall


1. 11:15
2. A salad, a bowl of soup and a roll
3. Under her chair
4. By bus
5. A sofa
6. Going to the cinema
7. Cloudy


1. The dining room
2. 9:15
3. forest
4. village
5. boat
6. (sun) hat


1. A lamp for his desk
2. No glasses and blond hair
3. In a house
4. Computer World
5. An opera evening
6. 8:15
7. Making himself some supper


1. Monday(s)
2. post office
3. 18 February
4. violin
5. photograph
6. (course) books


1. The music
2. A piano concert
3. A beach bag
4. Cloudy
5. On the dining room table
6. At the bookshop
7. 3:15


1. (sandy) beaches
2. 70
3. fan
4. teabags
5. owner
6. flight(s)


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Leisure Vocabulary

The topic of leisure activities brought out lots of interesting vocabulary in our NI1 sessions
  1. Tiempo de ocio = leisure time (free time, spare time)
  2. hacerse socio de un club = sign up for a club, join
  3. mantenerse en forma = keeping fit
  4. patinar sobre hielo = ice skating
  5. practicar deporte = play sport (tennis, football)
  6. bricolaje = DIY (do it yourself)
  7. hacer ejercicio = do exercise
  8. meterse en clases de spinning = take up spinning
  9. abandonar clases = give up classes
  10. dibujar = draw
  11. jugador = player
  12. arbitro = referee
  13. cancha de tenis = tennis court
  14. piscina = swimming pool
  15. barco de vela = sailing-boat (yacht, ship)
  16. campo de futbol = football pitch (UK) field (US)
  17. coleccionista de sellos = stamp collector (philatelist)
  18. natación = swimming
  19. pesca = fishing
  20. lucha libre = wrestling
  21. boxeo = boxing
  22. voley playa = beach volleyball
  23. lectura = reading
  24. patchwork = quilting
  25. jardinería = gardening
  26. caminar, senderismo = walking
  27. hacer caminatas = hiking
  28. escalar = climbing mountains
  29. paracaidismo = sky-diving
  30. playing the lute = tocar el laúd (o timple)
  31. ciclismo = cycling
  32. esnorkeling de tubo = snorkeling
  33. buceo = scuba diving
  34. ver la tele = watch TV
  35. ir al cine = go to the cinema
  36. esquiar = skiing
  37. esqui acuatico = water skiing
  38. snow boarding
  39. surfismo = surfing
  40. baile = dancing

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Post Card Speaking Activity

Post Card Speaking Activity 
In pairs, look at a post card from the collection.
One partner must speak for a 90 seconds, describing what they can see in the post 

card. The other partner should not speak during this first step.
Then the second partner speaks for a further 60 seconds (1 min).

Here are suggested commentaries:
  • In this picture, I can see …” “There are many birds in the trees ...”
  • The people in the picture are dressed in ...”
  • In the foreground there is (are) ...” “In the background, I can see ...”
  • Underneath the trees, we can see ...”
  • There is snow on the mountain tops.”
  • narrow and wide /tall buildings
  • cobbled streets (adoquines)
  • taxi rank (parada de taxis)
  • wharf, pier, harbor (muelle)
  • town hall, city hall = ayuntamiento
  • fountain (fuente)
  • tram tracks
  • arches (arcos)
  • statue (estatua)
  • street lamps (faroles)
  • roundabout (rotonda)
  • clay pot (vasija de barro)
  • carriage = carruaje
  • ravine = barranco
  • river = rio
  • it dates back to = data a
  • married couple = matrimonio
  • roof = tejado
  • cave = cueva
  • tattered flag = bandera en harapos
  • nostalgic = nostálgico/a
  • oven = horno
  • fishing boat = barquilla
  • peasants = campesinos
  • on top of her head (encima de su cabeza)
  • big waves on the ocean (crash)
  • the cross on the church steeple (campanario a dos aguas)
  • terraced (row house) = casa terrera
  • quaint, typical houses of the period = casa típica de la época
  • sea weed = algas 
  • sidewalks on both sides of the street= aceras a los 2 lados de la calle
  • ornate, wooden balconies