Intergalactic travel and the English speaker

What to do this particular afternoon with my Chinese Students, more IELTS and phrasal verbs? Then.... ( and this you will not believe ) I hear a Spaceman is about to arrive at Birkdale. Has this writer spent too much time on the pop? I hear you cry. But, no, this is the absolute truth. Alan Bean. Who He? Alan Bean from Houston, silly! The man who once trod the moon. Personally, I had never met a moonwalker before, nor, I'd suspected had my Sixth Formers. So a lesson about space travel commenced: Qualities of an astronaut - strong, sociable and, oddly, single; 'Space' words - yes, of course, rocket, moon, gravity ( or, lack of ) and launch ; and then the questions we were to put but not before a certain degree of puzzlement. 'If he's now in his eighties and he landed in the 1970s how come he's survived this long on the moon?' 'Is he flying direct?' 'How long will it take him to get here?' Now, this question I replied with 'About ten minutes - he'll get a cab from the station.' Disappointment all round as Apollo wouldn't actually be landing in the school grounds. To be fair, I was a bit miffed with that too.

So when listing the questions to ask a contemporary of Mr Armstrong, it was pretty inevitable at to what the favourite was going to be ......

'How do you go to the toilet?'

I wonder how many times Alan Bean has been asked that one?


Pete Goodland A-level English Tutor (Sheffield)

About The Author

Exams are now in full swing. I know all your endeavours will pay dividends. Remember: Accentuate the positive - a Uni place awaits and cocktails are sure to follow. Meanwhile..a little more IELTS and a spot of proofreading over my morning coffee.

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