Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: This is the travel news!


Driving to work this morning, it occurred to me that this might be an interesting topic to talk about here in Lisa’s week. After all, for most of us, the daily commute to and from work can be rather a chore.

Whether you’re travelling by public transport using bus, tram, underground or train, or braving the streets yourself by car, it can feel like quite the challenge to get to work unscathed before turning round and doing it all over again at the end of the day. Commuters are generally not the happiest souls – unless of course they’re listening to their own, curated list of podcasts because they were reading this column over the last two weeks!

Anyway, first thing in the morning on the days when I’m driving, I always make time to listen to the travel news where I’ll try to follow the list of local traffic jams, road closures and delays on the streets of NRW. I know how hard this can be in a foreign language and often realise that I’ve missed the relevant motorway for me, or didn’t quite catch exactly where the delays are. However, if you take time to familiarise yourself with some of the standard expressions that are used in these reports, it can get easier. Honestly!

Travelling by motorway, you might find that there are long traffic jams because of roadworks or a construction site but at this time of year, it could just as easily be because of bad weather or even worse, black ice. First of all, traffic slows down and the traffic bulletin might report “slow moving traffic” which inevitably turns into a traffic jam. At this point, people might try to leave the motorway at the next junction and head off over other main roads to reach their destination. Of course, it’s useful to pay attention to the direction you are travelling in so that you can clearly understand exactly where the problem is. Sometimes there could be an incident or accident that might block one or more lanes, or possibly even a full road closure. An accident might be classified as a serious incident, or as a “pile up” which is when multiple cars and/or lorries (trucks) crash into each other usually causing serious injuries or even fatalities. The emergency services will need to attend the scene of the accident and of course, these days in Germany, we are expected to create an emergency access lane as soon as the flow of traffic slows down to allow any emergency vehicle access. The hard shoulder should always be kept free for breakdowns.

Just for interest, I logged into the local radio stations traffic news site for Birmingham, UK while I was writing this to see some of the general language that is used to describe the commuters’ nightmare situations. One report was: “Slow traffic due to earlier accident, a lorry and a car involved on M6 Northbound between J4A M42 and J5 A452 (Castle Bromwich). All lanes have been re-opened.” It’s in a slightly different format to the German way of talking about the motorway delays but once you are familiar with some of the vocabulary, you just have to pay attention to get all the details!

This small report showed me that it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s more than likely that at some point of your journey to and from work, you’re going to hit some traffic problems. I just hope you have some good podcasts to listen to while you wait!

Happy commuting!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon

Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1

Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2