This episode's vocabulary
- Be past it (idiom) - to be too old to do something.
- Stroll (noun) - a slow relaxed walk, especially for pleasure.
- Weather permitting - if the weather is good enough to allow it.
- Lead (noun) - a piece of rope, chain, etc. tied to an animal, especially to a dog at its collar when taking it for a walk.
- Refreshing (adj.) - making you feel less hot or tired.
- Secluded (adj.) - quiet, private, and not near people, roads, or buildings.
- Safari park (noun) - a large park where wild animals are kept and can move freely, and can be watched by visitors driving through in their cars.
- Green space (noun) - space consisting of land (such as parks) rather than buildings.
Questions and Answers
M: Would you like to play in a public garden or a park?
R: Well, I think I'm a bit past that now, don't you think? I used to like doing it when I was younger, and we would go there all the time. But now I'm almost never in the park unless it's taking the dog for a walk or going for a stroll.
M: Do you like going to parks?
R: I'm not opposed to them, weather permitting. Although these days I usually don't have time for it.
M: What do you like to do when you visit a park?
R: Well, if I have one, then letting the dog off the lead and watching other animals or children playing is quite pleasant. If it's near the sea, it's also possible to enjoy the sound of the waves crashing and the smell of salt in the air.
M: When was the last time you went to a park?
R: Oh, probably last weekend, I took the dog for a walk in the park just outside our house. It stretches along the seafront. The weather wasn't the best, sadly. Though, the walk was quite refreshing. So that's good.
M: Will you go to parks more often in the future?
R: I imagine so. Though, I don't have any set plans to go to any. If I had to pick one, it might be the National Park north of where I live. It's quite secluded out there. But I quite like the quiet in that sense, so that should do quite well. Oh, we have a safari park as well, which is quite cool. Although that's further away.
M: Are there any parks where you live?
R: Well, like I said, there's one like, right outside my house next to the public gardens. Although by contrast, it's just one big open green space, whereas the public gardens are a bit more, well, well decorated.
M: Should parks be free for people?
R: Well, I think they all are where I'm from, unless it's something specialist like that safari park I mentioned, for example. Though, like I say that one is about an hour away. And I can't imagine the animals would be very happy in the weather, to be honest. So I don't know if it's worth paying to go right now.
M: Rory, thank you so much for your lovely answers!
R: That's okay.
M: So, public gardens and parks. First of all, Rory, how do you see the difference between a park, public gardens, and a personal garden?
R: I like how you paused there, so like personal garden is something that's a bit unusual. So a public garden is for everybody and everyone can go there. And it's open and covers the wider area. It's quite a big space. It's also maintained by people and they have a variety of plants as well, for example.
M: Do we say a public garden or public gardens or both?
R: I don't think it makes a difference. For example, there's a place near where I'm from called the rock gardens, but actually, it's one big continuous garden. So I don't think it makes a difference here.
M: Okay, cool. And the park, is it the same as public gardens?
R: I think a park is a more open space. For example, in public gardens, there are more decorative flowers or decorations in general, it's much more manicured and well-maintained, whereas the park for me is a big open green space.
M: Hmm, yeah. Okay, so a park is like, wild and public gardens, they are manicured.
R: Manicured, yes.
R: Like our fingernails.
M: Yay. So also, you can say Botanical Gardens or Botanic Garden, you know, someplace where you see all different tropical plants.
R: Yeah. Oh, I went to the Botanic Gardens. We have them in Dundee. I don't know if there's, yeah, of course, they're not as large as the ones in Moscow, for example. But yeah, there's a variety of plants there as well.
M: Yeah, surely Moscow has the largest parks in the world...
R: I don't know. We'd have to check. Probably. Anyway, they're bigger than in Dundee, that's for sure. And so, I didn't talk about them. But you could if you have them in your hometown. Botanic Gardens is another thing to speak about. Anyway, you asked about the difference between the other ones, so personal gardens are enclosed, public gardens are open, and, well, decorative and decorated, and parks are open and usually wild. Maybe they have their lawn trimmed or mowed from time to time, but that's about it.
M: Yeah, if you have a cottage in the country, you might have a vegetable garden. But that's again, your personal space. Right, in comparison to public spaces, open spaces, like public gardens, parks in the city. We can also call them urban parks. Urban parks like parks in a city.
R: Oh, an urban park.
M: Yeah, I know. Cool. There are a couple of urban parks where live. Like urban park, I think it's just a fancy name for a park in a city.
M: You can Google it if you wish. Rory, you mentioned different names of parks. So dear listener, it's a good idea for you to know some names of the parks close to you. Rory said a safari park because in Scotland there are some safari parks.
R: There are safari parks in many countries.
M: Yeah. Also, you mentioned some other park, the name of the park. Which one did you mention?
R: I just said it was a safari park. I didn't say the specific one. It's called Blair Drummond Safari Park. But I don't think many people will have been there or plan to go there.
M: Yeah, but, dear listener, it's good to name certain names of the parks, which you like in your city.
M: We use parks without any article. So like Zaradye Park, Gorky Park, no article. When the examiner asks you, if you like to go to parks, you can say like, well, I used to like it, but not anymore.
R: Or I used to go but I don't now.
M: Yeah. Or just like, oh, I used to when I was younger. And then you can say what you did in the past. Rory, you said I think I'm a bit past that now.
R: Yes. So there's an expression to be past it, which just means you're too old to do something. But you can also see you're past that like past that. "That" being going or playing in a park here. I can imagine like, there are many 32-year-old people going to parks and playing like whoo, let's enjoy the park.
M: Actually they do, come on. So you think like parks are for old people, like ancient people for like 80-year-olds or what?
R: No, I don't think. I think parks are for everybody, but I don't think everybody should be playing in a park. You have to like, have some kind of decorum when you're older, don't you?
M: Hmm. Yeah, cuz the question was like, would you like to play in the public garden or park? Like play, play volleyball, basketball, frisbee or...
R: Yeah, so it should be something specific like...
M: Let's go play...
R: Let's go play hide and seek in the park. However, if it was something like what sports can you play in the park? Then I could say like, frisbee or more frisbee.
M: Yeah. Beach volleyball.
R: Well, you play beach volleyball on the beach, the clue is in the title.
M: So dear listener, if you don't enjoy playing in the park, you can go for a stroll. So go for a walk, go for a stroll. What's the difference between a walk and a stroll?
R: Well, a walk is just a walk, really. But a stroll is more casual. Because there are different kinds of walking but a stroll is a specific kind of walking. It's casual, carefree, there's no set plan, you usually go for a stroll with other people. It's more about being with people than the walk. Whereas the walk if you go on a walk, it's like from one point to the other. It's very formal. Also, a walk can be like a noun for like a fixed path or a fixed route.
M: Oh, yeah, paths or walks in a park.
R: A nature walk. You take the dog for a walk. Okay? And also you can say that you let the dog off the lead. So the lead is this thing that the dog is attached to.
R: Yes. Why do you laugh at that?
M: It's a bit strange. The dog is attached to the, to a lead.
R: Well, the dog is not attached to the lead. The lead, the lead is attached to the collar.
M: So if you want to let your dog run wild in the park, biting other people, so you let the dog off the lead. You take the dog for a walk. Now, Rory, you have a dog, right?
R: I had a dog. We were looking after him for a while, but he didn't stay with us forever.
M: Oh, he's gone. Oh...
R: Yes. He'll come back though. He's coming back next year.
M: When the examiner asks you about your future plans, you can say, well, I don't have any set plans to go to any parks.
R: So set plans are just things that you have, well, set in stone. They're fixed plans that you have to look forward to in the future.
M: And then you can use the second conditional, if I had to pick one it might be the National Park.
R: If I had to do this, it might be that.
M: So you can also use some adjectives to describe parks. For example, a park is quite secluded.
R: Yes. So secluded just means it's away from, well, other people.
M: Yeah. I like this park because there aren't any people.
M: It's just for me. It's my personal park.
R: Well, actually, for some people, they might have their own personal park. The Queen has the grounds around Balmoral, which I shouldn't say Balmoral, it's an estate, which is different from a park. An estate is like privately owned land with a lot of different buildings and facilities on it. So she has that, and no one is allowed there.
R: Anyway, moving on. So we talked about grammar, but were there any other grammar points that were mentioned? Because I'm pretty sure I use if more than once, didn't I? If it's near the sea, it's also possible to enjoy the sound of the waves crashing. So that is first conditional.
M: Yes, it is, well done. Thank you very much for listening, dear listener! And now in IELTS speaking part one they can ask you about public gardens and parks. We also have another episode about parks and public gardens. So do check it out.
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