Tianjin English Lesson five (continued): Dogs and gardens, and Churches

Of dogs and gardens and churches

Nimen Hao,

Today, we will continue the lesson from last week, talking about gardens and dogs. Then we will begin to talk about religious buildings.

  • Watch a short video about a Chinese and New Zealand family and their garden (there are subtitles in English).
  • Do exercise 2, which is about your pets. Again, if you have photos you can show us.
  • Do exercise 3, which is about your favourite art
  • I will talk a little about Christian religious architecture
  • Do exercise 4, which is about a religious building you know.

Please note, this lesson has some new words. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them, just try to learn as many as you want to.

Group Discussion One

What are your favorite plants (flowers, trees) in China?

Can you describe them, or what you like about them?

(If anyone wants to show pictures that will be good).

Gardening and Dogs: England and Australia

Two of the most common Australian and English social habits are gardening and dogs.

My family is both English and Australian, so let’s talk about them, their gardens and their dogs.

My father’s family lived in the south of England in a town called Margate.


They worked too hard to go often, but they loved its harbour and beach.


They had a new house and made their garden from scratch.


They loved gardening and and the things they could do in the garden.


garden tennis

Dogs (the one below was called Bella) were a central part of their lives and time spent in the garden.

David & Terry & dog
bella pensive

They migrated to Perth, Australia.


My grandparent’s Ge’ and Pop had generations of these dogs in Australia:


The English word for this kind of dog is “Pekinese”. I’m not sure what you call them in China (do you know the word?). They’re very friendly dogs with cute flat faces (which make them snuffle because they don’t breathe well).

This one was called Tricky Woo. She slept on the bed or the couch, got fed chocolate and carried a lot.trickywoo

She was thoroughly spoilt.

This is a view of my father (Terry) and his wife (Carol’s) home and garden (the photo was taken about ten years ago, they’ve changed it a lot since then).


Terry and Carol have raised generations of what they call Chows (the Chinese name is Jing Ba).


The one above was Dad’s favorite, Benny. His favorite things were Dad’s toes and running away. He was very fast!

Carol holding Beefy the Terrier, Ziva the Chou

Carol is holding Beefy (a name given to dogs that get big or fat). He was very greedy.

Ziva from NCIS

The Jing Ba is Ziva. Dad have her that name after some pretty actress from a tv show he likes. Her favorite thing in the world is Carol, whom she follows everywhere.

Apart from that she likes hiding from people and running away, as she’s very shy.

In fact the Jing Ba we’ve had have all been very anti-social, but loyal to the owner, so we think its the character of the breed. They can be very hard to train for the things that involve other people and dogs.


The gardens in our English and Australian house all have lawns because that gives the dog something soft to run around and lie on.


To have dogs like the Jing Ba you need a big enough garden (westerners think they wouldn’t be happy in a small space).

My grandparent’s Pekinese could live in a Chinese apartment, and they remind me of many of the dogs I see my Tanggu neighbours walking. The only big dogs I’ve seen in Tanggu are Labradors, or Golden Retrievers (a cousin of the Labrador).


That’s a good choice as well, because even though they’re big, they’re gentle and calm, so they wouldn’t be stressed by living in a small apartment.

Having a dog is good for my parents. They walk Ziva twice everyday and the walk gives them some exercise as well as a nice way to start and end the day. Because they’ve been dog walking the same roads for many years, they’ve made lots of human and canine friends.

Having a garden is also very good. For them it is a labour of love. Because they’ve been there more than twenty five years, the garden is ‘well established’, and friends often suggest they should open it to show the public.

My family has also kept birds in an aviary, and fish in tanks and the pond. They still keep the fish but these days prefer to feed the wild birds (magpies and cockatoos fly down for bread, the magpies come every morning and get a but noisy if anyone forgets to feed them).



Discussion 2: Pets discussion

Do you or your family or friends have pets (cats, dogs or birds)?

Describe the pets.

Describe how they are looked after.

What pleasures or burdens does having the pets involve?

Gardening styles

Many Australian gardeners started off gardening like my parents. They made an English style garden on Australian soil.

Other migrants did different things. Italians in Australia, for example, grew tomatoes, peas and other fruit and vegetables in their front gardens.

This video shows a Chinese mother in her New Zealand family’s garden. Let’s have a quick look.

(video to be played in class)

The Chinese mother in the video grows vegetables and herbs. Like the New Zealand man in the video above, I think my parents think gardens should have lawn and pretty flowers.

These days many Australians have native plants instead of English flowers (like roses). Have a look at these.

Banksia Flowers
Banksia Flower
Banksia flowers pictures. (4)
Banksia Flowers
Kangaroo Paw
Kangaroo Paw
Kangaroo Paw
Christmas Tree Flowers
Christmas Trees and Grass Trees

What do you think of them? What about these native gardens? Hao bu Ha?




Exercise Three

What kind of art do you like?

Can you describe it, and tell us about any of its artists or artworks?

How, where, and when was it made?

Why do you like it?

Again, please feel welcome to show pictures (either on our class screen, or via our wechat group)


Talking about Religious architecture

The planned repairs after fire at Notre Dame in Paris made me think about the beauty of some of the world’s religious architecture. So for the rest of this class I thought we could talk a little about Christian architecture. These kinds are common throughout the world, and can be found throughout China too.

Christian clergy

Priests: a person, usually a man, who has been trained to perform religious duties in the Christian Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Usually responsible for a parish (the members of his faith in his local area)

Vicar: a priest in the Church of England who is in charge of a church and the religious needs of people in a particular area

Bishop: a priest of high rank who is in charge of the priests of lower rank in a particular area

Monks: a member of a group of religious men who do not marry and usually live together in a monastery. Often called Brothers (as in Brother Mark, Brother Jon …)

Nuns: a member of a female religious group that lives in a convent.

Often called Sisters (as in Sister Ruth, Sister Sarah, …)

Religious buildings:

Cathedral: very large, usually stone, building for Christian worship. It is the largest and most important church of a diocese: ???????????????

Church: a building for Christian religious activities

Chapel:a room that is part of a larger building and is used for Christian worship

priory: a building where monks or nuns live, work, and pray


Monastery: building in which monks live and worship


Nunnery/Convent: a building in which nuns (= members of a female religious order) live ????


Rectory: the house in which a priest (rector) lives


Vicarage: the house in which a vicar lives


Notre Dame Cathedral.


After the fire there have been many plans for rebuilding the damaged parts of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Proposed Notre Dame Swimming Pool: Hao bu Hao?
proposed stained glass roof for Notre Dame

The building of Notre Dame began in 1163. It took about 200 years to complete. The period of construction lasted from the 12th to 14th centuries. This period is sometimes called the early middle ages, or the early medieval period.

It was  from oak, stone, and glass. Later, in the 19th century a lead covered spire was added.

Let’s have a look at some images.


it has beautiful stained glass windows in the shape of a rose
Notre Dame’s ribbed vault
Notre Dame Alter and statues of Christ and the saints

Notre Dame is an example of what we call Gothic Architecture.

The cathedral shows the influence of earlier cultures in several ways:

  • 260px-Gargoyle_Point_of_View_(3575829233)First, it is built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the Roman God Jupiter. It shares features of the earlier architecture of the Roman Empire, and of Islamic architecture.
  • Second, many of its decorative statues were designed to appeal to illiterate common people, who had pagan beliefs that were older than Christian beliefs.


  • Third, the way the structure reaches up to the sky and lets in the light reflects the way that common people used to worship nature. Pagan worshipped in a clearing in the forrest, looked up towards the sun through the tall trees. The Cathedral stone reaches up and curves inwards, encouraging worshippers to look up towards heaven,  in a space full of grace, beauty and peace (like a forrest).
Looking up through a forrest clearing

Tianjin’s St Joseph’s Cathedral





Exercise 4

  • Tell us about a religious building you know.
  • Describe it and where it is.
  • Tell us what kind of building it is it, what faith it belongs to.
  • Again, if you would like to, you can show us pictures when you talk about it.


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