09.11.2017 |

Episode #10 of the course English idioms (B2) by Kasia Sielicka, PhD


“Washing up hundreds of dishes?” panicked Susan. “It’s a tough nut to crack.”

“Especially for you,” admitted Alice. “You’ve really never washed dishes before? You’ve been thrown in at the deep end!”

“I know, I know,” agreed Susan. “Well, can I pick your brain? It seems you’re an old hand at dishwashing.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment, I guess” replied Alice, not sure if she should be flattered or offended. “You take a plate into your hand, rinse it with water, wipe it with the sponge with detergent, rinse again, and put aside to dry. Piece of cake! After you wash your first hundred, it will become second nature to you.”

Susan took one plate into her hand. It seemed easy enough. She rinsed it with water—child’s play, indeed! Encouraged by her success, she bravely took the sponge, added the detergent, wiped the plate with it, and…SMASH!

No one had told her that a plate covered with detergent would become slippery! The plate dropped onto the floor and shattered into pieces!

Easier said than done,” said Susan, close to tears.

And then the door opened, and there stood Richard’s brother, James. Susan had seen him only for a second before and shouted about how bald he was…Oh my…

“I can see, ladies, an uphill struggle ahead of you,” he said, smiling.

“Well, life exactly isn’t a bed of roses,” said Alice, annoyed by the sarcasm. “And what are you doing here?”

“Well, it happens to be my ship, and you are destroying it,” he answered, smiling. “Let me help, young lady.”

He went toward Susan and helped her pick up the pieces of the broken plate. Their hands touched. Their eyes met. They smiled.

“Or…” thought Alice. “Maybe life is a bed of roses after all…”


Idioms Explained

A tough nut to crack is a problem or situation that is difficult to understand or deal with.

When you are thrown in at the deep end, you have to deal with something difficult without being prepared first.

When you pick someone’s brain, you ask them questions because you want information or knowledge.

If you’re an old hand at something, you’re good at it because you’ve been doing it for a long time.

A piece of cake is something very easy.

When some actions are second nature to you, you do them automatically because they seem natural.

Something that is child’s play can be done very easily.

“Easier said than done” is used to say that something is a good idea but hard to do.

An uphill struggle is something difficult to do.

Something that isn’t a bed of roses is not always good and easy.



This is the end of the course! I hope you have enjoyed the story and had fun!

Don’t forget you’ve learned 100 English idioms. You can now check how much you remember in the quiz!


Recommended book

The Farlex Idioms and Slang Dictionary by Farlex International


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