The quiet community of boutique wineries and upmarket guesthouses of Lovedale in Australia’s Hunter Valley has been gripped by mysterious goings-on in its olive groves at night.
Around eight tonnes of olives disappeared without a trace from hundreds of trees on five properties in the popular tourist destination virtually overnight last month, residents said.
The first Quentin von Essen heard about it was when a neighbor telephoned to say that when pickers turned up to strip his 120 trees, they found them bare of olives.
“We promptly went and checked our larger grove of 400 trees around a boutique guest house,” von Essen said. “All except two, which had a spotlight on them, had been stripped of their olives.”
What made the disappearance particularly strange was its thoroughness.
“It takes six people about three days to pick our groves, and we don’t bother with the top of some of the higher trees, but these guys stripped the trees from top to bottom and they even took the olives off the ground.
“That I really just don’t understand — I find it incredibly bizarre, it’s like they just vacuumed them off the trees and vacuumed them off the ground at night,” he said.
Ruling out birds, bats and any other creature — “no droppings, you’d need a helluva lot of them and why would they leave two trees” — von Essen describes the event as “a bit extraterrestrial.”
Pressed for the most likely explanation, von Essen said he guesses that it was a “very, very large team” of thieves.
“The police were called, came and looked and scratched their heads and are on the case and taking it seriously,” von Essen said.
1. grove n.
果園 (guo3 yuan2)
例: There are many apple groves in New York.
2. virtually adv.
差不多 (cha1 bu4 duo1)，事實上 (shi4 shi2 shang4)
例: The enemy was virtually wiped out in last night's battle.
3. thoroughness n.
徹底 (che4 di3)
例: The team was praised for their thoroughness.
4. vacuum v.i./v.t.
吸塵 (xi1 chen2)
例: I'm going to vacuum the house then go to dinner.
1. The olives were...
a. taken in a short period of time.
b. taken over the past couple months.
c. taken in less than a minute.
2. ___ had olives stolen.
a. One farmer
b. More than one farmer
c. One hundred farmers
3. What wasn't present at the scene?
a. A large amount of animal defecation.
b. Olive trees.
c. A spotlight.
4. According to von Essen, the police...
a. had some good theories about what happened.
b. were trying to obstruct the investigation.
c. seemed to be a bit dumbfounded by the event.
Helluva is a contraction of hell of a. The contraction and the phrase are both used to intensify one's meaning. For example, “One million dollars! That's a helluva lot of money,” or “A hell of a lot of insurance money will have to be given out after the 20-car pile-up last night.”
Another common contraction is ain't, which means am not or is not. Many grammarians feel ain't is an especially repugnant word. For example, “Pa says I gotta start talkin' like a scholar if I'm gonna go to college, but I ain't changin' my ways.”
「helluva」是「hell of a」的縮寫，兩者都是用來強調某人的語氣。例如：「一百萬元！那是一筆非常大的數目」或「昨晚二十輛汽車連環車禍之後，保險公司將得支付非常可觀的理賠金」。
另一個常見的縮寫是「ain’t」，就是「am not」或「is not」的意思。�?慦k學者都特別不喜歡「ain’t」這個用法。例如：「老爸說如果我要念大學，我講話得開始有點文化氣質了，但我是不會改變自己的」。
Colleen: What are you so upset about?
May: Jeff still isn’t talking to me. I don’t know how much longer I can handle this.
Colleen: Why don’t you try offering him an olive branch.
May: Like what?
Colleen: Make dinner for him. That’ll show that you still care about him. Besides, you know how much he likes to eat.
offer an olive branch 釋出善意
To offer an olive branch is to make a gesture that shows you want to end an argument. For example, “Leonard offered an olive branch by planting new flowers in the garden.”
「offer an olive branch」的意思就是釋出想結束爭執的善意，例如：「里奧納在花園裡種新花，以釋出善意」。
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