This time I’ll take advantage of the situation (my visit to my friend David Wright) and tell you about what is going on here, in Runcorn in Adderley Close. David usually reads a lot and his interests range from (attention, biology and language students!) ‘The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin, and, to continue the topic ‘The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved’ by Robbins Burling, to ‘How to Become a Lover of Latin’ by Harry Mount. He is still a regular reader of ‘Time’ and ‘The Spectator’ magazines. The latter, I must admit, he reads without needing to refer1 to a dictionary which is not easy for readers who are less well educated. Using his computer to surf the Internet is another of his hobbies and all David’s friends and relatives can confirm that they receive articles, jokes and pictures from him on a daily basis2. Sometimes he listens to old favourites like ‘The Best of Bernard Cribbins’ (his most famous song is ‘Right Said Fred’). This performer is known mostly by the older generation in England (as David said, it is typically English humour).
Надежда Никифоровна Рогожина, проректор по международным программам, зав. кафедрой лингвистики и межъязыковой коммуникации Самарского муниципального университета Наяновой, кандидат педагогических наук, доцент.
Директор негосударственного учреждения дополнительного образования “World Class-Samara”.
TV is not one of David’s favourite pastimes and he watches it very rarely with some exceptions like QI (do not confuse this with IQ!) – a comedy panel game3 hosted by the comedian Stephen Fry (Jeeves in the ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ series).
Unlike David, I am an avid admirer4 of British TV and watched it a lot. I tried not to miss the talk shows like ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’, ‘Trisha Goddard’ and ‘Richard and Judy’. I find such programmes very useful for (no, no, not for housewives) teachers of English on their summer holidays!
I was also delighted to watch the coverage of the first night of the 113th season of the Proms5 (it was on Friday the 13th!) at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The programme included cellist Paul Watkins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under its chief conductor Jiri Belohlavek, marking the 150th anniversary of Elgar’s birth by performing the composer’s Cello Concerto.
There were also absolutely lovely programmes like ‘British Made’ which showed symbols of Britishness (not so numerous now, unfortunately) like the black cabs (London taxis), the red pillar-boxes (post boxes), the red telephone boxes (very rare now) and red double-decker buses (still a tourist attraction).
There were also several programmes on BBC1 dedicated to auctions and bargaining6, such as ‘Bargain Hunt’ and ‘Cash in the Attic’. I remember from my previous visits how amazed I was by the love for old things and antiquities demonstrated by the people. No wonder the greatest auctions in the world are English (eg Sotheby’s). The culture of auctions is ingrained7 from childhood – I noticed children amongst the public present – and the auctioneers themselves are an attraction for visitors!
Another British feature is flower shows – the most famous is in Chelsea, but that is not the only one. Each district may boast its own flower or village show, where people can compete in showing their flowers or crops (such as the biggest pumpkin) and most delicious home-made cake or jam. Those shows could not be stopped even by unfavourable weather to put it mildly8!
Rain and floods were rather frequent these days, but David and I managed to visit North Wales during one of the sunny spells9. It was a nice trip to the country with strange and difficult place names (try ‘Llangollen’, ‘Llandudno’, ‘Llanberis’ or ‘Llanrwst’). There were some picturesque lakes too. We made a stop on the way for a ‘cuppa tea’ and an ice cream. We have stolen that bright day with the help of the forecast10 (sometimes they are right!) and this only proves my favourite English proverb which I like to repeat from time to time ‘After rain comes sunny weather’. (Literally!)
1 to refer – обращаться 2 on a daily basis – каждый день 3 panel game – радио- или телевикторина 4 avid admirer – ярый поклонник 5 (BBC) Proms – ежегодный фестиваль классической музыки в Великобритании 6 bargaining – торги 7 to ingrain – прививать 8 to put it mildly – мягко говоря 9 spell – промежуток времени 10 forecast – прогноз