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School English
  • Switching the Channels
  • Promising Children a Future
  • Generation Y. Why?
  • A European Holiday
  • British Common Sense
  • New Chapter: Becky
  • French Exchange
  • Meet the Wrights
  • Weekly Moan
  • The Old and The New - 2
  • Oxford
  • Animal Welfare in the UK
  • Remembrance Day
  • Unwelcome Visitors
  • A Day at the Churnet Valley Railway
  • Political Correctness
  • A Wonderful Trip to New York City
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Richmond
  • Just do it!
  • Chapayevsk's Urban Legend
  • A Good Samaritan
  • Happy Birthday, Mr. King!
  • British poetry today
  • The Old Badger (2)
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    anglosphere / UK
    Oxford
    Oxford Oxford is one of the few English cities foreign people have heard of apart from London. Manchester is usually greeted with a vague look and sometimes a comment about football, but the word Oxford is recognised by almost everyone, and immediately linked to its main institution – Oxford University.


    Animal Welfare in the UK
    Animal Welfare in the UK It has been said that the English are a nation of animal lovers. In support of that idea, attention is drawn to the many laws and organisations which exist here to protect animals. However, one could equally well argue that there would be no need for such laws and organisations if we all cared so much about animal welfare! We often seem to make illogical and arbitrary decisions about which animals we like and which are viewed less favourably.


    Remembrance Day
    London in 1941 As a family we were lucky that my father was too young for military service in WWI and too old for WWII. He was in the Home Guard and his rifle (when he eventually got one – most were lost at Dunkirk) stood in the corner of the kitchen. I was under strict orders not to touch it although I doubt whether it was ever loaded! He worked all day in the City and then spent nights sitting on the roofs of tall office buildings ‘fire watching’. Without mobile (or any other) phones, when a fire was seen somebody from the team had to run to tell the Fire Brigade. For some months, there were fires all over the place, so the exercise was rather useless, but the government tried to make everyone feel involved and to share at least some part of the sacrifice.


    Unwelcome Visitors
    Stone marten on a stone post I have written before about two of my very best and oldest friends who live in the Netherlands. They are George and his wife, Truus. They live in the south of the country in the province of Limburg. The Duchy of Limburg existed before the formation of the modern Netherlands and overlapped into what is now Belgium and Luxembourg. Netherlands, which literally means ‘Low Lands’ because much of the country, especially in the north, lies below sea level and is protected from flooding by the famous system of sea defences known as dykes.


    A Day at the Churnet Valley Railway
    For various reasons, it had been many years since I was last able to visit 'my' railway. So it was with great enthusiasm that I looked forward to the August Bank Holiday Saturday, when a long-delayed trip was planned. Despite an inauspiciously grey-clouded start to the journey from Runcorn, the weather improved markedly as we approached Staffordshire, a county in the middle of England with some of its most beautiful countryside.



    HMS Victory
    I hope you don’t mind if I return to a subject that has already been mentioned at least twice before in ‘School English’. It is a topic that is dear to the heart of all true Englishmen!



    Her Majesty (2)
    Happy and Glorious
    Since her accession, Queen Elizabeth II has had to respond to many situations unimaginable half-a-century ago. Faced with messy divorces, revision of protocol and harsh criticism from her once-admiring press and public, Her Majesty has called upon her years of professionalism to help her through.



    The British National Health Service (3)
    'NHS Direct’offers confidential health advice and information over the phone, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The lines are staffed by nurses and professional advisors. Anyone at any time might need emergency or urgent care and they need to be sure that they are routedswiftly to the right place for the right treatment.



    The British National Health Service (2)
    Primary care: The first point of contact most people have with the NHS is with their local family GP or with dentists, pharmacists and opticians. This offers treatment of routine injuries and illnesses as well as preventive care, such as helping people stop smoking, encouraging them to take more exercise and eat more balanced and healthy diet. In the past, GPs were paid by the number of people registered with them, but now attempts are being made to reward practices for the quality of care given rather than the quantity of patients on their books.


    Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot
    In 1605, Guy Fawkes and a group of conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603 and English Roman Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, who had a Roman Catholic mother, would be more tolerant of their religion.



    The System of Education in Great Britain (2)
    System of Education Primary schools
    As I have already mentioned, in England, children start school when they are 5 years old. Sometimes, children start just before their 5th birthday. This is earlier than in Russia and indeed most other countries, where children start school when they are 6 or 7.


    The Scottish Parliament
    On 12 May 1999, the new Scottish Parliament met in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh. The parliament elected Sir David Steel as its Presiding Officer (or Speaker). In his opening speech, Sir David made a direct connection between the new Scottish Parliament and the last Parliament to meet in the Scottish capital in 1707. In that year, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and the English Parliament in London voted for the Act of Union. The Act united Scotland, England (and Wales) to form a new state: the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Scotland retained its own church, education and legal systems, but ceased to exist as an independent state. From 1707 until 1999, all important decisions about Scotland were taken by the British parliament and government in London.



    Ely
    I have already written about my visits to two of England’s famous old cities, Durham and Lincoln. Now I would like to give you an account of my trip to another old cathedral city which lies in the south-east of the country in the county of Cambridgeshire in the region known as East Anglia. As the regional name suggests, this was the area nearest to present-day Germany whence came the ancient invaders, the Angles. You may have heard their name linked with another Germanic tribe who were also successful invaders who originated in Saxony, the pair being known collectively as the Anglo-Saxons.



    Northern Convoys (2)
    In the year 2005, we expect instant news – reports of events in real time. This is especially true for reports of wars and terrorist or other disasters. There often seem to be more TV crews at the scene than there are soldiers or police, all falling over each other to be the first to bring the news to our radios and screens.


    Northern Convoys
    In the year 2005, we expect instant news – reports of events in real time. This is especially true for reports of wars and terrorist or other disasters. There often seem to be more TV crews at the scene than there are soldiers or police, all falling over each other to be the first to bring the news to our radios and screens.


    The North We Don’t Know
    I thought three connecting flights, from Samara to Manchester, one after the other on one day would be too much, too risky and too tiring...
    They were not really. In fact, when the surprisingly smart Aeroflot airbus landed in London Heathrow and I passed through all the formalities of crossing the border I didn’t even realize how long I had been travelling.



    London Marathon
    It’s the beginning of April and London is preparing, as it does this time every year, for thousands of runners to descend on the city and pound its streets for 42 gruelling kilometres or just over 26 miles according to British measurement. The London marathon is one of the most prestigious


    Foreign languages in the UK
    Our reader from Penza asks: Which foreign languages do the British study in universities and schools and how widespread is the study of the Russian language?
    The British tend to have a poor reputation for learning foreign languages and many people are very lazy in this respect. This is the result of the expectation that most people abroad will speak English, so why bother learning another language?


    Football
    Football There are two major football teams in Manchester, Manchester City and Manchester United and the rivalry between the two teams in the city is huge. I chose from a very early age to follow Manchester United for the simple reason that I liked the colour red and I am very happy with the choice I made, as United is one of the most successful teams in the history of the English league whereas City has won nothing for the last thirty years (something which all United fans are very happy about!).


    Manchester
    For most people Manchester is a city that conjures up many exciting images the birthplace of the Industrial revolution and the worlds first passenger railway station a thriving social and music scene and a world famous football team Manchester has a rich history and is today a captivating multicultural metropolis.



    Bad Reputation of the British Diet
    Some Russians think that the main food of an Englishman is porridge. What do the British eat, in fact?

    The British diet has a bad reputation. It seemed that in stark contrast to our close European neighbours we were indifferent to what we ate. The French famous throughout the world for their excellent cuisine, the Germans with their smoked meats and hams, the Italians with their herbs and olive oil.


    1066 A year of deceit, despair and death
    The trouble started on the 5th of January 1066 when King Edward died at the age of 61, childless and leaving no sure evidence of whom the next heir was to be. This caused all the trouble.



    Food in History of Britain
    Food in History of Britain Some Russians think that the main food of an Englishman is porridge. What do the British eat, in fact? Can you give the typical menu of the British (English, Scottish, Irish)?
    At one time, English food did not vary greatly, except between classes. By this I mean that people of a certain class tended to eat similar things, but their food would be very different from that of another class.


    An Englishman's Home
    It is often said that an Englishman’s home is his castle, but (sadly) this is no longer the case, even if it ever once was. Today, numerous petty officials have the legal right to enter one’s home. Nevertheless, the home occupies a singular place in the heart and mind of most Englishmen. Many arguments have broken out between otherwise peaceful neighbours over territorial disputes relating to such matters as boundaries, noise, views, overhanging branches or underground roots, privacy, etc.


    Punishments
    Tell us, please, about the system of corporal punishment which existed in Great Britain in the past.

    o As with most countries in the world, the punishments enforced in the past seem brutal by our standards. Many of them were simply cruel, but generally just reflecting the mores of the age.


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