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    anglosphere /

    Газета School English #01-02, 2004

    My visit to Great Britain

    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”.
        Dear Reader,

        Today when we have seen off the old year many people are looking back to see what was good (or bad) in the past. Usually good things are most likely to be recollected and we are going to speak about signs of the past preserved in our mind, that is memories, or some memorable things which are sentimental proofs of something very dear to us.

        Everyone has memories which are cherished and often are returned to, so have I.

        One of them is my visit (or rather visits) to Great Britain. I remember very well my first visit which was kind of a cultural shock to me for I was brought up on stereotypes like London Fogs, reserved Englishmen etc. What struck me most of all were ... flowers. They were everywhere!

        And the most friendly family, the Armins, with whom I stayed in Cambridge during my course of studies in the Academy of English. I particularly remember our talks with Mary, the landlady, the former Chief Librarian of Cambridge university, when we were sitting on their patio and sipping red wine. By the way that was the only stereotype based on the classical English literature which proved to be true (women in England like to have a drink!) We were talking about the British, the peoples inhabiting UK, and the relationship between them, about the history of Great Britain. She was born in a family of an Irishman and a Scottish woman, (“these bloods never mix, that’s why I am so depressed sometimes”), about her Gaelic ancestors and the language. She showed me the photos in the family album and that was history of a family and country at the same time.

        I remember BBC TV programmes which were marvellous! One of them was about family relics which are in every family. The people came to the TV studio with their family relics and behind each of them there were fascinating stories. What amazed me most of all was that there were a lot of children, too, who could tell stories about their grandparents’ toys!

        Another very bright memory is connected with the Country Gardens which are plentiful in England. There are old mansions with big estates and gardens around. One has to see them! One of them (Speke Hall) was out of the popular foreign tourists paths and I was one of the very few Russians who visited it. I was there with my friend and it was a bright, sunny day. It was early spring and the road to that estate was lined with daffodils. The sight was gorgeous!

        The guide, an elderly lady, was fantastic! She had grey hair and a very friendly smile. I asked permission to take her picture but unfortunately it did not develop. The lady told us about the history of the house which was built in Tudor times and there I learnt the origin of the word “eavesdropping”. You know the proverb that an Englishman’s home is his castle. So every house at that time was a castle and there were special holes in the walls to watch the surroundings and warn the dwellers of coming danger. Those holes were also used to overhear what was going on around or in the house (for those standing under eaves, parts of a building overhanging the roof).Those were words that dropped. When something was wrong, special stones, placed in the holes were dropped: thus the people living in that house were warned by that sound.

        And last but not least are the reminiscences of Chester, the most Roman city of all British cities.

        The word “chester” means “a camp” and thus we can trace the presence of the Roman camps in the names of many British cities: Chichester, Rochester, Manchester etc. There is a wonderful cathedral in Chester and a Roman wall surrounding the city. I remember a cup of coffee in an inn ”Bear and Billet” (built in 1584!), our walk in rainy weather (England!) along the river Dee and my British friends who were trying to recollect a nursery rhyme heard in their childhood. Strange as it may seem but this episode is also mentioned in the prologue of his new book by Mr David Wright “Tales from the English Garden”. One of the chapters of the book is presented next to this column.



    As for small things connected with this or that event, I keep them in a special cabinet, behind glass, and this is a topic for a separate column.

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    School English #6, 2011




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