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THE OLDER, THE BETTER




Text 9

Rolls Royce

Text 8

FAMILY LIFE

Text 6

In 1870, the average family had five or six children and it was a typical Victorian family. Each member of the family had its own place and chil­dren were taught to 'know their place.' The father was often strict and was obeyed by all without question. The children were taught to respect their father and always spoke politely to him calling him 'Sir.' Very few children would dare to be cheeky to their father or answer him back. When he wanted a little peace and quiet he would retire to his study and the rest of the family were not allowed to enter without his special permission. The mother would often spend her time planning dinner parties, visiting her dressmaker or calling on friends, she did not do jobs like washing clothes or cooking and cleaning. Both parents saw the upbringing of their children as an important responsibility. If a child did something wrong he would be punished for his own good. 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' was a saying Victorians firmly believed in. For poorer families their greatest fear was ending up in the workhouse, where thousands of homeless and penniless families were forced to live. If your family was taken into the workhouse you would be split up, dressed in uniform and have your hair cut short.

The family in Britain is changing. People get married at a later age and many career-oriented women don't want to have children immediately. They prefer to do well at their jobs first and put off having a baby until late thirties. In 1969, the law made it easier to get a divorce and now Britain is often called 'the divorce capital of Europe'. That means that there are more and more one-parent families.

However, marriage and the family are still popular. Most people in Britain still get married and stay together until the end of their lives. The majority of divorced people marry again, and they sometimes take responsibility for a second family. Relationships within the family are also changing. Parents treat their children more as equals than they used to. Children have more freedom and the things they are interested in reflect this: music, computers, television, the Internet, fashion, shopping and money.

As for young British people, they are keen to become independent and can't wait to move out of their parents' homes, although for some of them this may be financially impossible. Members of a family try to keep in touch, but they see less of each other than they used to. This is because people often move away from their home town to a different part of the coun­try to find a job, which makes it more difficult for them to be in regular contact with their par­ents. That's why Christmas is so important in Britain. It's the traditional season for reunions and relatives often travel many miles in order to spend the holiday together.



 

 

Answer the questions:

 

1. How many children were there in a typical Victorian family?

2. Why is Britain called 'the divorce capital of Europe'?

 

Choose the right answer to the question:

Why do young British people leave their parent’s homes?

a) their parents are too strict with them

b) they want to be independent

c) they want to live and work in different part of the country


Text 7

OXBRIDGE

Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest and most prestigious universities in Britain. Known together as 'Oxbridge' (the word was invented by Lewis Carroll, the author of 'Alice in Wonderland' and a lecturer in mathematics at Oxford), they have been chosen as national icons. Of the two universities Oxford is the oldest. Nobody knows for sure when it was founded but teaching was already going on there by the early 12th century. Life was hard at Oxford at that time because there was constant trouble, even fighting, between the townspeople and the students. Then one day a student accidentally killed a man of the town. The Mayor arrested three other students who were innocent, and by order of King John they were hanged. In protest, many students and teachers left Oxford and settled in another little town, and so the University of Cambridge was born.

Since then there has been constant friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge. In the early centuries, Oxford and Cambridge were the only universities in the country - if you wanted a uni­versity education, that's where you went. But in those days student life was very different from what it is now. Students were not allowed to play games, to sing or to dance and all the lessons were in Latin. Until the late 19th century, only men were allowed to be students at the two universities.

Both Oxford and Cambridge students refer to each other as 'the other place'. Oxonians sometimes call Cambridge 'a pale imitation of the real thing'. (Cambridge's colours are light blue). Cantabrigians (people of Cambridge) refer to Oxford as 'the dark side' (Oxford's colours are dark blue).

Oxbridge is made up of independent colleges. The 'University' is just an administrative body that organises lectures, arranges exams, gives degrees, etc. Today, there are 70 colleges at Oxbridge, and each college has its name, its coat of arms and its own buildings, including a chapel, a library, a dining hall and rooms for students to live in. Each college has its own character and its own traditions. Students go to lectures that are arranged by the University and are open to all students. The normal length of the degree course is three years, after which the students take the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Some courses, such as medicine or languages, may be one or two years longer. The students may work for other degrees as well.

Oxbridge has 35,000 students from the UK and all over the world. Oxbridge graduates often become powerful and suc­cessful members in British society, and many leading people in professions such as the law and politics have traditionally been 'Oxbridge-educated'.

Sport is a very important part of Oxbridge life. Colleges within each university often compete with each other in various tournaments. The most famous competition between the two universities is the Boat Race, a rowing race which takes place every year on the River Thames. It's a popular national event and is shown on television.

 

Answer the questions:

1. Who invented the word 'Oxbridge'?

2. Could women study at universities in the 19th century?

 

Choose the right answer to the question:

What is the name of the most famous competition between the two universities?

a) chess tournament

b) basketball

c) a rowing race


 

After Henry Royce's father died in 1872, the boy worked as a newspaper seller and telegram delivery boy. In 1884, Frederick Henry Royce started an electrical and mechanical business. He made his first car, a "Royce", in his Manchester factory in 1904. He was introduced to Charles Stewart Rolls at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on May 4 of that year, and the pair agreed to a deal where Royce would manufacture cars, to be sold exclusively by Rolls. A clause was added to the contract stipulating the cars would be called "Rolls-Royce". So, the most luxurious classic car in the world was born more than 100 years ago. It was the brainchild of engineer Henry Royce and car trader Charles Rolls. When they founded the Rolls Royce Company, their aim was nothing less than to make 'the best car in the world. Two years later, 'the best car' was produced. It was the famous 40/50, which was nicknamed the 'Silver Ghost' because of its quietness and smoothness. A journalist of the time wrote that the car had 'the feeling of being wafted through the countryside.' Since then the company's engineers use the term 'waftability.' Some models of the original Silver Ghost cars is still run­ning, however, and even today, their engines barely make a sound.

Almost 8,000 Silver Ghosts were made before produc­tion finally stopped in 1925. The Silver Spirit, introduced by Rolls-Royce in 1980, was the first of a new generation of models for the company.

In 1933, the colour of the Rolls-Royce radiator monogram was changed from red to black because the red sometimes clashed with the coachwork colour selected by clients, and not as a mark of respect for the passing of Royce as is commonly stated. During World War II the Rolls Royce Company produced engines for fighter planes, in particular, the famous “Merlin” engine used to power the “Spitfire” aircraft.

John Lennon's Rolls Royce (he had a Phantom V) was black, but John soon became bored with this. He had the car repainted in a psychedelic style. After Lennon's death, the car was sold for $2,299,000.

New generations of Rollers became more and more luxurious and had all sorts of luxury things - from cocktail cabinets to picnic tables. Individual buyers could have the car's equipment changed according to their needs. Of course, only a few people can afford such large, expensive cars -members of the Royal Family and other heads of state, millionaires and very rich celebrities. In 1998, the Rolls Royce Company was bought by the German company Volkswagen. These days, Rolls-Royce models look more like ordinary cars - instead of five-star hotel rooms on wheels. The small metal statue on the radiator cap at the front of every Rolls Royce is a work of art in its own right. It's called the 'Spirit of Ecstasy'. The name Rolls Royce is often used to describe something very good and expensive: for example, the Rolls Royce of electric guitars costs $ 5,000.

 

Answer the questions:

1. Who founded the Rolls Royce Company?

2. Why did John Lennon have the car repainted?

 

Choose the right answer to the question:

Why did the first luxurious classic car have the name the 'Silver Ghost'?

a) it was very beautiful

b) it ran very quietly and smoothly

c) the production of the car was limited


 

The typical British person thinks that the older an object is, the better. He or she loves everything that reminds him of Ye Olde England - houses, furniture, pic­tures, china, etc. Old things have their own charm, uniqueness, their own character. They are also worth more money! No wonder that often an old "character" house costs much more than a new house of the same size. Seems strange to a Russian, doesn't it?

In Britain, where everything that is 30 or more years old is considered "antique", antique shops and markets are very popular. The cheapest places to buy antiques are chari­ty shops. They can be found everywhere. Charity shops are usually run by volunteers in support of different charities, like the British Red Cross or British Heart Foundation. People give their old unwanted possessions to charity shops for free: books, clothes, pic­tures, handbags, toys, small pieces of fur­niture. Other people can buy them at a very low price from the charity shop. Often in these shops you can buy some­thing interesting, for example, a funny brass container with a long handle. In the past, when most bedrooms in Britain had no heating, people used to put hot coal in such containers to warm the linen before going to bed

Many antique shops are located in tourist villages or towns. They can be a tiny jewellery or minia­ture toy shop, owned by some old lady or gen­tleman. Or it can be a huge enterprise, a real "Snooper's paradise" (the name of a famous antique shop in Brighton). Such places are like a museum, where you can feel the real atmosphere of the past and spend a lot of time looking at all kind of curiosities: old-fash­ioned costumes and hats, brooches, vases, glasses, silver spoons and forks, mirrors in pretentious frames. Prices in such antique shops vary from comparatively low to rather high.

Outdoor antique markets are also very common in Britain. The simplest of them are the so-called "boot fairs", or actually, flee markets, that are regularly organized by local people in farmers' fields.

At boot fairs and small street antique markets people sometimes sell and buy very strange things like single old but­tons and earrings, pieces of old lace, old lamps and sewing machines, etc. It seems that both parties, sellers and customers, enjoy the process much more than a financial result.

But at big street markets like on Portobello Road in London one can buy something really original and quite valuable.

British people like visiting antique fairs. Hunting for old and valuable curiosities is a kind of national sport. Auctions, offering all sorts of inexpensive, expensive and very expensive antiques are also very popular.

For a foreigner, the most surprising are special outdoor sessions, organized by experts in antiques in different, sometimes very distant parts of Britain. These sessions, regularly shown on TV, are very popular. Indeed, it is a great fun to see happy faces of people, who suddenly realized the real and sometimes unexpectedly high market price of some old piece of china that had been stored in a dark corner for years!

 

Answer the questions:

1. What can you buy in charity shops?

2. Do prices in antique shops are always high?

 

Choose the right answer to the question:

Where can you find outdoor antique markets?

a) in charity shops

b) on Portobello Road in London c) on farmers' fields.





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