If you want to form a correct opinion of the English character, you must
not confine your observations to the metropolis. You must go forth into
the country, you must sojourn in villages and hamlets; you must visit
castles, farm-houses, cottages; you must wander through parks and
gardens, along hedges and green lanes and see the people in all their
conditions, and all their habits and humors.
PUBS AND CLUBS
паше — ‘The Pig and Whistle’ or ‘The Elephant and Castle’ — with a gay
painting depicting the name. There is a good deal of folklore behind the
names which pubs bear. A pub near Ambleside is called ‘The Drunken Duck’
for a very strange reason. One day the ducks of this hostelry (which was
also a farm) drank some spirit which had leaked from a barrel. Where
upon they fell into a stupor. The good wife, thinking them dead, plucked
them, and was about to cook them when she observed signs of life — one
of the plucked birds was wandering drunkenly round the yard.
Most pubs, besides beer, sell all kinds of alcohol, from whisky to wine.
Many of them also offer light meals. Normally pubs are divided into at
least two separate bars — the public and the saloon bar, which is more
comfortable and slightly more expensive. ‘Bar’ also means the counter at
which the drinks are served Beer and cider, a drink made from apples, is
always sold in pint or half-pint glasses. A pint is equivalent to 0.57
litre. Pubs have not ‘gone metric’ yet.
No alcoholic drinks may be served to young people under eighteen, and no
children under sixteen are allowed inside the bar.
Most pubs favour the ‘traditional’ image — a roaring log fire, old oak
beams supporting a low ceiling, and brass ornaments on the walls. At
Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, one of the authors of this book had an
opportunity to see a brass plaque on the wall inside ‘Grace Neill’s
Bar’. The plaque contained the names of dignitaries (for instance,
Jonathan Swift), who stayed in this seaside resort’s famous bar. Among
them was the name of Peter the Great, who supposedly had visited the
place in 1698 when he was in Britain studying shipbuilding. Another
legend of Peter I is associated with another Irish town, Portpatrick. It
is said he stayed there in ‘The Blair Arms’ and the room he occupied is
still called the Emperor’s Room. These touching legends are cherished
wholeheartedly both by the pub owners and the inhabitants of the two
corresponding towns. Despite the fact, that Peter the Great might have
never crossed the Irish Sea for a mere pint of bitter. For there was no
large-scale shipbuilding in Ireland that time.
Comfort is essential, for here people do not drop in for a quick drink
and then go. They tend generally to ‘make an evening of it’ and stand or
sit, glass in hand, talking to friends or strangers, until closing time,
when, with a cry of ‘Time, gentlemen, please!’ the landlord ceases to
serve further drinks, and the assembled company gradually disperses into
the inhospitable night. This is usually at half past ten in the evening.
In the bar of every English pub there is a dart-board, and on most
evenings one may find the game of darts being played. It is a game in
which feathered arrows, called darts, are thrown at a board with
numbered divisions on it. Many pubs have a darts team which plays
matches against teams from other pubs. Darts matches are now so popular
that they are shown on TV.
Clubs are another unchallenged English invention. The point of a club is
not who it lets in, but who it keeps out; and few things can provoke
more anger, than the non-membership of an English club. The club is
based on two ancient British ideas — the segregation of classes, and the
segregation of sexes: and they remain insistent on keeping people out,
long after they have stopped wanting to come in. Viewed from the
outside, the clubs have an air of infinite mystery.
What does the influence of clubs amount to? Like most things in Britain,
they are not what they seem: in the first place, many of them are very
unsociable. Clubs can be firmly divided into those where you are
expected to talk to your neighbour and those where you are not. The big
anonymous clubs favoured by the civil service — ‘The Oxford and
Cambridge’, ‘United University’, or The Union’ — are places to get away
from people, not to meet them. They have book-rests on the lunch-tables
where members can devour cold pie and The Times undisturbed.
After the war the London clubs, like so many institutions, seemed on the
verge of collapse: the tables were half empty, the entrance fees were
high, it was hard to find staffs to maintain them. But as prosperity
returned and expense-accounts mounted, so clubland came back into its
own: businessmen, solicitors, advertising men, salesmen, all found clubs
an ideal field for operation. The Conservative party has always been
bound up with a small group of clubs. The Whitehall bureaucracies all
have clublike ideas of corporate solidarity, and the London clubs are
themselves an intrinsic part of the life of Whitehall.
LEISURE AND SPORTS
Attitudes for leisure have been much influenced by the modern love of
moving around and by the ease of travel.
Britain is the only country in Europe, except Malta, where driving is on
the left. There are 2,500 km of motorway (mostly six lanes) and over
2,500 km of dual carriageway (divided high-way). Since Britain has the
highest density of traffic in the world, traffic jams during rush hours
and at holiday times are fairly common.
Britain is also the only country in the Common Market whose employers
are not forced by law to give their workers paid holidays. However, many
employers have written agreements with their workers giving them three
or four weeks’ holiday a year — not counting the eight days of national
It was the British who started the fashion for seaside holidays — not
surprisingly, since nobody in Britain lives more than one hundred and
twenty kilometers from the sea. The coast is the most popular objective
of English people for their annual holiday. Few English people rent
houses or flats for their holidays, but one of the traditional ways of
spending a summer holiday is in a boarding-house, which may have a card
in its window advertising ‘apartments’, or ‘bed and breakfast’.
Camping holidays in the proper sense of the word, with tents, are not so
developed in England as on the continent. The summer weather too often
can be very unpleasant for tent-dwellers. On the other hand, caravans
have become exceedingly popular. Some people bring their own caravans,
pulling them behind their cars; others hire caravans, already in
The British people may be conservative about the times at which they
take their holiday, but they have shown themselves very ready to take to
new places. Each year more English people become familiar with some part
of continental Europe. Many take their cars, often with tents and
caravans, crossing the Channel in ferries; others use the travel agents’
scheme for group travel and hotel booking, some of them, regrettably,
being taken to hotels which have been trained to provide English food.
When they get home again they talk endlessly of these things, boasting
of their bargains and complaining of what they were asked to pay for
cups of tea.
There are holiday camps all round the coast of Great Britain. They are
ideal places for people who do not want the effort of looking for
entertainment. Trained staff look after the children so that the
parents can have time off to enjoy themselves.
There are youth hostels in different, parts of Britain. It is possible
to arrange a walking or cycling tour, moving from hostel to hostel.
Britain has a number of preservation societies, large and small, and the
most important is the National Trust, founded in 1895. The purpose of
the organization is to preserve historic buildings and places of natural
beauty in Britain. The Trust owns large areas of beautiful scenery all
over Britain. Its property includes ancient castles, bird sanctuaries
(places where people are not allowed to shoot birds or take eggs from
nests), birthplaces and homes of famous people, and fine examples of the
architecture of different periods.
Many of the districts are declared National Parks. The land is in
private ownership but building is strictly controlled. Owners are
encouraged to let visitors walk on their land.
The English are great lovers of competitive sports. The game peculiarly
associated with England is cricket. Many other games too are English in
origin, but have been adopted with enthusiasm in other countries, but
cricket has been seriously and extensively adopted only in the
Commonwealth countries, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, India,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies.
First class professional cricket clubs represent counties and play
three-day matches against each other. Organized amateur cricket is
played between club teams, mainly on Saturday afternoons. As in soccer,
there are numerous amateur clubs and school teams, though the game is
making no progress in popularity.
For the great mass of the British public the eight months of the
football season are more important than the four months of cricket.
Football is the most popular team game in Britain. The British invented
it and it has spread to every corner of the world. There are plenty of
amateur association football (or ‘soccer’) clubs, but professional
football is big business. Every large town has at least one professional
football club. The players are bought and sold between the clubs, and
‘transfer fees’ can be equivalent to dozens of thousands of pounds.
There is no British team. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
compete separately in European and World Cup matches. The English and
Welsh clubs have together formed a League with four divisions. The
Scottish League has two divisons. The champions of the English First
Divison, and the Scottish Premier Divison qualify to play in the
European Cup competition.
Recently there has been violent behavior on the part of some football
supporters, which has earned British football a bad reputation both at
home and abroad. Suffice it to say that as a result of violent behavior
of the British football hooligans in 1985 alone about one hundred people
died, fifty-five at Bradford and thirty-nine at Brussels.
Rugby football, or ‘rugger’, is played with an egg-shaped ball, which
may be carried and thrown (but not forward). If a player is carrying the
ball he may be ‘tackled’ and made to fall down. Each team has fifteen
players, who spend much time lying in the mud or on top of each other
and become very dirty.
There are two forms of Rugby — Rugby Union, which is strictly amateur,
and Rugby League, which is a professional sport. Rugby Union is played
throughout the British Isles. There is an international championship
between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France. Rugby has become
the national game of Wales, New Zealand, South Africa and the Pacific
islands of Fiji and Tonga.
Rugby got its name from the English public school, Rugby, where, about a
century ago, a boy picked up a soccer ball and ran with it.
Next to Association Football, the chief spectator sport in English life
is horse racing. Partly because of the laws, which forbid such
activities on Sunday, most horse racing takes place on working days and
during working hours.
One of the famous horse race meetings is the Grand National, which takes
place at Aintree, near Liverpool, in March or April. It is England’s
main steeplechase (race over fences). The course is over seven
kilometers and includes thirty jumps, of which fourteen are jumped
twice. It is a dangerous race. Jockeys have been hurt and horses have
been killed. Another important horse race meeting is the Derby, taking
place at Epsom, south of London, in May or June. It is England’s leading
flat race (not over fences). A very fashionable race is Ascot, near
Windsor, in June. The Queen always attends.
A popular sporting event in Great Britain is the Open Golf Championship.
The Scots invented golf, and its headquarters is at the Royal and
Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews.
Many tennis players regard the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, in July, at
Wimbledon, south London, as the most important championship to win.
There is great public interest in the tournament. Many tennis fans queue
all night outside the grounds in order to get tickets for the finals
No less popular is the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge
universities, on the River Thames in London at Easter. The course is
over seven kilometers. Oxford have won about sixty times. Cambridge
nearly seventy. Henley (Rowing) Regatta takes place at Henley on the
Thames (between London and Oxford). It is an international summer event
and a fashionable occasion. Cowes Week is another, yachting regatta.
Cowes is a small town on the Isle of Wight, opposite Southampton, and a
world-famous yachting centre.
When English people use the word ‘hunting’ they usually mean foxhunting,
a sport, which is popular among a small but important minority. There
are ‘closed seasons’, when it is unlawful to shoot or hunt game and
certain other animals. These seasons vary, according to the animals.
There is no law about hunting foxes, but there is a foxhunting season —
from November to March. In the Scottish Highlands deer are hunted on
foot, with a gun. This is called ‘deer stalking’. Many of the male
hunters wear ‘pink’ (that is, red coats). On the whole hunting is a
sport for the rich.
However, the most popular country sport is fishing, and there are more
than 4 million anglers in Britain. Many fish for salmon and trout
particularly in the rivers and lochs of Scotland, but in England and
Wales the most widely practiced form of fishing is for coarse fish such
as pike, perch, carp, roach, dace, tench, chub and bream. Angling clubs
affiliate to the National Federation of Anglers and many clubs organize
angling competitions. Freshwater fishing usually has to be paid for most
coarse fishing is let to angling clubs by private owners, while trout
and salmon fishermen either rent a stretch or river, join a club, or pay
for the right to fish by the day, week or month. Coastal and deep sea
fishing are free to all (apart from salmon and sea trout fishing which
is by license only).
Britain was the first home of many of the modern world’s most popular
sports. The British cannot claim, today, that they have, as a nation,
surpassing skill in any form of sport when they engage in international
competition. But they care strongly about the ‘sporting spirit’, the
capacity to play with respect for the rules and the opponents, to win
with modesty and to lose with good temper.
Ростовский институт иностранных языков
Entertainment outside the home:
Pubs and clubs
Leisure and sports
2 курс ДО,
группа 4 “Е”