I. Study the text and retell it:
Nine out of ten strangers coming to England for the first time, and asked to speak of its appearance, will say something equivalent to "park-like". England in truth looks like one great well-ordered park, under the charge of a skilful landscape gardener. The trees seem to grow with an eye to effect, the meadows to be designed for vistas, the hedges for reliefs.
The hedges, which take up a considerable fraction of English arable soil, help to the park-like appearance of the country. They are inexpressibly beautiful when spring wakes them up to pipe their roulades in tender green. In summer they are splendid in blazon of leaf and flower. In autumn they flaunt banners of gold and red and brown. In winter, too, they are still beautiful, especially in the early winter-when there still survive a few scarlet berries to glow and crackle and almost burn in the frost.
All along the English countryside the gardens are delicious, blending a hundred individual beauties of lawn, rosary, herb border, walled garden, wild garden into-one enchanting mosaic. But, withal, it is the wonderful variety and perfection of the trees that is most remarkable.
Were I advising a friend abroad who knew nothing of England and wished to make a pilgrimage to its chief shrines of beauty, I think I should urge him to come in the late winter to Plymouth and explore first Cornwall and Devon. The coming of the waves of an Atlantic storm to Land's End offers a grand spectacle. He should stay in the south-west to see the first breath of spring bring the trees to green, and the earliest of the daffodils to flower. He will very likely encounter some wet weather.
But despite showers, spring in Dartmoor is a glowing pageant of green and gold. After feasting upon it a week or so, my imaginary pilgrim would make his way to the Thames valley to welcome yet another spring. The Gulf Stream gives the south-west corner of England a softer climate and an earlier spring than.the east enjoys. By the time the daffodils are nodding their golderi heads in Cornwall, the crocus will be just showing its flame along the borders of the Thames.
May and June should be given up wholly to the Thames valley from Greenwich to Oxford, and past. My pilgrim has now seen wild coast scenery and river scenery. July should be given to the hills and lakes, these" enchanting lakes which have won new beauties from the poets. Then August to the Yorkshire Wolds, with their sweeping outlines, clear in the amber air shining Over white roads and blue-green fields.
The attractions of the Yorkshire Wolds are proof against the wet sea-mists, the penetrating winds, and the merciless rain which sometimes sweep over them. The very severity of the weather appeals to nature lovers. The Yorkshire Wolds terminate on the east with the great Flambor-ough headland, the chalky cliffs of which have remarkable strength to resist ocean erosion.
With the end of August comes the end of the English summer. It is then time to go to Kent and see the burnishing of woods by autumn, the ripening of hop and apple. To the New Forest afterwards, and the sands of the south'coast. At the end of the year our pilgrim will know how varied is the beauty of the English landscape, and how faithfully it is loved in its different forms by those who live near it.
(From "A Book of England", Leningrad, 1963)
II. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following:
луг; живая изгородь; лужайка; розарий; травяной бордюр; обнесенный оградой сад; заросший сад; в конце зимы; бледно-желтый нарцисс; долина; крокус; дикий морской пейзаж; речной пейзаж; йоркширские равнины; сырые морские туманы; меловые скалы; хмель; разнообразный
III. Put questions to the above text using the words from Ex. II.
IV. Retell the text using the words of Ex. II.
V. Read the following extracts and pick up words denoting flowers, trees, birds:
The daffodils were in bloom, stirring in the evening breeze, golden heads cupped upon lean stalks, and however many you might pick there would be no thinning of ranks, they were massed like an army, shoulder to shoulder. On a bank below the lawns, the crocuses were planted, golden, pink, and mauve, but by this time they would be past their best, dropping and fading, like the pallid snowdrops. The primrose was more vulgar, a homely pleasant creature who appeared in every cranny like a weed. Too early yet for bluebells, their heads were still hidden beneath last year's leaves, but when they came, dwarfing the more humble violet, they choked the very bracken in the woods, and with their colour made a challenge to the sky.
(From "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier)
As I knelt by the window looking down on the rose-garden where the flowers themselves drooped upon their stalks, the petals brown and dragging after last nights rain, the happenings of the day before seemed remote and unreal. ... a new day was starting ... A blackbird ran across the rose-garden to the lawns in swift, short rushes, stopping now and again to stab at the earth with his yellow beak. A thrush, too, went about his business, and two stout little waytails, following one another, and a little cluster of twittering sparrows. A gull poised himself high in the air, silent and alone, and then spread his wings wide and swooped beyond the lawns to the woods and the Happy Valley.
(From "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier)
VI. Speak about plants, birds and animals of your own country.
VII. a) Read the following brief stories on English nature; translate them Into Russian, b) Write Nature Notes of your own;
Now the sun is risen above the horizon mists and lights up for beauty the autumn fruits and berries on the hedgerow.
And high above all these is the golden crown of an ageing elm tree.
Then a large flock of rooks and some jackdaws come streaming over the elms, chuckling and cawing as though revelling in their holiday now that they are free from family ties and the young truly launched on the world, enjoying their newfound freedom.
Some fly high up and then suddenly dive down to the other lower-flying birds, then straighten out with a flutter of wings. Others tumble about in the air and, chuckling, loop the loop and do all sorts of mad delightful things like healthy children let out to play.
Soon they settle, walking up and down finding insects and worms amid the grass roots. Some birds are getting acorns from the hedgerow oaks by fluttering ungainly as they peck at an acorn growing at the tip of a Iwig.
Although rooks eat many insects, their favourite food is grains. They crowd the new-sown arable field and on the stubbles they compete with pigeons to clear the fallen wheat grains.
(Abridged from "Morning Star", 1969)
With its brightly coloured breast together with its friendly attitude toward man, the robin is the one bird that everyone in the country at once recognizes.
This is not a new thing-our forefathers knew the ruddock, as it was called in Shakespeare's time, and poets down the ages have sung its praises.
The robin was renowned for its piety and was to get merrier as the winter comes on so as to be in full song on Christmas Day.
For many centuries the robin has been protected by tradition in this country. William Blake writes: "A robin in a cage sets all heaven in a rage."
The robin and the wren are two birds most famed in English folklore and rhyme.
The robin is an insect eater, preferring meat to bread, though it eats weedseed and berries on occasions.
My robin comes and sits on my typewriter sometimes, for I have been feeding him since September.
Stealthily he will bring his mate early in the New Year and threaten any other robin that comes on their territory.
Soon the winter song will change to the spring, and at the end of March nest building will begin on a heap of sere leaves.
(Abridged from "Morning Star", 1969)
To our forefathers "Heart's ease" was a native flower, and we still call the wild pansy "Heart's ease". Another name for it is "Love-in-idleness".
The pansy as we know it did not come into being until the 19th century, and it is of a mixed descent.
Seeds of the wild pansy weie collected by some gentry and their gardeners in 1812, and the seedlings from these were planted out in the form of a heart. It attracted the attention of many nurserymen, and one named James Lee sold some from his fields to Lord Gambler, whose gardener cultivated them so as to improve them.
The sweet violet is one of our own British species, and has been grown in our gardens since gardens first existed.
Darwin's interest in the fertilization of plants first noticed that violet petals are carried upside-down and what appears to be the lowest petal should actually be the uppermost.
A very old legend relates that Orpheus, being very weary after a long walk, sat down on a mossy bank for a rest and where he laid down his lute the first violet sprang.
(Abridged from "Morning Star", 1969)
On a warm summer's day, it is pleasant to take a punt or rowing boat, and steer a course to a quiet backwater.
This is just the kind of place to find water-lilies growing in profusion. Among the masses of floating plate-like leaves, flower buds are opening now. Young leaves too will be corning up, tightly rolled, to avoid being torn by the current and floating objects in the water.
The floating leaves gently sway with the current, anchored to the bottom by being attached to stout creeping stems that are rooted in the mud.
The long, flexible leaf stalks lie at a larger angle to the surface when the water is shallow, while if it rises they become vertical.
They are even capable of growth if the water becomes unusually deep in a wet season.
Like most water plants the growth is luxuriant, since the conditions are more favourable in many ways than the conditions on land. The plants do not have to contend with such great changes of temperature, as water heats and cools more slowly than air, and they do not have to protect themselves from lack of water.
In spite of their name, water-lilies are not related to true lilies, and this is clearly shown by the flowers, which have numerous petals and stamens, and ovaries rather like poppy heads.
(Abridged from "Daily Worker", 1966)
VIII. Answer the following questions:
1. Which do you like better: roaming the woods or walking in the fields? 2. What is one of the first pleasures of spring? 3. What flowers do
you like best? 4. Which do you prefer, wild flowers or cultivated flowers? 5. What kind of flowers are usually planted in British gardens (in our gardens)? 6. What is a hedge? 7. What wild flowers can be found in our wood and meadows? 8. What tree symbolizes Russia (England)? 9. What animals live in English woods? 10. What must you do to appreciate the beauty of the world about you? 11. Are you clever at looking after plants and making them grow? 12. What should be done to preserve the environment (wild life)? 13. What children organizations do you know which develop a healthy attitude to outdoor and country activity among young people?
IX. Comment on the following:
1. People who plucked bluebells from the woods were vandals. Sometimes, driving in the country, we had seen bicyclists with huge bunches strapped before them on the handles, the bloom already fading from the dying heads, the ravaged stalks straggling naked and unclean.
2. The garden where every weed has been kept out is a desert for insects, if there are none of the old-fashioned flowers of the former cottage gardens. Begonias, dahlias, and gladioli do not contain nectar for bees and buft erf lies. Thus in many modern gardens, few birds and fewer butterflies find congenial homes.
X. Comment on the picture:
"What really impressed me in Europe were
the flowers - they all understood English."
XI. Comment on the following proverbs and sayings:
1. Welcome as flowers in May. 2. No garden without its weeds. 3. You cannot judge a tree by its bark. 4. Hedge between keeps friendship green. 5. One swallow does not make a summer. 6. No rose without a thorn. 7. A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.
XII. a) Form Idioms choosing the right word from the right column;
|to kill two ... with one stone
|fresh as a ...
|to sow one's wild ...
|gentle as a ...
|to cook one's own ...
|to get on the high ...
|to buy a ... in a poke
|to eat like a ...
|to upset the ... cart
|a ... song
b) Make sentences of your own using the idioms.
XIII. Read the story carefully, then fill the blank spaces;
The English are obsessed ... flowers. If you don't believe ... true, look at the gardening books 5n the bookshops, find out how many ... arranging societies there are ... England-thousands and thousands. It is a useful obsession because ... doesn't harm anyone.
If you want to ... an English person, be ... polite about his garden. ... will probably show you ... garden and tell you ... about it. So you ... and say, "How lovely!" ... "How interesting!" "How clever ... you!"-The English ... is ... famous, Some of them are very beautiful, especially the ... ones that are open ... the public.
When you come to ... you will decide for ... whether English gardens are ... beautiful as they are ... .
(Missing words: with, it's, flower, in, it, please, very, he, his, all, listen, or, of, garden, internationally, big, to, England, yourself, as, famous)
(From "Mozaika", No. 6, 1972)
XIV. Compare the two descriptions and speak about the flower;
Along the lane, where the bank is shaded by the trees, many primroses grow, to the delight of the village children, and fill the air with that rare fragrance which only comes with primrose flowers and sunlight in the wood.
There are other flowers which bedeck the lane banks and add to its glory of the spring day. Here is the dandelion "fringing the dusty road with harmless gold-first pledge of blithesome May."
It does not need the shelter of the wood, but will thrive on the dry bank, and there turn the sunbeams into golden beauty.
Not only does the dandelion thrive by the wayside, but also in gardens, meadows and waste places both in town and country. The dandelion belongs to the composite order of plants, which all have flower but
are in reality a collection of small separate flowers, with the outer ones in most cases having a projection that makes them look like petals.
This does not prevent the plants having an abundance of seeds as silky balls of down that form round every flower head when the golden sun flower has run its course.
The style lengthens in each floret as the seeds ripen, and the wind will carry them on the white hair, across the lane, over the meadows and gardens till caught by a hedge, or the lengthening pasture-there to germinate or be eaten by mice or birds.
Village children know these delicate seed heads as dandelion clocks, as they pick them, breaking the hollow stem, and counting the hours as they blow the seeds till all are blown away.
The children also make dandelion chains in the same way as they make daisy chains.
(Abridged from "Daily Worker", 1966)
Листья у одуванчика лежат на земле, расположившись по кругу. Из этой зеленой розетки скоро подымется узкая трубочка - стрелка, когда-то несказанно обрадовавшая нас возможностью извлекать из нее своеобычные звуки. Кто в детстве не делал из одуванчика дуделок да пищиков? Быть может, для кого-то это стало первым уроком музыки ... Набрав задуманную высоту, одуванчик распускается: желтое колес"ко выкатывается на луг, зацепляя зубчиками своими солнечный диск. Ведь право же, одуванчик, как золотые часы, восход покажет, закат отметит. На его желтый циферблат часто садятся шмели-ювелиры, выверяя природные ритмы. Иногда одуванчики растут так кучно, что сплошь заполняют луговину: диск к диску. Идешь мимо них - и кажется, будто движутся они, вращаются на свету. Сейчас одуванчик всею сутью своей воплощает облик дня, образ солнца. А когда отцветет, то появится в нем что-то лунное, серебряное. Как легки эти сферы с их манящей полупрозрачностью! Издали в утреннем рассвете они кажутся выточенными из дымчатого топаза, но на поверку хрупки, воздушны. Это тоже радость детства: обдуть одуванчик, пустить его по ветру. Стебли цветка тогда словно парашютная вышка: на тесной площадочке ждут не дождутся своего часа опушенные семянки. Счастливого взлета вам, одуванчики!
("Юный натуралист", 1972)
XV. Write a short essay on spring, following the suggested outline: general appearance, birds, leaves, sun, stream, spring flowers and feelings inspired by their sight and scent, aspirations for the future.
All the protection that the law can effectively give to our wild flowers is likely to be provided by the Wild Plants Protection Bill, which is due for its second reading in the Lords shortly. If the Bill reaches the Statute
Book, as is probable, it will become an offence to sell, offer or expose for sale any wild plant that has been picked or uprooted, and for anyone other than an authorised person wilfully to uproot any wild plant. Picking of wild flowers will not be prohibited unless they are sold, or are included in the Bill's schedule of rare species. The Bill has rightly been widely welcomed because so many of Britain's wild plants are already in danger of disappearing, and it is high time that the law recognized the need for their conservation. It would, however, be self-deception to suppose that the Bill by itself can provide the protection that is needed. Measures of this kind, which are concerned with the actions of individuals, either greedy or ignorant, in remote and lonely places, are extremely difficult to enforce. If our rare plants are to be saved, only the greatest vigilance, in and outside the nature reserves, will save them.
(From "Mozaika", No. 4, 1975)
Try Your Hand at Teaching
I. a) Make a list of names of plants, birds and animals which are the part of school vocabulary. Discuss your list in the classroom, b) Organize a vocabulary building game on the topic "English Landscape".
II. Adapt the description of plants and birds given in Exs. V, VI, XIV for secondary school pupils.
III. Collect short poems about flowers, birds and animals suitable for school children to learn by heart.