Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №1/2007
How My Dreams Came True (or Unusual England)


How My Dreams Came True

(or Unusual England)

I’m an English teacher, and for all my teaching life the only dream I had in a professional and emotional sense was to visit the country of the language that I teach my children to speak. I’ve read a lot of literature of various sort, I was brought up on W. Scott, A. Conan Doyle, S. Maugham, Jerome K. Jerome and many others. But this dream was mostly a great deal of unex phantom. You can guess about the income of an ordinary school teacher and the price of tours to the British Isles.

But everything happened like in a fairy tale. At first I got rather a great deal of unexpected money. Then I decided to prepare for my tour. I didn’t want to take many pupils with me, because don’t forget, it was a dream, and I didn’t want it to be spoilt by awful behavior of some boys and girls. That’s why our group consisted of three girls I trusted very much both in language skills and in culture, and one mother. The next problem to solve was getting visas for us in the British Embassy. They didn’t usually give visas to those who have a clear passport (without any other European visas). Mine was just like that. So I prepared for an interview at the Embassy. I was very nervous, but I spoke without an interpreter and tried my best to show the official how much I wanted to see their country by mentioning some rare sights and places of interest which are not usual for common tourist groups. And I got it!

Now I was to work out the plan of our excursions and trips in order not to lose a minute of our visit. This plan included the usual sights in London: St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, London Bridge, the British Museum and the Museum of Sherlock Holmes, the London Aquarium, Buckingham Palace (they call it Buck House), Kensington Palace, The Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace and park, Windsor Castle, the famous Roman town of Bath and the ”place in nowhere” – Stonehenge, and, at last, Kew Botanic Gardens. And all that was to be done within eight days. My companions were not very sure that we could do it without a guide and tried to persuade me to book more excursions with a Russian guide. Later they understood that our two official excursions were too much.

All I had instead of a guide was historical knowledge of this country and its monarchy, geographical knowledge, a very good map of London and an ability to orient myself in this city.

And it proved to be quite enough.

And at last, there came the great day, when we arrived in London. We stayed at the pretty hotel of Henry VIII in Kensington. Kensington Park was just across the road from our hotel. When we went in a coach from the airport, we saw streets full of exotic trees in blossom. Every window was also full of flowers. The day was cold, but very sunny. If we hadn’t known we were in the capital of Great Britain, we could have thought it was some southern town in Europe (palm trees, Japanese cherry trees (sacura) and something of this sort).

While we were unpacking and making ourselves comfortable in our rooms, the weather decided that it was enough for meeting us and it started raining “cats and dogs” or pouring if you like. But Russians are not afraid of anything, especially difficult weather. We took our umbrellas and went out bravely. The first place to search was Kensington Park. Though it was raining hard life outdoors went on very cheerfully: people were busy at their usual occupations, they ran, walked, and went shopping. To tell the truth, they’ve got nice umbrellas, those Londoners. Their umbrellas reminded me of their famous saying “My home is my Castle”. We walked along the wet avenues of the park and enjoyed fresh green trees and grass, squirrels and birds, dashing about to ask somebody for something tasty or to find a partner (I’ve quite forgotten, it was in the end of April). The park was full of tulips and other spring flowers. We breathed in fresh air into our lungs and quite forgot the rain. In spite of the fact we got drenched to the skin, we didn’t catch any colds and the next day were fresh and ready for more adventures.

Now I’m not going to waste your time telling about all our trips and excursions, but just about the most interesting of them, some funny incidents, and some interesting details.

Russian Guides

They were annoying. They had an awful accent and the appearance of Cherkizovo market. Every time we were to meet with them, they were late. On our last day in London we nearly missed our plane, вЂ