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Part 2. Thomas

Ex.1. Read the text and pick up the terms referring to the topic.

We used to live in a medium-sized detached house, in a village which, as I said, is in the sub­urbs of the city, and borders onto the countryside. There were maybe 20 houses in our small street, each of them with the same appearance and construction. I remember that we had about 8 rooms: we had a big living-room, a kitchen, a small room beside the kitchen, a small square garden behind the house, my brother and I had a bedroom each, when we were really young, we used to share a very large bedroom. The garden was always in a state of chaos, as nobody ever did any work on it, so it just grew, and grew, and grew... There were a couple of trees and long grass everywhere with little insects living in it, but that was nice for the dog to go and run around and get lost in.

The house was centrally-heated with good kitchen and bathroom facilities really, and we always had hot water on tap. It was a good all-round family-sized house, really. When I was very young, I remember that we used to keep our car in the garage, but for most of my life the garage was so full of things that we never used, didn’t really need, and should have thrown away, that the car always sat outside, even in the snow and the rain. In the garage it was more important to keep boxes and boxes of old electrical equipment, and things like that. We had a coal-fire, which was a very nice thing, we used to be able to sit at night in the winter and watch the real fire burning in the middle of the room. We had a beautiful 3-piece settee, which was very comfortable. I think we spent an awful lot of time watching the television. We never had a video-recorder, but from the age of about 11, there was always a computer in the house, so we spent a lot of time playing computer games.

We had green carpets in most of the house and, as I remember, we had green curtains to match them. All in all we had a fairly comfortable life. There were normally clothes hanging out on the washing line, which we could see from the kitchen window at the back of the house. My mum spent an awful lot of time in the kitchen really, cooking for us, of course, cooking bread-and-butter pudding, or spaghetti bolognaise, or some plum crumble, or... Oh, I fondly remember a lot of the nice things that she used to cook then.

I’ve lived in many different types of accommodation really, many different types of houses. In my travels − in the last few years most of the time I’ve been away from England. I remember one very beautiful place where I stayed was an abandoned village, in Italy in the mountains, and for 15 years some people have lived there. They moved into this village, renovated it, and made an almost self-sufficient com­munity there, growing all of their own food, apart from oil, flour, and other things that they did­n’t really need like wine and tobacco. I very much enjoyed living this way, in contact with the elements, in contact with the Earth, living in harmony with the animals and plants, and the weather around us.

I feel a little bit lost in the city amongst all of these squares, all of the noise, all of the concrete everywhere. Everywhere there are many, many, people in a very small space, and a lot of cars. However, I’m getting used to it. I’m finding a way to survive here.

At the moment I live with my girlfriend, Maria, in a 4-room flat, in Budapest. We have one room which we spend most of our time in, which is our bedroom. We have a big double bed, a couple of very comfortable chairs, and a lot of storage space for us to keep our books and music. Maria is also a musician. She plays the cello and viola da gamba. So we have the instruments here, and we can practice. It’s a very good place to practice because we have no neighbors on 3 sides of the flat, and the place where we practice is really at the other end of the flat to the side where we do have neighbors. So we can even practice in the middle of the night, if we want to, as nobody is upset or offended by the noise. It’s wonderful for me, because I’m learning to play the violin at the moment, and this is not as fun for others as it is for me.

We’re very lucky to have a telephone. The flat’s quite warm. We have a couple of gas heaters which, if we turn them on, heat the rooms up very quickly, but as soon as they’re turned off everything becomes cold again. We have a very good water boiler which keeps hot water for us all day long, and isn’t too expensive. We also have a little hot water heater in the kitchen so that we can do the washing-up after eating. We have a fridge. We don’t have a washing-machine, unfortunately, so we have to do all the washing in the bath. The kitchen is OK. It’s a bit dark but what I like about this flat is that the ceilings are very high, so there is quite a sense of space in here. Also, for practicing music, it’s very good acoustically.

However, we’re quite a long way from the center of town. It usually takes us at least 20 minutes to get into town in the morning. My girlfriend has to go to school in the morning most weekdays, so we wake up early, I make porridge and then we go together on the tram. Normally, we read to each other on the journey, which eases the distance problem a little bit. Another great advantage of our flat is that we aren’t next to any big roads, so we get virtually no noise from outside. Well, there are two layers of glass separat­ing us from the outside world, a kind of double-glazing, which is great.

Our windows look down on a playing field or football pitch, which is occasionally used by school­children. If we get really bored, we can sit on the balcony, and look out over them playing football in the daytime. A lot of trees are visible from here, and we can see the tops of two churches. One of them is very beautiful. We can also see, very close by, a large syn­agogue, which looks like a great Turkish building with a dome roof, with little towers around the edge of it and many round windows. I think it no longer functions as a syna­gogue; it is maybe used as a church now.

Our immediate neighbors are a very nice, kind, gentle elderly couple. I can’t really communicate with the lady because she doesn’t speak English, and my Hungarian isn’t so good, but her husband speaks many languages, so when we need to talk about house bills and things like that, I can communicate with him. We have quite a pleasant relationship with them.

The walls of our flat are a little bare. It’s been quite difficult to make our flat homely, really, because there are such big white walls and we don’t have many pictures or things to put on them. It always seems a little bit empty. We’ve tried to solve this problem by moving most of our things into one room of the flat. One room remains almost unused. But we don’t really want to sublet this other room, even though we don’t use it, because we like our sense of space and privacy. We always try to keep some fresh flowers in the house. I like flowers very much and so does Maria. They make our home feel alive somehow. I would really like it, though, if we had a few large plants growing in the house, although we haven’t really had the time or money to be able to get any.

In Maria’s parents’ flat, however, there are lots, and I think they are happy, as they’re watered every day and well taken care of. It’s almost like a little jungle. Their flat is about the same size as ours but for some reason it seems so much larger, maybe because they seem to be able to get so many more things into it. I suppose it is from having been there for so long. They seem to have everything there. There is a little corner where the comput­er lives, they have a video, a very good hi-fi system, and a fantastic television, with a three piece suite gathered around it. They spend an awful lot of time in front of the television.

The room where Maria stays when she is there has two beds, and many, many books around on the walls. All of the walls seem to be filled with books. There are shelves and shelves of Hungarian poetry, anatomy texts, books about different countries of the world, literature, and many other subjects, as well as files and files of written music, and CD’s and cassettes.

Their hallway doubles up as a dining-room, as the table opens out and is big enough to seat around. They always have fresh flowers as well. Their kitchen is also quite high-tech. They have a microwave oven, a sandwich maker, and many electrical appliances to help with the cooking. Their pantry and refrigerator seem to be constantly full of food.

They also have a piano. Maria’s father used to be a pianist, and Maria is now learning to play the piano. Her standard is improving very, very, quickly. Actually, she seems to be very talented at almost any instrument she puts her hand to.

There always seems to be delicious food ready to eat. But I don’t know how, because I never seem to see Maria’s mother in the kitchen. She is also a successful career woman, as is Maria’s father, in software design. There’s always a very nice family atmos­phere there. In some ways, every little touch makes the place feel warmer. Every little detail, every little picture on the walls, every little vase of flowers gives the place a homely atmosphere. It’s something really special.

My ideal house would be situated in the countryside, well away from any large cities, maybe even away from roads if possible. I would love to live somewhere near run­ning water, or near to the sea. Also, it would be nice not to have to rely on the central water system, but to have a well or a stream nearby with fresh drinking water. Maybe this is a bit too much of a luxury to ask for. I like trees very much, so I’d like to live near a forest, too, and I could imagine living with a lot of animals: cats, a couple of dogs, maybe a horse if I had time to look after it, chick­ens for eggs and, who knows, maybe even a goat for milk. I’d like to live in a stone farm house with little steps going up the outside wooden doors and shuttered windows, and a good view of the sun going down in the evening.

I like rooms with interesting shapes, so I like living in rooms which have maybe one wall which is a little bit round­ed or has the corners smoothed off. The nicest room I ever stayed in was in a farmhouse near Glastonbury, in the south-west of England, in Somerset, where I lived for quite a while. This room was the attic of the house, so it was at the very top of the house, and there was no ceiling but two sloping, triangular-shaped walls instead, which joined at the top, and a little place by the window where I could sit and play my guitar, and look out at the people working in the garden and the children playing, and watch the farmer in the field next to us. I loved this room very much. Every night I spent there was so peaceful, and I always had good dreams. It was very atmospheric. When I lit it with candles in the corners, it was the cosiest little home that anyone could ever imagine. I used to love inviting friends up and we would sit around and talk very intimately in these nice surroundings, listen to music together or play some music, or simply sit and enjoy the silence. This was a very happy time of my life. Because it was at the top of the house there was no door, it joined the rest of the house by a flight of stairs which led down through a hole in the floor. There were wooden beams running along the roof, which were black, and the floor was wooden as well, with a few big, old Turkish carpets. I didn’t really have a raised bed there, but slept on a mattress on the floor with a few sheets and my sleeping-bag. I liked it so much that if I ever get my lit­tle dream house in the country, I will put the bedroom at the very top of the house.

I like living high up, because a lot of light comes in. Once I stayed in a flat, at the base of a very big block of flats, surrounded by many more blocks of flats, and no light from the sun could reach us. Even in the middle of the day in the sum­mer, all of the rooms were dark. I like to have some sunlight; I think it’s healthy for the spirit.

Ex.2. Suggest the Russian equivalents to the English ones.

A medium-sized detached house, to border onto the countryside, to be in a state of chaos, all-round family-sized house, to have hot water on tap, kitchen and bathroom facilities, to have a beautiful 3-piece settee, to match, bread-and-butter pudding, to be away from England, an abandoned village, to renovate, self-sufficient community, to offend, to do the washing-up, a sense of space and privacy, two layers of glass separating from the outside world, to have a pleasant relationship with somebody, to make one’s flat homely, to remain unused, to sublet, to make home feel alive, to be the same size, to be quite high-tech, electrical appliances, delicious food, a luxury, shuttered windows, a good view of the sun going down, to have the corners smoothed off, two sloping triangular-shaped walls, to be next to big roads, immediate neighbors, to be filled with something.

Ex.3. Suggest the English equivalents to the Russian ones.

Занимать одно и тоже помещение, раскрываться, сдавать комнату, особняк, затеряться, дом с центральным отоплением, внешний вид здания, для одной семьи, иметь горячую воду в кране, камин, небольшой диван, верёвка для сушки белья, слива, за последние несколько лет, обновлять, самостоятельный, чувствовать себя потерянным, привыкать, складское помещение, виолончель, быть обиженным, скрипка, мыть посуду, добраться до города, облегчить, расстояние, смотреть на поле, двойное остекление, поблизости, решить проблему, уединение, поливать, аппаратура с высоким качество звука, буфетная.

Ex.4. Fill in the gaps in the sentences.

  1. Thomas used to live … house.

  2. The garden was … as nobody ever did any work on it.

  3. The house was … with good kitchen and bathroom facilities really.

  4. It was …house.

  5. For most of his life the garage … the family never used.

  6. The family had … which was very comfortable.

  7. There were normally clothes … which they could see from the kitchen window at the back of the house.

  8. In his travels − … Thomas has been away from England.

  9. The kitchen is a bit dark but … that the ceilings are very high.

  10. Thomas and Mary are … the center of town.

  11. There are … outside world.

  12. Our windows … football pitch.

  13. A lot of trees … they can see the tops of two churches.

  14. Thomas and his girlfriend can also see a large syn­agogue, which …

  15. The flowers make their home …

Ex. 5 Complete the sentences.

  1. The garden was always in a state of chaos, as nobody...

  2. There were a couple of trees and long grass, but that was nice for the dog…

  3. When Thomas was very young, he remembers that they used…

  4. They had green carpets in most of the house and green curtains...

  5. He remembers one very beautiful place where…

  6. Thomas very much enjoyed…

  7. It’s a very good place to practice because…

  8. Thomas also has a little hot water heater in the kitchen so that…

  9. He feels a little bit lost in the city amongst…

  10. Thomas and Mary read to each other on the journey, which…

  11. Another great advantage of their flat is…

  12. They have a couple of gas heaters which…

  13. Mary and Thomas can even practice in the middle of the night, as nobody…

  14. They have tried to solve this problem by…

  15. But they don’t really want to sublet this other room because…

  16. Mary seems to be very talented at almost any instrument…

  17. All of the walls seem …

  18. Thomas’s ideal house would be situated …

  19. He would like to live in a stone farm…

  20. Thomas used to love…

Ex.6. Are these statements true or false?

  1. Thomas’s family used to live in a flat in the center of the city.

  2. The houses in there street had different appearance.

  3. The garden of their house was in good condition.

  4. There was a stove which heated the house there was no facilities.

  5. Thomas lived in different types of accommodations, different types of houses. He remembers his living in a village in Italy; which was situated next to the city.

  6. Some people united to live in ruined village.

  7. Thomas feels very well in the city. He is fond of living in the city.

  8. Now Thomas lives quite close to the city center. He has to solve the distance problem.

  9. As he lives next to the center of the city it is very noisy.

  10. The windows have a view of the park.

  11. A young couple lives next door.

  12. It has been easy to make their flat cosy.

  13. As they are short of money they have to sublet a flat.

  14. They don’t like flowers and don’t keep them at home.

  15. Maria’s mother is a housewife.

  16. Thomas’s ideal house would be in the center of the city with central-heating.

Ex.7. Answer the questions.

  1. What flat did Thomas use to live?

  2. How did the houses in their street look like?

  3. How can you describe the house where Thomas lived?

  4. What kind of garden did they have?

  5. The garden was in a very good state, wasn’t it?

  6. Who worked on it?

  7. How was the house heated?

  8. What kind of kitchen and bathroom did they have?

  9. What can you say about the house?

  10. What did they use to keep in the garage?

  11. Why did their car always sit outside?

  12. How did they like to spend their winter evenings?

  13. What kind of curtains did they have?

  14. How did their mum use to spend her time?

  15. Where has Thomas lived in his travels in the last few years?

  16. What place does he remember?

  17. What kind of living did Thomas enjoy very much?

  18. How does he feel in the city?

  19. How is he getting used to living in the city?

  20. Where is Thomas living at the moment?

  21. How can you describe the flat Thomas is living now?

  22. Why do they have to do all washing in the bath?

  23. What kind of kitchen do they have?

  24. Do they live in the centre of the city?

  25. How long does it take them to get into town in the morning?

  26. What eases the distance problem a little bit?

  27. What is the advantage of their flat?

  28. What do their windows look down on?

  29. Who are their immediate neighbors?

  30. What kind of relationship do they have?

  31. Why has it been difficult to make their flat homely?

  32. How did they try to solve this problem?

  33. Why don’t they sublet one unused room?

  34. Why do they keep flowers?

  35. What can you say about the flat of Maria’s parents?

  36. How can you prove that the kitchen is quite high-tech?

  37. Why does Maria seem to be very talented?

  38. What gives the flat a homely atmosphere?

  39. What is his ideal house?

  40. Why would Thomas like not to rely on the central water system?

  41. What is the nicest room Thomas ever stayed?

  42. What kind of room was it?

  43. What did Thomas like to do while living in that room?

  44. What way did the room join the rest of the house?

  45. What kind of living does Thomas like?

Ex.8. Translate the sentences into English.

  1. Они живут в пригороде в собственном доме.

  2. В нашем городе почти все дома одинаковые по архитектуре и внешнему виду.

  3. В квартире беспорядок.

  4. Дом имел центральное отопление, хорошее кухонное и ванное оборудование, и в кране всегда была горячая вода.

  5. Это был во всех отношениях хороший дом на одну семью.

  6. Шторы на окнах очень подходили к дивану.

  7. Они остановились в заброшенной деревушке.

  8. Соседи ремонтируют квартиру уже 3 года.

  9. Она была совершенно независима.

  10. В городе я слегка теряюсь.

  11. Я нахожу способы выживания в городе.

  12. Две газовые батареи обогревают комнату.

  13. Мы живем далеко от центра.

  14. Каждый раз, когда я еду в командировку, я беру с собой журналы. Это помогает убить время в пути.

  15. Так как наш дом находится далеко от основной магистрали, мы не слышим никакого шума.

  16. Наши окна выходят на парк.

  17. Неподалеку от нашего дома находится кинотеатр.

  18. Наши ближайшие соседи – очень милая пара.

  19. Моей сестре очень трудно создать уют в квартире, так как не хватает средств.

  20. У нее большая квартира, но одну комнату она сдает студентам.

  21. Цветы оживляют квартиру.

  22. На кухне много электрических приборов.

  23. Она успешна.

  24. Цветы создают домашний уют.

  25. Их дом не зависит от центрального водоснабжения.

  26. Мне нравится жить повыше.

Ex.9. Give a summary of the text.

Ex.10. Compose a topic about your accommodation using the expressions from the texts.

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