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TV Viewing. It has been estimated that the average British person spends 75 hours every week with television, radio, newspapers and magazines. All these sources of information, ideas and entertainments, together with film, video, and advertisements have become a part of daily life.
Watching television is a very popular leisure pastime in Britain. A typical day’s viewing includes film. Plays, current affairs, light entertainments, sport and politics. Nature documentaries are very popular. Television is a great information source which offers news and current affairs programmes, and it is used regularly to give information on everything from weather conditions to wildlife.
Lost of people enjoy “soap operas”. Coronation Street, Crossroads East Enders, and Neighbours are among the most popular TV series. They have been running for many years (Coronation street are been broadcast since 1960, Crossroads ― since 1964, East Enders since 1985) and they all have a large viewing audience.
The growth in use of videocassette recorders and equipment (including home computers) for playing television games has for many people increased the choice of entertainment available in the home.
Listening to music. Another favourite activity is listening to music on radio, records, cassette tapes, and CDs. This has become increasingly popular in recent years. Enthusiasts of pop music spend millions of pounds a year on records and stereo music systems. They also but the various music papers and magazines that publish the ‘charts’ ― list of the current best-selling records ―as well as details of pop singers and musicians.
There is, too, a considerable audience for classical music. Much of it is listened to at home. Radio devotes a lot of its broadcasting time to serious music.
Gardening. Britain is famous for its gardens and most people like gardening. This is probably one reason why so many people prefer to live in houses rather than in flats.
There are more private gardens in Britain than in any other country and they are looked after with love and enthusiasm. The British are keen gardeners. Every newspaper carries a regular gardening feature, radio and TV broadcast gardening programmes and most towns and villages have gardening clubs. Even in cities most people prefer to live in a house ― no matter how small ― gardens, rent a piece of land from their local council where they can cultivate flowers and vegetables. Almost every village and town holds an annual flower show in summer at which local gardeners exhibit fruit, flowers and vegetables and compete with each for prizes.
Do-It-Yourself. A popular British hobby is to make improvements and additions to houses without the help of professional or skilled workers such as painters, builder and carpenters. This activity of making or repairing things ready made of paying a workman to do the work for your, is called, DIY (do –it-yourself).
People with to keep their houses looking smart, and do-it-yourself repair and improvement work is widely practiced. There are now many handbooks and magazines devoted to DIY enthusiasts, telling them to go about repairs and improvements. There are also shops in every town selling or renting equipment and materials for DIY work.
a. What is a ‘soap opera? Can you explain why soar operas are popular though they are often naïve, silly and primitive?
b. How do you and your family prefer to listen to music ― on radio, records, cassette tapes, CDs, or at concerts?
c. What do the letters DIY mean?
d. Is do-it-yourself repair widely practiced in the families of your friends and acquaintances? Are there shops in your city similar to DIY shops?
Read the text about the popular pastimes and find out British people’s preferences for certain types of leisure and entertainments.
How people use their free time depends on age, sex, educational background, social class and, of course, on their personal taste and inclinations. But even so, it is availability of choices open to them that usually stimulates and directs their recreations.
Enjoyments of the Countryside. The British climate confines many outdoor activity and general enjoyment of the countryside to specific times of the year. National Park are open to the public for walking, bird watching, camping, caravanning (in specific areas) and, above all, for enjoying the scenery, the peace and quiet. There are a large number of rambling clubs whose members meet at weekends and on summer evenings to walk along some of Britain’s many footpaths that criss-cross the countryside.
Many people who enjoy rambling, climbing and cycling often combine these activities with membership of the Youth Hostels Association (YHA). The hostels, doted about the country ― especially in popular areas like the Lake District and the Devon moors ― provide cheap accommodation for members in simple establishments where they normally cater for themselves.
Outings. On holidays, on weekends or days off people often go for day “outing”. Some may not get much further than local parks or private gardens open to the public. Others may visit nearby art galleries and museums, or perhaps go to London for special exhibitions. Interesting exhibitions are organized every year and attract millions of visitors from Britain and overseas. Real enthusiasts go on outing in all weathers.
Outings to the seaside. Whether they have a boat or not, most British families like to spend some time at the seaside in the summer. The beaches are very crowded in hot weather. Groups of people go on organized outings, to popular resorts like Brighton or Blackpool. Coaches full of factory or office workers drive to the coast for a day out. If the sea is warm enough they can go for a swim of they may prefer to take off their shoes and paddle in the shallow water. They may bring a picnic lunch with them , and they can buy ice-cream form the ice-cream van, tea from the refreshment kiosk and drink at the pubs. It may rain but the British are used do changeable weather. The family can always sit in the car, or find the nearest amusement arcade or simply turn round and go home.
Cultural entertainments. Not everybody in Britain is interested in sport or in outings. Some are interested in going to the theatre, to the cinema, to concerts or to the opera where music by British composers is often on the programme. But this kind of entertainment is getting expensive and it is largely city activity, towns and cities also have public art galleries and museums.
A specially classes in Adult Institutes and Colleges of Further Education. People study an incredible variety of subjects, many of them clearly vocational and others of general interest. The difference between adult learners and school- children is that adult learners are choosing what they wish to learn, and usually giving up their leisure time willingly to learn it.
The most popular subjects are foreign languages, computer studies, shorthand/typing and office skills, business administration/management, arts and cultural subjects. Some people go to practical classes like dress-making or car-maintaining but many go for pleasure to do ballet dancing, to lean how to arrange flowers artistically, or to learn a foreign language. Others join classes organized by the Workers’ Educational Association and enjoy listening to lectures and discussing subjects like philosophy.
e. What is outing? When do people usually go on outings?
f. What activities are counted as cultural entertainment?
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