Snapshots of Britain

Britannien in kleinen Geschichten

Übersetzt von Ina-Maria Martens
Synchronisation: Doppeltext


To Begin With

Teacups Without Cracks

The Class System


Dick and the Bells

Plague and Fire


The Thames

A King of World Renown

Queen Mother Elizabeth


From London due West

English Tea

The West Country

Saint George

The Iron Bridge



Fine Food

White Rose, Red Rose

Yorkshire Pudding

Workers, Paupers, Slaves, Bobbies


The Welsh Anthem

Each Side of the Border

Caratacus the Brave Celt

A Long Name for a Small Town

Welsh Cakes

Mary Jones and Her Bible

The Welsh Dragon

Saint David’s Day


A Really Good Trout

The New Severn Bridge


Clans and Kilts

A Folk Song

Scottish Monsters

Scottish Food

Education in Scotland

The Lord of Lorn

A Great Scottish Poet

A Few Scottish Snapshots


One Island – Two States

Saint Patrick


Giant Finn


Characters and Travellers


Past – Present – Future

The London Eye

The Olympic Games

Harris Tweed

Author’s Dedication

The End

Informationen zum Buch

Leseprobe: Jeremy Taylor, English Jokes


To Begin With

Hello! As you have chosen to read this book it is pos­sible that you may one day con­sider vis­it­ing these is­lands.
If you do I trust that the “mind’s eye snap­shots” gained from your read­ing will en­hance your vis­it
and that your cam­era snap­shots will provide vivid memor­ies.
If you do vis­it, you will hear people us­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent greet­ings, in­clud­ing the one at the top of this text.
Here are some more for you to try: Good day – How are you? – Hi –
Have a nice day – Lovely to see you – Good morn­ing/af­ter­noon/even­ing.
As there are many greet­ings, so there are also many dif­fer­ent names used for the group of is­lands you are vis­it­ing:
Eng­land – Bri­tain – Great Bri­tain – United King­dom (U.K.) – The Brit­ish Isles.
Out of all these names the most help­ful, however polit­ic­ally not quite cor­rect, as you will dis­cov­er later on, prob­ably is “the Brit­ish Isles”.
You may like to put down this book now and find an at­las.
Look at a map of Europe closely to see where the Brit­ish Isles lie in re­la­tion to France, Bel­gi­um, the Neth­er­lands, Ger­many, Den­mark, Nor­way.
You will see that Great Bri­tain con­sists of two is­lands, just across the coast from North­ern France.
The lar­ger of the two, look­ing like Santa Claus on his knees, is the main is­land of Bri­tain
and the smal­ler, not un­like the shape of a lamb turned on its side, is Ire­land,
which is pro­nounced in a sim­il­ar way to “is­land” un­less you are Scots or Ir­ish, in which case you would pro­nounce the “r” sound too.
Ire­land has two coun­tries with­in it, the in­de­pend­ent Re­pub­lic of Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land, which is part of the United King­dom.
If you look more closely you will also see many smal­ler is­lands which are near the coast of the two main is­lands.
Can you find these is­lands on your map: the Isle of Man – the Isle of Wight – the Out­er Hebrides –
the Isle of Skye – the Orkney Isles – the Sh­et­land Isles – the Chan­nel Is­lands?
So you see, “the Brit­ish Isles” is a very de­script­ive and use­ful name for this coun­try just off the main­land of Europe,
for it con­sists of sev­er­al is­lands and its peoples are is­land com­munit­ies with an is­land out­look.
Al­though geo­graph­ic­ally small the im­pact of Great Bri­tain upon the world has been quite large, and you may read in his­tory books something about this.
There­fore the lan­guage you are learn­ing or prac­tising has be­come an in­ter­na­tion­al pass­port.
But, Eng­lish is not the only lan­guage spoken in the Brit­ish Isles.
Oth­ers are: Scot­tish Gael­ic – a Celt­ic lan­guage used in re­mote parts of Scot­land and lately en­joy­ing a re­viv­al;
Manx – a Celt­ic lan­guage on the Isle of Man; Welsh – an an­cient Celt­ic lan­guage and taught in all Welsh schools;
Ir­ish Gael­ic – spoken in Ire­land, mainly in the south;
the last per­son who spoke only Cornish, an­oth­er Celt­ic lan­guage, prob­ably died at the end of the 19th cen­tury.
However, there is now a re­viv­al tak­ing place.
You can see road signs writ­ten in Cornish and small groups are tak­ing the ini­ti­at­ive to re­start the teach­ing of this an­cient tongue.

Teacups Without Cracks

Al­though raised in a work­ing-class area in Birm­ing­ham, my par­ents pur­chased their own home,
which put them so­cially above those people rent­ing prop­erty, es­pe­cially those rent­ing from the gov­ern­ment.
My par­ents also cared about edu­ca­tion and were par­tic­u­larly keen for us to gain bet­ter jobs and thus move up in so­ci­ety.
As a child I was un­aware of any of these factors, but simply en­joyed a stable home and the simple pleas­ures of a fam­ily of lim­ited means.
One day our loc­al doc­tor’s wife spoke to my moth­er and offered me a job clean­ing the sur­gery every Sat­urday morn­ing for a little pock­et money.
Prob­ably she thought this would save my par­ents hav­ing to worry about provid­ing me with money. So my du­ties began.
I thor­oughly en­joyed the work and more es­pe­cially the de­li­cious food which was served to me after work in the kit­chen of the large doc­tor’s house.
The house, the food, the cut­lery and the fur­niture – all breathed of a splen­did world which filled me with de­light;
it all seemed so much more civ­il­ised than our small and crowded home.
One Sat­urday the doc­tor’s grand­chil­dren were vis­it­ing
and I was in­vited to join them on an out­ing in the car to a park some dis­tance away and go swim­ming with them.
I was de­lighted at the in­vit­a­tion and asked if my little sis­ter, then five years old, could come along too. They kindly con­sen­ted.
We had a mar­vel­lous time, es­pe­cially the jour­ney in the car, as we did not have one.
Just as we were about to go home my little sis­ter ran in front of the swing on which I was swinging, and her front tooth was knocked out.
Blood was every­where, and my sis­ter’s screams filled me with ter­ror, as my moth­er had made me prom­ise to take good care of her.
The doc­tor’s wife, ob­vi­ously used to prob­lems of this nature, didn’t take it too ser­i­ously,
and simply sug­ges­ted that we go to a café and have a nice cup of warm tea,
after which she as­sured me my sis­ter would fully re­cov­er and wouldn’t think of it any more.
She then found a pleas­ant café with white crisp table­clothes, sil­ver cut­lery and lovely bone china tea ser­vices.
My sis­ter, by now al­most fully re­covered, touched one of the table­clothes and said: “This is a nice café, isn’t it, and no cracks in the tea­cups!”
With this little out­ing I first be­came aware of so­cial dif­fer­ences and the class sys­tem.
A doc­tor in Eng­land, at that time, would cer­tainly be middle­class, a post­man’s daugh­ter work­ing­class.

2012 Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, München

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