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    About Myself.

    Let me introduce myself.

    My full name is Natalya Nickolayevna Ivanova, though it sounds rather pompous for a girl of my age. I was born on the 7th of May, 1985, in the village of Bakino, Chutovo district, the Vologda Region. Two years ago our family moved to Vologda where I live now together with my parents.

    I was born in the family of the officeworkers.I am an only child in the family. As my mother had no possibility to be a housewife I had to be taken to a nursery when I was not more than two years old. I don’t remember that time at all. Anyhow, I can remember quite well how much I hated going to the nursery when I was three or four. It was not because the children were ill treated there. I guess it’s just too early for any child of this age to be taken away from his mother.

    Now I’m a pupil of the eleventh form of a secondary school. I am finishing school this year and I want to enter the University. That is why I have to study twice as hard as an ordinary pupil. I take an active part in social life, attend sport sections and subject clubs.

    My favourite subjects are English, Russian and Literature. I have nothing against Natural Sciences and Maths, but somehow they seem of less importance to me. I am always very busy, but when I’m free I’m fond of reading. My favourite writers are Ernest Hemingway, Alexey Tolstoy, Michail Bulgakov. You see, my biography isn’t long. I hope my dream will come true and I’ll become a student. If I fail my exams I’ll be very upset, but next year I’ll try to enter the University again.



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    Drinking: Alcoholism.

    For many people, the facts about alcoholism are not clear. What is alcoholism, exactly? For most people, alcohol is a pleasant accompaniment to social activities. Moderate alcohol use - up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people is not harmful for most adults. Nonetheless, a substantial number of people have serious trouble with their drinking.

    Currently, nearly 30 million Russians - abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.

    The consequences of alcohol misuse are serious-in many cases, life-threatening. Heavy drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, especially those of the liver, esophagus, throat, and larynx (voice box). It can also cause liver cirrhosis, immune system problems, brain damage, and harm to the fetus during pregnancy. In addition, drinking increases the risk of death from automobile crashes, recreational accidents, and on-the-job accidents and also increases the likelihood of homicide and suicide.

    Acknowledging that help is needed for an alcohol problem may not be easy. But keep in mind that the sooner a person gets help, the better are his or her chances for a successful recovery. Any reluctance you may feel about discussing your drinking with your health care professional may stem from common misconceptions about alcoholism and alcoholic people. In our society, the myth prevails that an alcohol problem is somehow a sign of moral weakness. As a result, you may feel that to seek help is to admit some type of shameful defect in yourself. In fact, however, alcoholism is a disease that is no more a sign of weakness than is asthma or diabetes. Moreover, taking steps to identify a possible drinking problem has an enormous payoff - a chance for a healthier, more rewarding life.

    When you visit your health care provider, he or she will ask you a number of questions about your alcohol use to determine whether you are experiencing problems related to your drinking. Try to answer these questions as fully and honestly as you can. You also will be given a physical examination. If your health care professional concludes that you may be dependent on alcohol, he or she may recommend that you see a specalist in diagnosing and treating alcoholism.

    While alcoholism is a treatable disease, a cure is not yet available. That means that even if an alcoholic has been sober for a long while and has regained health, he or she remains susceptible to relapse and must continue to avoid all alcoholic beverages. "Cutting down" on drinking doesn't work; cutting out alcohol is necessary for a successful recovery.



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    American Symbols. Символы Америки.

    The American flag is often called "The Stars and Stripes", it is also called "Old Glory". It represents the growth of the nation. It has 13 horizontal stripes,7 red and 6 white which stand for the original 13 states. In the top left hand corner there are 50 white stars on a blue background: one star for each state.

    The national anthem of the United States is "The Star Spangled Banner". The words written during the Anglo-American war of 1812—1814 and set to the music of an old song. Every state has its own flag, its own emblem and its own anthem too.

    The eagle became the national emblem of the country in 1782. It has an olive branch (a symbol of peace) and arrows (a symbol of strength). You can see the eagle on the back of a dolliar bill.

    The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of American democracy. It stands on Liberty Island in New York. It is one of the first things people see when they arrive in New York by sea. This National Monument was a present from France to the USA. France gave the statue to America in 1884 as a symbol of friendship. Liberty carries the torch of freedom — in her right hand. In her left hand she is holding a tablet with the inscription "July 4, 1776" — American Independence Day.



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    An Ideal House.

    A person’s home is as much a reflection of his personality as the clothes he wears, the food he eats and the friends he spends his time with. Everybody has in mind an “ideal house” and an “ideal home”. How do I see my “ideal house”, how do I see my life there?

    There are many kinds of dwellings, from town houses, which include terraced houses, semi-detached, detached houses, to country houses.

    I want to live in my own house, maybe in a cottage in the suburbs. My house will consist of the ground and the first floor. There will be six rooms in it. In front of the house I will have a small garden with different flowers. I’ll also have a garage for my car.

    Here is a brief description of the house I dream of. My bathroom is very good-looking: the walls are tiled in cream, the washbasin, the toilet are pastel pink. My towels are also pink. Then I go to the kitchen to have breakfast. It is always pleasant to cook in it because it is very comfortable. I make my tea and sandwiches and have breakfast. Then I go to my work, but in the evening “there is no place like home”. I have rest in the living-room. I can sit on the sofa and read or watch TV. Then I go to the bedroom. It is my favourite room. Here I sleep and see my sweet dreams.



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    Cinema in Our Life.

    The movies are truly an art of our time. It is the greatest aesthetic and educational force in the world today.

    The invention of the photography in 1828 played a very important role in the development of the cinema. 1895 became the year when the cinema was born. After the brothers Lumier had invented the cinematography, the cinema widely spread all over the world. The first movie theatres appeared in 1904. And in 1907 the literature works started to be widely used for the movie scripts. Now different movie versions of novels and stories of famous writers are still very popular.

    The movies are a powerful force in contemporary life. Cinema is also used for educational purposes. Video classes are useful when studying geography, foreign languages and many other subjects. They are also the means of getting acquainted with the world. With the help of documentary and science films one can get much information about the world around. The news on TV helps to know what happens in the world each day. It also helps to attract the attention of people to different important problems, such as hunger, earthquakes, water pollution and so on.

    The cinema is also the means of entertainment. After a working day one can relax watching some good movie. Nowadays people can’t just imagine their life without the art of cinema. Cinema was invented by two brothers Lumier. They made the first film, which lasted only one minute. Since then cinema has become one of the most popular arts in the world.

    There are cinema theatres everywhere.

    Films may be feature or documentary, sound and silent. Feature films are, as a rule, sound and colour. Animated cartoons are also very popular not only with children but with the adults.

    Nowadays we can see different kinds of films. There are ones, which are dedicated to the life of the people, to the present and to the history of our country. There are also comedies, thrillers, dramas and detective films.

    People’s opinions differ in the question what kinds of films must be produced. Some people, especially young, think that the cinema should be a place where one may amuse oneself after a working day. Others say that films must be various, serious and funny.

    I think that cinema is not so popular today as at the beginning of the century, because now each family has a TV set or even a video recorder, and people do not want to go anywhere if they can sit in comfortable armchairs and watch what they want. Video films attract many young people now.

    History Of Cinematography.

    Cinema is much younger than theatre. It was born at the end of the 19th century. The first people who showed the first movies to a paying public were the Lumiere Btothers of France. They did this on the 20th February 1896 at the Grand Cafe, Boulevard des Capucines, Paris. This was the first cinema show and it was quickly followed by many others in all parts of the world. All the 1996 we celebrated the hundredth anniversary of cinematography.

    The first films showed moving people and transport or newsreels of processions and wars, and short comedies. In 1901 France was the first country to produce a dramatic film, The Story of a Crime, which was followed by The Great Train Robbery in the United States in 1903.

    At first, films were shown anywhere: in music halls, clubs and shops. By 1908, special film theatres were being built to give regular programmes. At this time cinema rapidly developed in both the New and the Old World. Charlie Chaplin made his first film, Making a living, in 1914 in the USA. At that time the world was crazy about Charlie, that was created by Charlie Spencer Chaplin. His Charlie, small and clumsy yet kind-hearted, generous and brave, has attracted the hearts of simple people in different countries. Sometimes they would stand in long queues to see a film with their favourite actor. The first films in the West were mainly melodramas or comedies.

    Then, in 1927, Warner Brothers in Hollywood made the first film in which an actor sang and spoke. The film was called Jazz Singer. It opened a new era in films - the era of the “talkies”. The film mostly told its story with titles, but it had three songs and a short dialogue. There were long lines of people in front of the Warner Theatre in New York. The silent film was dead within a year. The first one hundred percent sound film. Lights of New York, appeared in 1928.

    The first colour films were made in the 1930s, but the black-and-white films are made even today.

    Cinema In Russia.

    The spreading of cinematography in Russia started with the demonstration of the Lumiere brothers’ film in May 1896 in St. Petersburg and Moscow and later in Nizhniy Novgorod. The first sound films simultaneously appeared in three countries, the USSR, the USA and Germany at the end of the 1920’s. In October 1929 the first sound cinema house started its work.

    Since that time the Russian film industry was going its own way. It produced such great films as Protazanov's The Queen of Spades (1916) and Father Sergius (1918).  A little later Russia's great achievement in cinema was connected with its directors such as Eisenstein (The battleship “Potemkin”), Pudovkin (Mother), Kuleshov (By the law), Dovzhenko (Earth), and others.

    Notable films from 1940s include Aleksandr Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible. Immediately after the end of the Second World War, the Soviet color films such as The Stone Flower (1947), Ballad of Siberia (Сказание о земле Сибирской, 1947), and The Kuban Cossacks (Кубанские казаки, 1949) were released.

    In the late 1950s and early 1960s Soviet film-makers were given a less constricted environment, and while censorship remained, films emerged which began to be recognised outside the Soviet bloc such as Ballad of a Soldier which won the 1961 Award for Best Film and The Cranes Are Flying. Height (Высота, 1957) is considered to be one of the best films of the 1950s (it also became the foundation of the Bard movement).

    The 1970s saw the emergence of a range of films which won international attention, including Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris; Seventeen Instants of Spring, which created the immortal character of Standartenführer Stirlitz; White Sun of the Desert (1970).

    In the mid-1980s, Soviet films emerged which began to address formerly censored topics, such as drug addiction, The Needle, and sexuality and alienation in Soviet society, Little Vera.

    Now film industry in Russia is rapidly developed. More than 20 films are produced every year. Great directors such as Nikita Mikhalkov, Andron Konchalovskiy, Timur Bikmambetov and many others contribute to this process.



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    Computer Revolution.

    50 years ago people didn't even heard of computers, and today we cannot imagine life without them.

    Computer technology is the fastest-growing industry in the world. The first computer was the size of a minibus and weighed a ton. Today, its job can be done by a chip the size of a pin head. And the revolution is still going on.

    Very soon we'll have computers that we'll wear on our wrists or even in our glasses and earrings.

    The next generation of computers will be able to talk and even think for themselves. They will contain electronic "neural networks". Of course, they'll be still a lot simpler than human brains, but it will be a great step forward. Such computers will help to diagnose illnesses, find minerals, identify criminals and control space travel.

    Some people say that computers are dangerous, but I don't agree with them.

    They save a lot of time. They seldom make mistakes. It's much faster and easier to surf the Internet than to go to the library. On-line shopping makes it possible to find exactly what you want at the best price, saving both time and money. E-mail is a great invention, too. It's faster than sending a letter and cheaper than sending a telegram.

    All in all, I strongly believe that computers are a useful tool. They have changed our life for the better. So why shouldn't we make them work to our advantage?



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    Education in Our Life.

    Education plays a very important role in our life. It is one of the most valuable possessions a man can get in his life.

    During all the periods of human history education ranked high among people. Human progress mostly depended upon well-educated people. We get our knowledge of this world and life through education. Many famous discoveries would have been impossible if people were not interested in learning something. Self-education is very important for the development of human’s talents. Only through self-education a person can become a harmonically developed personality.

    A person becomes a highly qualified specialist after getting some special education. And professionalism can be reached only through it. Even highly qualified specialists from time to time attend refresher courses to refresh their knowledge.

    Education develops all sides of human personality, reveals his abilities. Besides, it helps a person to understand himself, to choose the right way in this world. The civilized state differs from others in the fact that it pays much attention to the educational policy. John Kennedy said: “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education”. But it doesn’t concern only one particular nation. We know that science and art belong to the whole world. Before them the barriers of nationality disappear. So education brings people closer to each other, helps them to understand each other better.



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    Education in the USA.

    The American system of school education differs from the systems in other countries.

    There are state public schools, private elementary schools and private secondary schools. Public schools are free and private schools are feepaying. Each state has its own system of public schools.

    Elementary education begins at the age of six or seven, when a child goes to the first grade (form). At the age of sixteen schoolchildren leave the elementary school and may continue their education at one of the secondary schools or high schools, as they call them.

    The programme of studies in the school includes English, Arithmetic, Geography, History of the USA, Natural Sciences and, besides, Physical Training, Singing, Drawing, Wood or Metal Work, etc. Sometimes they learn a foreign language and general history. Beside giving general education some high schools teach subjects useful to those who hope to find jobs in industry and agriculture or who want to enter colleges or universities.

    After graduating from secondary schools a growing number of Americans go on to higher education. The students do not take the same courses. During the first two years they follow a basic programme. It means that every student must select at least one course from each of the basic fields of study: English, Natural Sciences, Modern Languages, History or Physical Training. After the first two years every student can select subjects according to his professional interest.

    The National Government gives no direct financial aid to the institutions of higher education. Students must pay a tuition fee. This creates a financial hardship for some people. Many students have to work to pay their expenses. The Americans place a high value on education. That’s why Kennedy said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education”.



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    Foreign Languages in Our Life.

    Learning a foreign language is not an easy thing. It is a long and slow process that takes a lot of time and efforts. Nowadays it is especially important to know foreign languages. Some people learn languages because they need them for their work, others travel abroad, for the third studying languages is a hobby. Everyone, who knows foreign languages can speak to people from other countries, read foreign writers in the original, which makes your outlook wider.

    It is not surprising that many intellectuals and well-educated people are polyglots. I study English. Nowadays English has become the world’s most important language in politics, science, trade and cultural relations. Over 300 million people speak it as a mother tongue. The native speakers of English live in Great Britain, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. English is one of the official languages in the Irish Republic, Canada, the South Africa Republic. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations Organization and other political organizations. Half of the world’s scientific literature is in English. It is the language of computer technology.

    To know English today is absolutely necessary for every educated person, for every good specialist. The English language is a wonderful language. It is the language of the great literature. It is the language of William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens. The great German poet Goethe once said, “He, who knows no foreign language, does not know his own one”. That is why in order to understand oneself and environment one has to study foreign languages. During a lot of centuries people learn foreign languages.

    People in Europe started to learn languages in the 11th century. It is known that Yaroslav the Wise knew a lot of foreign languages. But at those times learning foreign languages was a privilege of rich people.

    Today millions of people all over the world learn foreign languages. They play a great part in our life. People, who know foreign languages, are necessary for the development of the techniques, economy and arts in the modern society. For example, a good engineer or a qualified worker should be able to read some technical papers for the imported equipment.

    Learning foreign languages is especially important in our country. People want to learn foreign languages to write to their penfriends, or to communicate with them personally. People also want to read the works of famous writers in the original, newspapers and magazines. During the classes of foreign languages one can train his memory and thinking. A foreign language helps to know the native language better. A person who learns a foreign language, at the same time gets acquainted with the culture of the country, its literature, history and geography. The modern world is becoming smaller all the time. Every day distances between different countries seem less. For this reason it's becoming more and more important to know different languages, especially English.

    One billion people speak English today. That's about 20% of the world's population. 400 million people speak English as their first language. For the other 600 million people it's either a second language or a foreign language.

    English is the first language in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the official languages in Canada, the Irish Republic and the Republic of South Africa.

    As a second language English is spoken in more than 60 countries. It is used by the government, businessmen and universities.

    English is the language of politics and diplomacy, science and technology, business and trade, sport and pop music. 80% of all information in the world's computers is in English. 75% of the world's letters and faxes are in English. 60% of all international telephone calls are made in English. More than 60% of all scientific journals are written in English.

    To know English today is absolutely necessary for every educated person, for every good specialist. Learning a language is not an easy thing. It's a long and slow process that takes a lot of time and patience. But it's a must.

    English is taught throughout the world and a lot of people speak it quite well. In our country English is very popular: it is studied at schools (sometimes even at nursery schools), colleges and universities.

    Everyone will speak English soon — I'm sure of it. We all need to understand each other. To do that we need an international language, and that's English.



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    Great Inventions. Великие изобретения.

    Television (1920s)

    The invention that swept the world and changed leisure habits for countless millions was pioneered by Scottish-born electrical engineer John Logie Baird. It had been realised for some time that light could be converted into electrical impulses, making it possible to transmit such impulses over a distance and then reconvert them into light.

    Motor Car (Late 19th Century)

    With television, the car is probably the most widely used and most useful of all leisure-inspired inventions. German engineer Karl Benz produced the first petroldriven car in 1885 and the British motor industry started in 1896. Henry Ford was the first to use assembly line production for his Model Т car in 1908. Like them or hate them, cars have given people great freedom of travel.

    Electricity

    The name came from the Greek word for amber and was coined by Elizabeth I's physician William Gilbert who was among those who noticed that amber had the power to attract light objects after being rubbed. In the 19th century such great names as Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy, Alessandro Volta and Andre Marie Ampere all did vital work on electricity.

    Photography (Early 19th Century)

    Leonardo da Vinci had described the camera obscura photographic principle as early as 1515. But it was not until 1835 that Frenchman Louis Daguerre produced camera photography. The system was gradually refined over the years, to the joy of happy snappers and the despair of those who had to wade through friends' endless holiday pictures.

    Telephone (1876)

    Edinburgh-born scientist Alexander Graham Bell patented his invention of the telephone in 1876. The following year, the great American inventor Thomas Edison produced the first working telephone. With telephones soon becoming rapidly available, the days of letter-writing became numbered.

    Computer (20th Century)

    The computer has been another life-transforming invention. British mathematician Charles Babbage designed a form of computer in the mid-1830s, but it was not until more than a century later that theory was put into practice. Now, a whole generation has grown up with calculators, windows, icons, computer games and word processors, and the Internet and e-mail have transformed communication and information.

    Aeroplane

    The plane was the invention that helped shrink the world and brought distant lands within easy reach of ordinary people. The invention of the petrol engine made flight feasible and the American Wright brothers made the first flight in 1903.



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    Health.

    Good health is very important for very person. Still, sometimes we get ill, we call a doctor, and he examines us and diagnoses the illness. When we have a headache, a stomach ache, a sore throat, a cold, or a pain in some parts of the body, we call a doctor. He takes our temperature and our pulse. He examines our heart, our lungs, our stomach or the part where we have pain, and tells us what the matter is with us. The doctor prescribes medicine, and gives us a prescription, which we take to the chemist's, who makes up the medicine.

    If you follow the doctor's orders, you get better; if you disobey the doctor, you may get worse, and even die. We must obey the doctor, if we want to get better. If we have a temperature, we must stay in bed and take the medicine he prescribes. If we cannot get better at home we must go to hospital. If we are too ill to walk, we go to hospital in the ambulance. After our illness we can go to a sanatorium until we are strong again.

    When we have toothache, we go to the dentist's. He examines our teeth, finds the tooth which hurts us, stops or extracts it.

    In our country health system incorporates a variety of medical institutions. The medical service is of two kinds. Some state establishments give their employees medical insurance cards. They guarantee the people free of charge medical assistance. Some medical establishments charge fees for treatment. They may be rather high, but our medical service now uses all modern equipment and medicines and provides qualified medical help to all people.



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    Hobbies.

    Hobbies differ like tastes. If you have chosen a hobby according to your character and taste you are lucky because your life becomes more interesting.

    Hobbies are divided into four large classes: doing things, making things, collecting things, and learning things. The most popular of all hobby groups is doing things. It includes a wide variety of activities, everything from gardening to travelling and from chess to volleyball.

    Gardening is one of the oldest of man's hobbies. It's a well-known fact that the English are very fond of gardening and growing flowers, especially roses.

    Both grown-ups and children are fond of playing different computer games. This is a relatively new hobby but it's becoming more and more popular. Making things includes drawing, painting, making sculpture, designing costumes, handicrafts. Two of the most famous hobby painters were President Eisenhower and Sir Winston Churchill.

    Some hobbyists write music or play musical instruments. Almost everyone collects something at some period in his life: stamps, coins, matchboxes, books, records, postcards, toys, watches. Some collections have no real value. Others become so large and so valuable that they are housed in museums and galleries.

    Many world-famous collections started in a small way with one or two items. People with a good deal of money often collect paintings, rare books and other art objects. Often such private collections are given to museums, libraries and public galleries so that others might take pleasure in seeing them.

    No matter what kind of hobby a person has, he always has the opportunity of learning from it. By reading about the things he is interested in, he is adding to what he knows. Learning things can be the most exciting aspect of a hobby.



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    Holidays In Russia. Праздники в России.

    There are many national holidays in Russia, when people all over the country do not work and have special celebrations.

    The major holidays are: New Year's Day, Women's Day, May Day, Victory Day, and Independence Day.

    The first holiday of the year is New Year's Day. People see the new year in at midnight on the 31st of December. They greet the new year with champagne and listen to the Kremlin chimes beating 12 o'clock.

    There are lots of New Year traditions in Russia. In every home there is a New Year tree glittering with coloured lights and decorations. Children always wait for Father Frost to come and give them a present. Many people consider New Year's Day to be a family holiday. But the young prefer to have New Year parties of their own.

    A renewed holiday in our country is Christmas. It is celebrated on the 7th of January. It's a religious holiday and a lot of people go to church services on that day.

    On the 8th of March we celebrate Women's Day when men are supposed to do everything about the house, cook all the meals and give women flowers.

    The greatest national holiday in our country is Victory Day. On the 9th of May, 1945, our army completely defeated the German fascists and the Great Patriotic War ended. We'll never forget our grandfathers and grandmothers who died to defend our Motherland. We honour their memory with a minute of silence and put flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Independence Day is a new holiday in our country. On the 12th of June, 1992, the first President of Russia was elected.

    We also celebrate Day of the Defender of Motherland on the 23d of February, Easter, Day of Knowledge and lots of professional holidays which are not public holidays and banks, offices and schools do not close.



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     Holidays in the UK.

    In Great Britain there are public holidays that are called "bank holidays". The term "bonk holiday" dates back to the 19th century. At that time all the banks were closed on these holidays. Now this term is no longer refered only to banks. Many other firms and offices are closed too. Among these are eight holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Late Summer {August) Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

    New Year's Eve (December 31st) is more special for Scottish people, who celebrate it with their families. They sit the Old Year out and the New Year in. At midnight Scottish people hold their hands in a large circle and sing the song "Auld lang syne" by Robert Burns. That is how they celebrate the coming of a new year.

    But it does not mean that New Year's Eve is not so popular throughout the country. People decorate their houses with bouquets of mistletoe. Friday before Easter is called "Good Friday". People usually make special buns which are marked with a cross on top. On this day the Church marks Jesus Christ's death.

    Easter Monday is the first Monday after Easter Day. May Day Bank Holiday is celebrated on the first Monday after May Day (May 1st). People celebrate the coming of spring. They also select the most beautiful girl on this day, who becomes May Queen. Sometimes May poles are constructed with long coloured ribbons and children dance around these poles holding the ends of these ribbons.

    Spring Bank Holiday is marked on the last Monday in May.

    August Bank Holiday is the last Monday in August. British people usually go on picnics on spring and summer bank holidays.

    The most popular bank holiday is Christmas Day. It is celebrated on December 25th. Christmas symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. On this day many people go to Churches, get Christmas presents and make a traditional Christmas dinner (roast turkey and pudding). On this day children wait for a special person who will come down the chimney during the night and will bring them presents. It is Father Christmas. However, Santa Claus is used synonymously with Father Christmas. Children usually hang long socks or stocks on their beds and hope that Father Christmas will put his presents in them. Christmas trees are set in the -rooms and decorated with toys by children.

    Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th. It comes straight away after Christmas Day. This is an old tradition, when in old times rich people used to give their servants money or "Christmas boxes". Now it is the day when people simply have rest or visit their friends.

    Besides bank holidays, there are also different festivals reflecting interesting traditions and customs. Among them are: St. Valentine's Day, Shrove Tuesday {Pancake Day), April Fool's Day, Mother's Day {Mothering Sunday), Father's Day, Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night.

    St. Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th. On this day people send Valentine cards and get presents and "valentines" from their sweethearts. A valentine is a colourful card with tender love words composed by the sender. It is a kind of a love-token. Valentine cards are usually not signed. Those who get them must guess who the sender is.

    Shrove Tuesday is the last day when you can eat and do everything before the fasting of Lent. It also has a popular name "Pancake Day" because many people traditionally eat pancakes on this day. Christians usually go to the church and confess their sins to a priest on Shrove Tuesday.

    Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent in March. On this day mothers get presents from their sons and daughters. And all children despite their age return to their homes.

    On April Fool's Day people play jokes and tricks on each other.

    In June there is Father's Day. On this day fathers get gift cards and a lot of attention from their children.

    Halloween is a holiday that is on October 31st. The most memorable symbol connected to this holiday is a lantern made of a pumpkin. A pumpkin is cut like a face and a candle is put inside of it. So it looks like a face with burning eyes. Usually people dress in colourful costumes of witches and ghosts and go to fancy dress parties.

    Children go from one house to another and say: "Trick or treat". If people do not refuse to give them something they sing. If they do refise children play tricks.Halloween is on the eve of All Saints' Day. The word "halloween" means "holy evening". The tradition of Halloween goes back with its roots to a time when people believed in evil spirits.

    Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated in the UK on November 5th. This tradition comes from old times when King James I was on the throne. He was a Protestant that is why Roman Catholics did not like him because of the religious differences. In 1605 Roman Catholics made a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They placed barrels with gunpowder under the House of Lords. The man called Guy Fawkes was one of those people. Nevertheless, they did not have a chance to blow up the Parliament because the King discovered their plan, his soldiers found Guy Fawkes and executed him. This happened on November 5th. Since then British people mark this day by burning a dummy made of straw and old clothes on a bonfire. They call this dummy simply "a guy".

    Alongside public holidays there are not least important holidays celebrated in the UK. They are the patron saint days: St. David's Day on March 1st (in Wales), St. George's Day on April 23d (in England), St. Andrew's Day on November 30th (in Scotland) and St. Patrick's Day on March 17th (in Northern Ireland). The only national holiday from this list is St. Patrick's Day for the Irish.



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    Music in Our Life.

    People cannot live without music. They can listen to music everywhere even in the forest, when they walk and hear birds singing.

    Music can be classical and modern. Classical music is performed by symphonic orchestras in the great halls. There are a lot of famous composers whose music is played nowadays. Classical music is serious and requires good understanding that's why it may seem to be boring and dull for some.

    Most people prefer modern music. Modern music is performed by TV and radio. Modern music has different kinds: pop, rock, disco, rap, techno and others. Most young people like dance and pop. Older people are fond of jazz, rock and pop. There are a lot of singers or music bands who perform this or that kind of music.Now there are a lot of discs and records of different performers.

    The last achievement in music production is a clip. Musical clips are short films accompanied by the melody. It may be a short story what the song is about or simply a great number of different pictures. People like to watch clips because it’s not only listening to music but also watching interesting things. I’m fond of music and like to listen to it for it helps me to have good relaxation.



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    My Favourite Singer (Michael Jackson).

    My favourite singer is Michael Jackson. I like his songs very much because they are full of energy and very melodic. I also like the way he dances.

    There were nine children in Michael's family. They lived in a small fourroom house. Later he lived in a house which has seventeen rooms downstairs and sixteen rooms upstaires. It stands in 2,700 acres of ground. Besides the house there are guest houses, a golf course, a swimming pool, tennis courts, stables, gardens, lakes, forests and a zoo.

    A lot of strange stories are told about Jackson. It's difficult to decide whether they are true or not. Michael never gave interviews and was rarely seen in public, except on stage. Certainly his behaviour may seem eccentric. In public he often wore a face mask to protect himself from germs, he slept inside an oxygen capsule, which he believed would help him to live longer. But his manager says that Jackson wasn't eccentric. He was just shy. Michael sang in public for the first time when he was five. Since that time he had always been in the public eye. And since that time he had been working like a grown-up.

    There were times when he came home from school and he only had time to put his books and get ready for the studio. He often sang until late at night, even if it was past his bedtime. There was a park across the street from the studio, and Michael looked at the kids playing games. And he just stared at them in wonder — he couldn't imagine such freedom, such a carefree life.

    He said about himself that in the crowd he was afraid, on stage he was safe. Off stage he felt happiest with animals and children. He was well-known for his childish tastes. It's not a secret that his favourite hero was Peter Pan.

    Michael has been called "the child who never grew up", but I think he was a grown-up who was never allowed to be a child.

    Whether he was crazy, childish, eccentric or just shy, he was no fool. He created a brilliantly successful image, he made a lot of money and spent it on the things he wanted. Who wouldn't like to do the same?



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    Travelling.

    Millions of people all over the world spend their holidays travelling. They travel to see other countries and continents, modern cities and the ruins of ancient towns, they travel to enjoy picturesque places, or just for a change of scene. It's always interesting to discover new things, different ways of life, to meet different people, to try different food, to listen to different musical rhythms.

    Those who live in the country like to go to a big city and spend their time visiting museums and art galleries, looking at shop windows and dining at exotic restaurants. City-dwellers usually like a quiet holiday by the sea or in the mountains, with nothing to do but walk and bathe and laze in the sun.

    Most travellers and holiday-makers take a camera with them and take pictures of everything that interests them — the sights of a city, old churches and castles, views of mountains, lakes, valleys, plains, waterfalls, forests; different kinds of trees, flowers and plants, animals and birds.

    Later, perhaps years later, they will be reminded by the photos of the happy time they have had.

    People travel by train, by plane, by boat and by car.

    All means of travel have their advantages and disadvantages. And people choose one according to their plans and destinations.

    If we are fond of travelling, we see and learn a lot of things that we can never see or learn at home, though we may read about them in books and newspapers, and see pictures of them on TV. The best way to study geography is to travel, and the best way to get to know and understand people is to meet them in their own homes.

    Travelling. Means Of Transport. Путешествия. Виды транспорта.

    People began to travel ages ago. The very first travellers were explorers who went on trips to find wealth, fame or something else. Their journeys were very dangerous but still people keep on going to the unknown lands.

    Nowadays it is not as dangerous and much more convenient. Do you want to go somewhere? Hundreds of companies are there to help you. They will take care about your tickets and make all the reservations needed. You don't speak the language of the country you go to? There are interpreters that will help you. With modern services you can go around the world. You can choose the means of transport you like: plane, train, shi p, bicycle or you can travel hiking.

    Of course, travelling by air is the fastest and the most convenient way, but it is the most expensive too.

    Travelling by train is slower than by plane, but it has its advantages. You can see much more interesting places of the country you are travelling through. Modern trains have very comfortable seats. There are also sleeping cars and dining cars which make even the longest journey enjoyable. Speed, comfort and safety are the main advantages of trains and planes. That is why many people prefer them to all other means.

    Travelling by sea is very popular. Large ships and small river boats can visit foreign countries and different places of interest within their own country.

    As for me, I prefer travelling by car. I think it's very convenient. You needn't reserve tour tickets. You needn't carry heavy suitcases. You can stop wherever you wish, and spend at any place as much time as you like.



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    The Royal Family.

    At present the British royal family is headed by Queen Elizabeth. When the Queen was born on the 21st of April 1926, her grandfather, King George V, was on the throne and her uncle was his heir. The death of her grandfather and the abdication of her uncle brought her father to the throne as King George VI.

    As a child she studied constitutional history and law as well as art and music. In addition she learned to ride and acquired her enthusiasm for horses. As she grew older she began to take part in public life, making her first broadcast at the age of 14. The marriage of the young Princess Elizabeth to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took place in November 1947. She came to the throne after her father's death in 1952 and was crowned in Westminster Abbey in June 1953.

    Among Queen Elizabeth's many duties are the regular visits she makes to foreign countries, and especially those of the Commonwealth, whose interests and welfare are very important to her. The Queen has allowed the BBC to make a documentary film about the every day of the royal family. She also started the tradition of the "walkabout", an informal feature of an otherwise formal royal visit, when she walks among the public crowds and stops to talk to some people.

    The annual Christmas broadcast made by the Queen on radio and television has become a traditional and popular feature of the season, and there were widespread celebrations and special programmes of events in 1977 to mark her Silver Jubilee.

    The Queen's husband, Duke of Edinburgh, was born in 1926 and served in the Royal Navy. He takes a great deal of interest in industry, in the achievements of young people (he founded Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme in 1956) and in saving raise wild animals from extinction.

    The Queen's heir is Charles, Prince of Wales, who was born in 1948, married Lady Diana Spencer and has two children, Prince William and Prince Harry. The Prince of Wales is well-known as a keen promoter of British interests. In recent years he has become outspoken on such controversial topics as modern architecture, violence in films and on television, and the standard of English teaching in schools. His wife Diana, Princess of Wales (often called in mass media Princess Di), won the affection of many people by her modesty, shyness and beauty. Unfortunately, she died in a car accident in August, 1997. Now Charles is married again.

    The Queen's other children are Princess Anne (born in 1950), Prince Andrew (born in 1960) and Prince Edward (born in 1964). Anne, Princess Royal, has acquired a reputation for being arrogant, but in recent years has become quite popular with the general public.

    The Queen is widely known for her interest in horses and horse-racing. She is now president of the Save the Children Fund, Chancellor of the University of London and carries out many public engagements.

    Prince Andrew, Duke of York, served as a helicopter pilot in the Royal Navy. In 1986 he married Miss Sarah Ferguson (Fergie, for short) and has two daughters.

    Prince Edward is keen on the theatre. This interest began while he was at university. He quit the Royal Marines, and is now pursuing a career with a theatrical company.

    The Queen Mother, the widow of the late King George VI, celebrated her one hundred birthday in 2 000 and died in 2002. The Queen's only sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, is well-known for her charity work.



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    My Plans For The Future.

    When you leave school you understand that the time to choose your future profession has come. It's not an easy task to make the right choice of a job. I have known for a long time that leaving school is the beginning of my independent life, the beginning of a far more serious examination of my abilities and character.

    I have asked myself a lot of times: "What do I want to be when I leave school?" A few years ago it was difficult for me to give a definite answer. As the years passed I changed my mind a lot of times about which science or field of industry to specialize in. It was difficult to make up my mind and choose one of the hundreds jobs to which I might be better suited.

    A couple of years ago I wanted to become a doctor. I thought it was a very noble profession. I was good at biology and chemistry in the 8th and 9th forms. I wanted to help people who had problems with health. I knew that a doctor should be noble in work and life, kind and attentive to people, responsible and reasonable, honest and prudent. A doctor, who is selfish, dishonest can't be good at his profession. I tried to do my best to develop good traits in myself.

    Now I have already decided what to do. I'd like to be a teacher. I know that it's very difficult to become a good teacher. You should know perfectly the subject you teach, you must be well-educated and well-informed. An ignorant teacher teaches ignorance, a fearful teacher teaches fear, a bored teacher teaches boredom.But a good teacher develops in his pupils the burning desire to know and love for the truth and beauty.

    As John Steinbeck once said, a great teacher is a great artist and you know how few great artists there are in the world. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts. It's a great responsibility to bring up children. I think that's the reason why teachers are deeply respected. More and more people realise that every educated person should know a foreign language. That's why I'm going to become an English teacher. I always remember these famous words and I'm going to teach them to my pupils: "He, who doesn't know a foreign language, doesn't know his own language".



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    My Working Day.

    On weekdays the alarm-clock wakes me up at 6.30 and my working day begins. I'm not an early riser, that's why it's very difficult for me to get out of bed, especially in winter. I switch on my tape-recorder and do my morning exercises. Then I go to the bathroom, take a warm shower, clean my teeth and shave. After that I go to my bedroom to get dressed.

    Usually my mother makes breakfast for me. But when she is away on business or just doesn't have to get up early, I make breakfast myself. While having breakfast, I listen to the latest news on the radio.

    I leave the house at 7.30 and go to the nearest underground station. Last year I tried to enter Moscow University, but unfortunately I failed my entrance examinations. So I thought I should work somewhere. It wasn't easy to find a job, but I managed to get a position of a secretary in a small business company.

    They agreed to take me because I had studied typewriting, computing and business organisation at school. And besides, I passed my English schoolleaving exam with an excellent mark.

    It takes me an hour and a half to get to work. But I don't want to waste my time on the train. I've got a small cassette-player and I listen to different texts and dialogues. Sometimes I read a book and retell it silently. If I come across an interesting expression I try to memorise it. I also write some English words on flashcards and learn them.

    I usually arrive at work at ten minutes to nine though my working day begins at 9 sharp. There are always some fax messages to translate from English into Russian. Sometimes my boss wants me to write a letter to our business partners abroad. There are also a lot of phone calls which I have to answer.

    At 1 o'clock in the afternoon we have lunch. We usually have lunch in a small cafe just round the corner. At 2 o'clock we come back to work. And we work hard till 5 o'clock. During the working day we also have several short coffee breaks. But sometimes we have no time for them.

    I come home at about 7 o'clock in the evening. My parents are usually at home, waiting for me. We have dinner together. Then we sit in the living room, drink tea, watch TV or just talk. Occasionally I have to stay at work till 6 or even 7 o'clock in the evening. When we have a lot of things to do we go to work on Saturdays. So by the end of the week I get very tired. All I can do on Sundays is to sleep till eleven o'clock, watch television, listen to music and read something in English.

    And still I always look forward to my next working day because I like my job. I think I get a lot of useful experience.



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    Smoking.

    Smoking is the best way to bad health. Today half the men and a quarter of the women in the world smoke on the average.

    Some people think that there is not much sense in refraining from smoking, since the inhabitants of many cities and even villages breathe air contaminated with industrial and automobile wastes. They are very wrong. Vehicle exhaust gases are harmful in themselves, but a smoking driver is subjected to something far more dangerous.

    Take another example: according to WHO (World Health Organisation) figures, the sick rate is higher among smoking workers of the heavy engineering, chemical, ceramic, mining, building, cement and rubber industries.

    The harm of tobacco smoke on women should be especially emphasized. In particular, smoking may affect the course of pregnancy. Smoking women may bring into the world crippled or abnormal children.

    The evidence that exposure to other people's smoke is dangerous to health is now incontrovertible. The exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious health risk to non-smokers, increasing their chance of contracting lung cancer and heart disease. The degree of risk depends on the extent and duration of exposure. Particularly there is a high risk among workers in the hospitality industries (bar staff, casino workers and other employees in workplaces where smoking is routine). It is estimated that secondhand smoke causes one premature death a week.

    In the past few years some measures have been taken to reduce smoking. There has been a growing awareness of the dangers of smoking throughout the world. The anti-smoking campaigns launched in a number of countries have brought about extensive public censure of this harmful habit and a decrease in the number of smokers among some groups of the population.

    In our country the campaign to beat the cigarette habit has acquired a purposeful nature. Special legislative, medical and educational measures are being worked out.

    Instructions forbid smoking among schoolchildren. Lessons on the harm of smoking have been included in courses of the anatomy, physiology and hygiene, the sale of cigarettes to minors is prohibited. Warnings against the harm of smoking are printed on packets of cigarette brands.

    The ministries of railways, civil aviation, merchant marine and culture have worked out and now implement measures for regulating, limiting and restricting smoking in long-distance and suburban trains, planes, on sea vessels, in theatres, clubs, etc.


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