CPE :: Lesson 5



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ACTIVITY 21: You are to read the following passage. For questions 1-10, choose the answer (A, B, or C) which fits best according to the highlighted words or phrases. Finally check the correct answers.

The young people who talk of the village as being 'dead' are talking utter nonsense, as in their hearts they must surely know. No, the village is not dead. There is more life in it now than there ever was. But paradoxically, 'village life' is dead. Gone for ever. It did not die suddenly. These things never do happen suddenly. It began to decline about a hundred years ago, when many girls left home to go into service in towns many miles away, and men likewise left home in increasing numbers in search of work, and home was where work was. There are still a number of people alive today who can remember what 'village life' meant in the early years of the present century. It meant knowing and being known by everybody else in the village. It meant finding your entertainment, such as it was, in the village or within walking distance of it. One of my informants sometimes went to London and back in a day on his bicycle, but he was a rather exceptional young man. To go anywhere at all was for most country people a treat; for many children the one and only treat was the annual Sunday school outing. I can remember one such outing which involved a three-mile ride on a horse-drawn dray, precariously balanced on a wooden form, one hand clutching the side of the dray, the other clutching warm pennies which were intended to be exchanged for sticks of rock if we ever got to the seaside which we did, via the nearest railway station.
It meant housewives tied to the home all day and every day, their monotony relieved by a regular succession of 'packmen', 'tally men', itinerant traders calling at the kitchen door with groceries, hats, crockery, brushes, underwear, ribbons, etc. Nobody bought or sold fruit, flowers, vegetables, plants
one exchanged, bartered, begged or gave them away. The same thing with pig 'fry'. The same with sittings of eggs. It meant speaking the local dialect, and distrusting or despising anyone who did not except the parson and the schoolmaster. It meant 'going to the toilet' a phrase we never used in a dark and draughty privy at the bottom of the garden or at the back of the house. It meant going to bed early to economize in lamp-oil and coal; washing in cold water from pump or well; eating cold fat bacon for breakfast or going without. It meant finding your way across fields and along deserted lanes in the dark, and enjoying it, especially if you went courting. All that, and very much more, is what 'village life' used to mean.

Questions 1-10


paradoxically means...


'packmen' and 'tallymen' are...


A.  generally speaking.
 strange as it may seem.
C.  predictably.


A.  shopkeepers.
C.  people who sell things at houses.


to go into service means...


pig 'fry' is...


A.  to join the armed forces.
 to work in a factory.
C.  to do domestic work for richer people.


A.  something to eat.
 something to wear.
C.  something to grow.


a treat means...


sittings of eggs are...


A.  a special, enjoyable occasion.
 a punishment.
C.  a medical cure.


A.  baby chickens.
C.  a small collection of eggs from one hen.


a dray is a kind of...


a privy is...


A.  sledge.
C.  four-wheeled cart.


A.  an old-fashioned flushing toilet.
 a bathroom.
C.  an outside lavatory.


sticks of rock are...


to go courting means...


A.  geological formations.
 spades for children to play with in sand.
C.  pieces of hard, peppermint-flavoured sweet.


A.  to accuse someone of something.
 to put someone on trial.
C.  to go out with the person one hopes to marry.


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