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Why The English Love Drinking Tea


‘Dear Kathy! Chance made us sisters, hearts made us friends.’ This quote is at the center of a collage of photographs — covering our twenty-something years — that now hangs in my office. My sister, Susie, made it for me as a wedding present. It probably cost very little to make (she is a starving college student, after all), but it means more to me than any of the more ‘traditional’ wedding presents my husband and I received from family and friends last June. Whenever I look at the collage, it reminds me of my sister and what a true friend she is.


Susie and I weren’t always close friends. Far from it, in fact. We shared a room for nearly fifteen years when we were younger, and at the time I thought I couldn’t have asked for a worse roommate. She was always around! If we argued and I wanted to go to my room to be alone, she’d follow me right in. If I told her to go away, she’d say right back, ‘It’s my room, too! And I can be here if I want to.’ I’d consult my mother and she usually agreed with Susie. I suppose being three years younger has its benefits.


When we were kids, she’d ‘borrow’ my dolls without asking. (And no toy was safe in her hands.) When we got older, Susie quit borrowing my toys and started borrowing my clothes. That was the final straw. I couldn’t take it anymore. I begged my parents to let me have a room of my own — preferably one with a lock on the door. The answer was always a resounding ‘no.’ ‘Please?!’ I’d beg. My parents would just shake their heads. They didn’t agree with each other on much, but for some reason they had a united front on this issue.


To crown it all, she had this habit of doing everything I did. Choirs, rock bands, sports teams, dance studios: There was no place where I was safe. ‘She looks up to you,’ my mom would say. I didn’t care. I just wanted a piece of my life that didn’t involve my little sister. When I complained to my mother, she’d just smile and say, ‘One day you’ll want her around.’ Sure.


It’s strange how mothers have this habit of being right about everything. When I was sixteen and my sister was thirteen, we went through a series of life-chang- ing events together that would forever change our relationship. First, my parents announced that they were divorcing. My dad packed up and moved to an apartment in New Hampshire — more than a half hour drive away from our cozy house in Massachusetts. He bought me my first car and I often went with Susie to his place when we missed him a lot. During those trips we started discussing our troubles and making plans about how to reunite the family again. But a year later, our father met his future second wife and moved again; this time to Indiana. This meant we could only see him once or twice a year, as opposed to once every few weeks. That was hard.


Yet those few months changed my relationship with my sister forever. We started having more heart-to-heart talks as opposed to silly fights. Over time, she became my most cherished friend. It’s not uncommon for us to have three-hour-long telephone conversations about everything or about nothing—just laughing over memories from childhood or high school.


She’s the only person who’s been through all of the tough stuff that I’ve been through, and the only person who truly understands me. Susie and I have shared so much. She’s been my roommate, my friend, and my partner in crime. We’ve done plays together, gone to amusement parks, sang, and taken long road trips together. We’ve laughed until our sides hurt, and wiped away each others’ tears.


Even though distance separates us now, we’re closer than ever. Sisters share a special bond. They’ve seen all of your most embarrassing moments. They know your deepest, darkest secrets. Most importantly, they love you unconditionally. I’m lucky to be able to say that my little sister is my best friend. I only wish everyone could be so fortunate.


За­да­ние 12 № 162. Why is the collage of photographs more important for Kathy than the other wedding presents?


1) It reminds Kathy of her wedding.

2) Kathy didn’t like the other wedding presents.

3) It was the most expensive present.

4) Kathy’s sister made it for her.


За­да­ние 13 № 163. Why was Kathy against sharing a room with her sister?


1) They always quarreled.

2) Susie never left her alone.

3) They were of different age.

4) Susie said it was her own room.

За­да­ние 14 № 164. What did Kathy call the final straw in paragraph 3?


1) The fact that Susie often borrowed Kathy’s toys.

2) The fact that Susie never asked for the things she borrowed.

3) The fact that Susie began to wear Kathy’s clothes without her permission.

4) The fact that Susie broke all the toys she played with.

За­да­ние 15 № 165. What was Kathy’s greatest wish that she mentioned in paragraph 4?


1) To have a separate life from her sister.

2) To live in peace and safety.

3) To never part with her sister.

4) To have the same hobbies as her sister


За­да­ние 16 № 166. When did the relationship between Susie and Kathy start to change?


1) When they moved to a pew house.

2) Aiter their father married the second time.

3) After their parents divorced.

4) When Kathy’s father bought her a car.


За­да­ние 17 № 167. What are Kathy’s relationships with Susie now?


1) They hate each other.

2) They are close friends.

3) They are business partners.

4) They do not see each other.


За­да­ние 18 № 168. Why do the sisters understand each other?


1) They have got the same hobbies.

2) They have similar sense of humour.

3) They love each other very much.

4) They have similar life experience.



Lost in the Heat

Polina didn't want to move to America. At the age of 12, she was very set in her ways and did not welcome change. She had a group of friends whom she had known since nursery school and enjoyed hanging out with. She also could hardly speak any English, so she doubted she would be able to make any new friends.

Her father was selected to be a Russian representative for the International Space Station project to NASA. They were moving to Houston, Texas, for a year. First, she imagined Texas to be desert with cowboys riding around on horses. When she found out that Houston was a big city, however, she imagined skyscrapers.

The reality turned out completely different.

Nobody actually lived in the city. It was surrounded by many suburbs, which were really just small towns. They lived in a suburb called Katy, in a neighborhood with houses that all looked the same as if stamped out by identical cookie-cutters.

She had really been afraid of the heat. On the big wall map they had in Moscow she had seen that Houston was the same latitude as Africa. But now she barely noticed it because of the blasting freezing air-conditioning everywhere: in the car, in every store, and at home. Every time she stepped outside, however, she was assaulted by the overpowering heat.

Her parents were off at work, so she found herself alone most of the time. She tried watching TV but couldn't understand anything. She thought about chatting with her friends back in Moscow, but then remembered that it was the middle of the night on account of the time difference.

That was when she decided to go for a walk. She knew it would be scorchingly hot, but she felt suffocated sitting inside. So she lathered up with sunscreen, laced up her sneakers and went outside.

The full force of the heat was like a blazing furnace. But after a while she got used to it. She walked along the street, thinking about how strange it was here. In Moscow, everyone lived in apartment buildings with courtyards. In the summer, there would be lots of people out strolling, enjoying themselves. Here she didn't see a single person. An occasional car passed by but that was it.

She kept walking aimlessly until she stumbled upon a highway. To her left, there was a field with cows. Beyond this small oasis of country life, other housing communities were visible in the distance, mirroring the one she lived in. Further down the highway was a small convenience store. She was thirsty so she walked there to get a drink.

When she opened the door, she felt frosty relief from the heat. The cashier looked up, smiled and said,

"How’re you doing? It sure is a scorcher today ain't it?"

Polina had no idea what he was talking about, so she just stared at him.

"What's wrong, little darling, cat got your tongue?" he asked, but she just paid and left.

She didn't notice which direction she was going and ended up in a neighborhood she assumed was hers. Everything looked familiar. It was only when she couldn't find her house that she knew she was totally lost. She was sweating and feeling dizzy and when everything started going black, she remembered the cows. She should have looked for the field with cows to get back. That was her last thought...

When she woke up, she was lying in a hospital bed. Her mom and dad were there.

“What happened?” she inquired.

A nurse didn't understand the language, but guessed her question.

"You're lucky to be alive little lady, you had a heat stroke. Guess you know now why people don't go on walks in the Texas heat!"


За­да­ние 12 № 2463. Which of the following was NOT the reason why Polina didn’t want to move to


1) She was afraid of doing badly at school.

2) She didn't want to part with her friends.

3) She was reluctant to change her lifestyle.

4) She was afraid of Texan climate.


За­да­ние 13 № 2464. In America, Polina's family lived


1) in an apartment in central Houston.

2) together with her aunt Katy’s family.

3) in a house in the outskirts of Houston.

4) on a cow farm in the desert.


За­да­ние 14 № 2465. Polina felt bad sitting at home because


1) she was bored and couldn't think of anything to do.

2) it was really hot in the house they lived in.

3) she was suffering from allergies.

4) that was how air-conditioning made her feel.


За­да­ние 15 № 2466. The cashier in the convenience store was


1) worried about Polina's health.

2) friendly and tried to make small talk with Polina.

3) wondering whether Polina had lost her cat.

4) trying to sell her an item she didn’t need.


За­да­ние 16 № 2467. Polina couldn't find her house because


1) she'd left the map of her neighborhood at home.

2) she didn’t know her street address.

3) she ended up in the wrong neighborhood.

4) the cashier in the store gave her the wrong directions.


За­да­ние 17 № 2468. Right before losing consciousness Polina thought about cows because


1) she was thirsty and was craving milk.

2) the cows were the last thing she’d seen before fainting.

3) the heat stroke she was suffering from made her hallucinate.

4) she thought that cows would have helped her find her home.


За­да­ние 18 № 2469. According to the nurse, people in Texas don’t go on walks because they


1) think it can be dangerous for their health.

2) are too lazy to walk.

3) are afraid of the criminal activity in the neighbourhood.

4) are too busy making money.



Kimbolton School

I went to school in a large village called Kimbolton in the county of Cambridgeshire. In recent years I have been reminded of my time there by, strangely enough, the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. The first and most obvious reason is that Kimbolton is a castle school; just as Hogwarts is the castle school for Harry and his friends.


Hogwarts is of course filled with ghosts, such as Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington — better known as Nearly Headless Nick: But Kimbolton also has a reputation for being haunted and in fact lays claim to a very famous ghost. This is Katherine of Aragon — the first wife of Henry VIII. She was sent there in April 1534 after refusing to accept the legality of Henry’s divorce proceedings. When I arrived there as a first year in September 1971,1 was told that her ghost was often seen — but only from the knees upwards. This, I was told, was because she walked on the original rather than the later modern floors. I am ashamed to confess that at times we set up “ghostly” tricks to scare our friends. These usually involved almost invisible fishing lines being used to “mysteriously” open and close cupboards or move chairs.


There are other comparisons to be made however. In Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School there are four “houses”; Gryfinndor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and the dark house, Slytherin. The four houses being named after famous headmasters of Hogwarts’ past. At Kimbolton we also had four houses named for the same reason. They were called Ingram’s, Bailey’s, Dawson’s and Gibbard’s. As I recall there were no sinister connotations with any house although probably the Slytherin equivalent was Gibbard’s. At the time Gibbard’s was the house for “day boys” who lived at home and travelled to school each day. The other houses were for the “borders” that lived in the castle. The dayboys were nicknamed “day bugs” and the residents were called “border bugs”. I was a day bug.


There were common rooms and detentions which I suppose all schools still have. But few schools, like Kimbolton, have narrow, long corridors lined with portraits whose eyes seem to follow you round! Mind you — none of our paintings spoke to us as they sometimes do at Hogwarts! Kimbolton also has a fantastic staircase in the castle and huge murals by the Italian Rococo painter Pellegrini.


Apart from the castle, ghosts and houses there were other comparisons to Hogwarts. The teachers (who were called masters) also wore black gowns and addressed us only by our surnames. We pupils had to wear suits and ties to school and actually were not allowed to take our jackets off unless the day was exceptionally hot. But there were some fairly important differences too.


Firstly Kimbolton, at the time I was there, was a school only for boys. It has changed since, but then we had no Hermione Grangers to fight against evil with. We played football and cricket rather than Quidditch and took ‘O’ Levels rather than OWLS. That is “Ordinary” Level exams rather than “Ordinary Wizarding Levels”. But still, looking back on it all, I have to say that I, at least, thought the place was rather magical. 


За­да­ние 12 № 1680. The first similarity between the narrator’s school and Hogwarts is that both schools are situated


1) far from pupils’ homes.

2) in an unusual school building.

3) not far from London.

4) near a village.


За­да­ние 13 № 1681. Students in Kimbolton School believed that


1) Katherine of Aragon became a ghost as Henry VIII murdered her.

2) the ghost could be scared by moving furniture with a fishing line.

3) the ghost regularly appeared in the castle at midnight.

4) the ghost could be seen partially, if at all.


За­да­ние 14 № 1682. Kimbolton School had four houses that


1) got their names as in Hogwarts.

2) selected students similarly to Hogwarts.

3) had different reputation as at Hogwarts.

4) had the same names as houses at Hogwarts.


За­да­ние 15 № 1683. The house the narrator belonged to


1) was the privileged one.

2) had an evil reputation.

3) had one particular difference.

4) was similar to other houses.


За­да­ние 16 № 1684. The narrator thinks Kimbolton was not like other schools as it had


1) a special system of punishments.

2) a very special kind of decor.

3) common rooms.

4) several houses.


За­да­ние 17 № 1685. Both teachers and students in the narrator’s school


1) had to follow a certain dress code.

2) were dressed in school uniform.

3) were addressed by their surnames.

4) could be compared to the ones in Hogwarts.


За­да­ние 18 № 1686. According to the narrator, Kimbolton was unlike Hogwarts because it


1) had a different exam system.

2) had a different kind of magic.

3) used to be a school for boys.

4) had recently become a school for boys.


Why The English Love Drinking Tea


Ever since the 18th century, tea time has been an integral part of English life. People from other countries have a set idea of what English tea time means: smart dresses, delicate finger foods, and hot tea all served on the best china.

This is not a passion that England shares with most of the rest of the world, where coffee is almost universally more popular than tea. In fact, the per capita consumption of tea in the United Kingdom is 12.85kg per year, which is almost three times as much as in Morocco which comes in second place at 4.34kg per year. This per capita consumption is even higher if you looked at England (one of 4 countries in the United Kingdom) on its own. Perhaps surprisingly, in Japan the popularity of tea has been suffering a slight decline since the start of the new millennium.

During the early 1700s the British East India Company began growing tea in the newly conquered Indian territories on an industrial scale using cheap labour and conquered land. The massive scale of tea production in India, the majority of which was sent straight to England, sent the price of tea plummeting. Suddenly, what was once a rare treat for the wealthy became an affordable product which ordinary British people could enjoy on a regular basis. Not only that, but sugar was just starting to become more affordable for ordinary people as well. As a result of this, tea became a powerful symbol of the benefits of Empire for the ordinary English citizen.

It is one thing to understand why the English first started drinking so much tea, but that doesn't really explain why we continue to do so some 300 years later. My own personal opinion is that one of the biggest reasons behind our continuing love affair with tea is because we find tea comforting. Its familiarity is like a cosy comfort blanket to us, and the long tradition of tea drinking provides a calming ritual with which to punctuate the day.

At times of stress, grief or hardship it is not uncommon for the first response of an English person to be 'making a nice cup of tea'. The sheer familiarity of the ritual serves to centre you, diminishing the pressing concerns of the moment by making them seem small in comparison to such a long and often repeated tradition.

Being an Englishman, I prefer drinking tea with milk. Debate continues whether to put milk in the cup before or after pouring tea. Originally milk was always added before tea to prevent hot tea from cracking the fine bone china cups. Tea experts agree with this tradition but also state that tea needs to be left in the water on its own for the flavour and colour to develop and a splash of milk should be added later.

Tea itself seems to have calming properties, and it most certainly has a range of proven and suspected health benefits. Although many English people actually drink more tea than is strictly good for them, it cannot be denied that in moderate quantities (4 cups per day is usually said to be ideal) tea drinking has a remarkable range of health benefits. Studies have shown that drinking three to four cups of tea per day reduces your risk of having a heart attack, as well as protecting you from a range of degenerative heart conditions. Although the link has not yet been fully proven, several studies have suggested that tea drinking may help to prevent a range of different kinds of cancer, including lung cancer.


За­да­ние 12 № 2918. All over the world people think that tea ceremony in England is


1) similar to tea ceremony in China.

2) connected with the cult of food.

3) is conducted in a formal style.

4) the same as it was in the 18th century.


За­да­ние 13 № 2919. Tea consumption


1) is three times as much in Morocco as in China.

2) differs from country to country within the UK.

3) is the same as coffee in many countries of the world.

4) is increasing rapidly in Japan.


За­да­ние 14 № 2920. Which statement DOES NOT refer to the content of paragraph 3?


1) Tea companies grew a lot of tea in colonies.

2) Prices for tea were high before the 18th century.

3) England exported tea to many countries.

4) Sugar became less expensive.


За­да­ние 15 № 2921. The author believes that the English love tea because


1) tea is the best drink to start the day.

2) tea has a soothing effect on people.

3) people in England warm up with tea.

4) tea is a good way to begin relationship.


За­да­ние 16 № 2922. The reason for drinking a cup of tea when suffering is that it


1) makes the situation less stressful.

2) gives you time to forget about the problem.

3) doesn't take much tme or effort to make.

4) it allows your body muscles to relax.


За­да­ние 17 № 2923. People used to pour milk in a cup before tea


1) to change the taste of tea.

2) not to spoil the flavour of tea.

3) to achieve the best colour of tea.

4) not to break expensive cups.


За­да­ние 18 № 2924. According to the text, people who like tea


1) over time may develop lung cancer.

2) should drink as much tea as they like.

3) should not drink over 4 cups a day.

4) have a good chance to live a healthy life.


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