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Oxford University England - Guide to a Walk Around

Oxford Rail Station: The Start of a Half-Day Walk Around the Oxford Colleges

BikesatOxfordTrainStation

Thousands of bicycles fill the immense bicycle parking area near Oxford Rail Station.

29 December 2008

The Influence of English on Russian and Ukrainian

I am a teacher of EFL at Kirovohrad Pedagogical University (Ukraine). I have two native languages: Ukrainian and Russian (both are Eastern Slavic languages). Ukrainian is the official language in my home country, but for many people Russian still remains not only the native language, but also the main means of communication.

Since my country became independent we have not been a closed society anymore. We can read any Western newspapers, books, watch original movies and in general we experience more and more communication with Western countries. In this way, the influence of English is becoming more obvious.

Of course, there were English words in Russian and Ukrainian in the Soviet period (we pronounced "girl friend", "boy-friend", "weekend", "face", "happy end" almost in the same way as they are pronounced in English").

28 December 2008

Traveling to London

London can be an intimidating city, but it's also one of the world's most fascinating places. Here's some advice for first-time visitors.

9 December 2008

London nightlife: clubbing

London DJs are famous the world over, earning huge sums just for playing records, and the club scene here is second to none. Clubs come and go, some going before they've come - so it's worth checking on the day if you can. The usual free and not-so-free listings magazines give a good view of the week ahead, though some have plugs to get in.

In summer the main focus is the Mediterranean Isle of Ibiza, where clubbers regard the beach as somewhere to chill after all-night sessions. Many famous DJs appear in London to promote their overseas ventures.

Again it's the choice and range that's so impressive - through the staple 2-black-guys-and-a-drumbox, through to 'cheese' and clubs where playing board games is the raison d'etre. The current trend is UK Underground Garage which the Ministry of Sound has recently gone big on. The Ministry may seem like an old established multinational, but it's really up-to-date, it's continuing success is based at being at the cutting edge, and then refining the experience. Bagley's was first, but the MOS muscled in and outdid them.


There's also, and this is very British too, a healthy cross-over between dance music and traditional ethnic music, with 'banghra' music adding in Indian Sub-Continental sounds, as well as the ubiquitous reggae, afro, latin hybrids.

The excellent NME Music Paper online has an extensive search engine for gigs and clubs - you can also buy tickets there

26 September 2008

Notes on Cambridge

The town of Cambridge lies, as its name suggests, on the river Cam, which winds its way through many of the colleges along the 'Backs'. The train station is over a mile from the centre, so catch a bus - there's nothing worth seeing on the way. The town is conveniently arranged in the form of a circuit - most of the colleges are off it on either side, though you should walk along Queen's Road as well - the classic view towards King's College Chapel is from here.



To do the circuit you need to alight from the bus at Emmanuel College - ask the bus driver for the nearest stop. From there, (John Harvard's Old College) stopping to explore the colleges on route, walk down St Andrew's Street. Christ's College is on your right - make sure you walk through to the gardens. CP Snow's novel 'The Masters' is set here. Further up Sidney Street (Sidney Sussex College - only the front quad is worth the trip). 

20 September 2008

Britain: public transport in towns and cities

Public transport services in urban areas, as elsewhere in Europe, suffer from the fact that there is so much private traffic on the roads that they are not as cheap, as frequent or as fast as they otherwise could be. They also stop running inconveniently early at night. Efforts have been made to speed up journey times by reserving certain lanes for buses, but so far there has been no widespread attempt to give priority to public transport vehicles at traffic lights. An interesting modern development is that trams, which disappeared from the country's towns during the 1950Sand 1960 s, are now making a comeback. Research has shown that people seem to have more confidence in the reliability of a service which runs on tracks, and are therefore readier to use a tram than they would be to use an ordinary bus.

Britain is on e of the few countries in Europe where double-decker buses (I.e. with two floors) are a common Sight. Although single-deckers have also been in use since the I960s, London still has more than 3,000 double-deckers in operation. In their original form they were 'hop-o n, hop-off ' buses. That is, there were no doors, just an opening at the back to the outside .There was a conductor who walked around collecting fares while the bus was moving. However, most buses these days , including double-deckers, have separate doors for getting on and off and no conductor (fares are paid to the driver).

10 September 2008

London: when to come

We think London is at its best in the last two weeks of September. But there's actually plenty to do and see the year round. Weather is likely to be a major factor and it often surprises visitors to find that August is quite a wet month.
For a list of military ceremonial events (there are a surprising number, not just changing of the guard) see the Army's Website. Actually it can be more fun to attend a rehearsal of an event such as 'Trooping of the Colour' consult the list before you come.  

 London Calendar:

January: Often a pleasant month - not too cold, and not too wet. The very end of the month sees Atlantic gales blowing in. The Sales are on and everyone is shopping crazy. The theatres & concert halls are getting back to normal after the Christmas rush: good ticket availability. On the 1st a (crap) New-York style parade through the centre of town. Positive: sales, xmas theatre season still on, but easier to get tickets. Negative: people have the post-xmas blues, can be overcast.

2 September 2008

Britain: Attitudes to food

        Britain and good food are two things which are not commonly associated. Visitors to Britain have widely varying opinions about all sorts of aspects of the country, but most of them seem to agree that the food is terrible. Why? One reason could simply be that British tastes are different from everybody else's. However, the most common complaint is not so much that British food has a strange, unpleasant taste, but rather that it has very little taste at all. The vegetables, for example, are overcooked. It is all too bland.

25 August 2008

Britain: the four nations

People often refer to Britain by another name. They call it 'England'. But this is not strictly correct, and it can make some people angry. England is only one of the four nations of the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland).

24 August 2008
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