We’ve done quite a lot of English grammar recently, and although we try to make it interesting, it’s grammar, so for most people it’s a bit boring. Today we will just pick a British topic and talk about something interesting, and all you have to do is listen and practice your English listening skills.
We have lots of English listening practice articles and podcasts on our website. These are great if you are studying for ESL exams. Whether your listening to native English speakers for an exam or just to improve your spoken English, you will find the Adept English learning approach to improving your English a real help.
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Haggle Memorabilia Jigsaws Thankyou
|In The UK||4|
|So Sign Up||2|
|At Kempton Park||2|
|There Are Stalls||2|
|Sunbury Antiques Fair||2|
Hi and welcome to this podcast from Adept English.
One of the things which you seem to enjoy hearing about is what we do in the UK in our leisure time. Leisure, L-E-I-S-U-R-E – that’s a hard word to pronounce. ‘Leisure’ is a noun – pronounced ‘leisure’ in the US, but ‘leisure’ in the UK – and it means that time when you’re free from work. It’s your non-work time – time when you get to do what you like. So our feedback is that you like to hear about what people do for leisure time, what people in the UK do in their spare time.
So one of the things which I occasionally do is I go to an antique fair. There’s a very famous one in West London, close to where I live – at somewhere called Kempton Park. Kempton Park is a place where normally there is horse racing. There’s a stadium and a track for horses to race on. But on the 2nd and final Tuesday morning every month, the grounds of the race track at Kempton Park are given over to an antique fair.
‘Antique’ – is another difficult to pronounce word – it’s spelt A-N-T-I-Q-U-E, ‘antique’. And an antique is any object, usually of some value, which is over 100 years old. And a ‘fair’, F-A-I-R in this context means a sale, an event where people come with things to sell and other people come and buy those things. And actually, strictly speaking not everything at Sunbury is actually antique, not everything is over 100 years old. But most of it is old items of value – there’s nothing new there. So that’s where I went just this morning – they’ve started having fairs again.
So there are stalls, S-T-A-L-L. ‘Stall’ is a word which means ‘a temporary shop’. It looks more like a table, full of things to buy. On the stalls at Sunbury, you’ll find glasses, things made of metal – silver perhaps, you’ll find wooden things, objects for the house – mirrors, lamps, shelves, pictures. You’ll find jewellery, old clothes, old rugs, garden furniture, machinery, street signs, tools, weapons, things from the war, jigsaws and some of the strangest things – perhaps as though they’ve come from a movie set, a film set. And every time I go to Sunbury, I end up thinking that there is a lot of stuff there that I wouldn’t want in my house.
Some of it is very interesting to look at, some of it reminds me of times past and a lot of it I wouldn’t want to buy. But usually, amongst all this stuff that I wouldn’t want to buy, there are special things, I find ‘treasures’ that I do like. ‘Treasure’, T-R-E-A-S-U-R-E, perhaps another difficult to pronounce word.
My mom decorated with lots of antiques. I never liked it when I was a little girl - I wanted to live in a modern house. But now I love it.
⭐ Paris Hilton
That may be what pirates look for, but in this context, by using the word ‘treasure’, I mean I find something that’s special to me, something that I like that’s precious to me, like treasure. And often it takes some looking – you have to go with an open mind. If you’re set on finding a particular item or type of item, you probably won’t find it. Not that time, anyway.
But if you’re interested in nice things for your house or furniture, things from the war, metalwork, swords, china, vases, pots – or just memorabilia, you’ll find it at Sunbury. ‘Memorabilia’ is a word for all those things, physical items which remind you of a certain time, a certain person or maybe a music band – so you could have Beatles Memorabilia for example. So that’s ‘memorabilia’, M-E-M-O-R-A-B-I-L-I-A.
The fair at Sunbury opens early – 6.30am and really by 12pm midday, it’s done. The stall-holders, so the people who rent space there, so they can sell their things – they come from all over the UK. They come in vans and cars and set up their stalls. And the customers, come from all over the world. Many of them are British of course, but you also hear lots of other languages being spoken as you go round. And the items, the things on sale – of course, many of them are from the UK, but there are stalls of items from Africa, items with Islamic symbols on them, there are things from China, Japan, India, Europe, all over the world.
A photograph of Turkish lamps sold in an antique fair in this weeks English listening practice lesson.
You don’t always know the history of the item that you buy – but sometimes the stall holders can ‘fill you in’. And this is a place where you ‘haggle’. The verb ‘to haggle’, H-A-G-G-L-E means that when you’re buying something, you don’t just accept the price that they tell you – you try to negotiate. They say ‘Oh that’s £15’, so you say ‘Will you accept £12?’. And they say, ‘No, but I’ll do it for £13’. There aren’t many places in British culture that you can haggle – but an antiques fair is one of them.
Another thing which is fascinating – it’s a good place to ‘people watch’. When we say ‘to people watch’, it means that we’re curious about other people. We like to see lots of different types of people and we find it interesting. Many of the people who have the stalls – and indeed, many of the customers too are what you might call somewhat ‘eccentric’. ‘Eccentric’ is an adjective, E-C-C-E-N-T-R-I-C – and it means people who don’t fit the norm, who’re interesting because they’re unusual in some way.
Sunbury Antiques fair is full of people like that. But most people are friendly – and when you buy things or show interest in what’s for sale, you can end up having a really friendly conversation with the stall-holder. Today when I went, one stall-holder complemented me on my trainers, then said that I looked like a frog from behind. Well, thankyou very much – that’s great! But the point is that it’s a good place to have a conversation, a good place to practice your English maybe, if you get chance.
And there’s even a van, which sells tea and coffee and bacon or sausage or egg rolls. So the tradition when we go, is that we have a break half-way through – it’s hard work, all that looking! And you do come away from the fair exhausted, tired! But also you usually come away happy with what you’ve bought! Happy with the ‘treasures’ that you’ve found. So if you’re in the UK, on the second or last Tuesday of the month and you’re anywhere near West London, look it up! You might find something really interesting to haggle over.
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Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.