In today’s English listening practice podcast, you can learn English comprehension while learning about British pubs and British culture. We take some positive news from a pub forced to have a three day lock-in. A great podcast for those who want to learn how to speak with a British accent. This is great, free English listening practice, with a free transcript which you can download here.
Everyone in the world has their own opinion about pubs, but there are some things we all agree on: Cold drinks. Comfortable seats. And a place to sit back with your friends and play a few rounds of pool, darts, or maybe even karaoke? With so many English pubs and inns struggling after a long forced shutdown because of the pandemic, it’s time for some positive news.
The idea of a pub has deep roots in English history. A pub was originally a meeting place, long before public houses and bars became popular. Today, pubs remain an important part of English culture. And so do the colourful names that English pubs have throughout the country. This podcast will help you practice your English listening skills while gaining knowledge on this fascinating piece of history that has played such an important part in British folklore and culture.
I would like to say a big thank you for listening to our English language learning podcasts. It’s really nice to hear that people are finding our podcasts useful. If you would like to get in touch, and tell us about your experience, we would love to hear from you. Please do email or post a comment on YouTube.
We have lots of English language learning podcasts you can listen to right now. Join us and using our Listen and Learn approach to learning the English language, you’ll experience British culture, gain an insight into Britain’s history and learn English in a fun and interesting way. Learning English never has to be hard or boring.
Regulars Amateur Fascinating Folklore Reunion Impromptu Particular
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Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. How about you practise your English language understanding today by listening to me talk about a story from the news in the UK - from last week? It’s a nice story and represents some elements of British popular culture too!
So if you’ve ever been to the UK, you’ll have heard of ‘the British pub’. That’s ‘pub’, PUB and it’s short for ‘public house’. So a pub essentially is like a bar - it serves alcohol. But pubs are different because in some ways, they are more like a house - hence ‘public house’. Whereas a bar that serves alcohol, is more likely to be in the town centre, pubs can be in the town centre - or they can be out of town, in villages or in the middle of the countryside, ‘in the middle of nowhere’ as we say. And they’re more like a house I guess, in some ways, in that they have comfy chairs, maybe a log fire in the winter, or in the summer, you might sit in the pub garden to have your drinks.
Pubs also serve food, of course. A pub aims to be a bit like your home in some ways - it’s meant to be comfortable, comforting - as well as possibly lively - like a bar might be. If you go regularly, you might get to know the bar staff and the other people in the pub. You might have friends in the pub - and you might enjoy playing on a team for darts, pool - or pub quizzes! They’re popular things to do in a British pub. And if a pub is called ‘an inn’, that’s ‘INN’, then there is a tradition that it’s got rooms, where you can pay to stay overnight - like a very friendly hotel.
Many of the inns in the UK date back to when travel happened by horse and coach, before the days of cars, and there were inns along the way, so that people could stay overnight and have their horses fed and rested before continuing their journey. Travelling to a place by horse and coach might have taken several days, where now we just zoom up the motorway in a day! I do wonder whether when we all have electric cars, it might be a bit like that again! The point is though - pubs and inns are part of a long tradition in the UK.
Anyway, pubs in the UK have been having a difficult time recently. Of course, because of the pandemic - having to shut their doors most of last year - and then being able to open only with restricted numbers hasn’t helped pubs. And we’ll have to wait and see this winter, whether the UK government decides to place restrictions on pubs and restaurants once again. But aside from the effect of the pandemic, pubs were having a more difficult time already.
People are drinking less alcohol in the UK. Young people in particular, do not on the whole, drink as much alcohol as the older people did when they were young. Or they do more drinking at home and in nightclubs. The pub is still very much part of British culture, but people are equally likely to go out to a restaurant to eat. And whereas 20 years ago, you would get a lot of people in the pub who were ‘regulars’, REGULARS - that means people who might go to the pub regularly - every day even. Perhaps people have less time to do that now.
People might quite rightly see it as a bit of a health problem or even an alcohol problem, if you were in the pub every day! So pubs have been seeing a bit of decline - that means they’re getting fewer and they’re doing less business. And you may see a pub ‘for sale’, with the intention of it being converted to a house. This also happens with churches too in the UK. Fewer and fewer people go to church - and so to preserve the church building, people may buy it and convert it to a house. Pubs and churches are of course, amongst the oldest buildings in the UK so it’s important to preserve them, even if they aren’t serving the same purpose. Some are hundreds of years old - so it’s important to keep them.
Before I go on to talk about this news story, just a reminder that if you would like some practice at English conversation and you’d like more structured lessons on particular subjects - you can still buy Course One, Activate Your Listening.
This course is a Listen & Learn course - it takes the same approach to English language learning as our podcasts - bit more structure and focuses on particular vocabulary. And it’s got conversation between two people. It’s well worth doing! Go to our website at adeptenglish.com to find out more about our courses.
Anyway, a story in the news from last week concerns a pub in the UK, which was built in the 17th Century - that means in the 1600s. We had snow last week in the UK - and I know that much of Europe finds it amusing when we have snow in the UK, because we deal with it so badly! In many parts of Europe snow is a normal part of winter - so people and transport systems are used to dealing with it. It’s just ‘business as usual’ when there’s snow. But in the UK, snow is not so common, so when we have it, things tend not to work so well.
Where I live in the south, there was a bit of snow last week and it was freezing cold, but not too much of a problem. We had to clear snow off my car to get out in the morning. However, further north, there was the damage caused by Storm Arwen and very strong winds. For example, my sister was without electricity for three days. But for other parts of the north of England, there was snow. Quite a lot of it.
A photograph of a cold and snowy UK. Help spread the word about English Listening Practice to people interested in improving their English listening skills
So this news story concerns a pub called The Tan Hill Inn, in Yorkshire. This pub is already known as ‘the highest pub in England’ - and it stands at an altitude, at a height of 1,732 feet - that’s 527 metres. So basically The Tan Hill Inn is situated on high ground, up a mountain if you like. It’s actually on the Pennines, which is a range of hills in Northern England. And last week, on 26th November when it snowed, it really snowed at The Tan Hill Inn. So several feet of snow fell. But inside the pub on Friday evening, 61 people had gathered to watch some live music.
The live music on offer - an Oasis tribute band called ‘Noasis’. You may have heard of the British band ‘Oasis’ - Noel and Liam Gallagher, who were well known in the 1990s? You’ve probably heard their music anyway - ‘Wonderwall’ for example is a well-known song? And you may be familiar with the idea of a ‘tribute band’? This is a phenomenon which happens all round the world. You have a famous music band, from the past, who are no longer performing. So you get amateur musicians forming a ‘tribute band’, often with a similar name - and they perform the old songs live. Abba have a lot of tribute bands - ‘Bjorn Again’ is a famous one. It gives people who were too young to enjoy the actual band, a chance to hear the music live.
Anyway, guests at The Tan Hill Inn in Yorkshire came to watch the Oasis tribute band called ‘Noasis’ play live. And well, everyone was at the pub rather longer than expected! In fact, they were there for three days! But what’s quite funny about this - is that actually everyone is reported to have had a really nice time! Beds were made for all the people stuck there and for several dogs, who were guests too. Almost like an impromptu holiday.
The word ‘impromptu’, IMPROMPTU means ‘unplanned’, ‘unexpected’. Perhaps because people were very happy to be snowed in, in a pub - and perhaps because the alcohol was flowing - people seemed quite happy to just accept their situation of being locked in. Apparently there was plenty of beer and lots of food - and everyone made friends with everyone else.
They had a lovely time. People are sometimes more sociable, more open, nicer to one another, when there’s an unusual situation like this one. And the weather in the UK is never so bad that you’re going to be ‘snowed in’ indefinitely - the temperature will always rise and you will be able to get out again soon enough. The cold never lasts that long! So when it became clear that the guests at The Tan Hill Inn were stuck, people just made adjustments.
The manager of the pub, Nicola Townsend made a rule that nobody was to drink alcohol before 3 o’clock in the afternoon. And the Oasis tribute band played many more times. People in the pub did quizzes, board games, card games - even karaoke. That’s KARAOKE - and that’s when people have a go at singing with a microphone to well-known songs. People said afterwards it was like some big, lovely family party.
15 barrels of beer were consumed - and people had such a lovely time they were even talking of having a reunion next year! A ‘reunion’, REUNION is when you meet again with old friends - and people in this lock-in situation, clearly made good friends with one another! The pub manager, Nicola Townsend commented ‘People came here as strangers on Friday night, but on Monday they’re leaving as friends’. On Facebook, people were talking about it being a ‘life-changing experience’ and Liam Gallagher, member of the actual Oasis band tweeted to say how jealous he was - how he wished he’d been there for the three day lock-in!
And vocabulary - a pub ‘lock-in’? Well, that’s when the doors of the pub shut and the people inside are then invited to have a private party, after closing time. Sometimes, it seems being ‘locked in’ might be quite a pleasant experience!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.