Tony; Whew. The disco wasn't bad but I'm glad to escape from the noise. Aren't you?
Tony: Richard, I'd forgotten. You've got a letter. Now where did I put it? There it is. Under the gas bill.
Richard: Oh, from my brother.
Tony: Good. How many brothers have you got?
Richard: Only one.
Tony: Older or younger?
Richard: Much older.
Tony: How much?
Richard: Five years.
Tony: Get on all right?
Richard: Yes, all right.
Tony: Tell me about Mark. You must have a lot in common. Such as problems.
Richard: Well, when I have a real problem I usually discuss it with Mark.
Tony: And what is a real problem?
Richard: Money is one. But Mark never minds helping me out.
Tony: You say money is one problem. I suppose you mean there are others.
Richard: Well, yes. Of course there are. Friends and possessions. He knows who my friends are and I know who his friends are. But when we meet we hardly ever speak. His friends aren't interested in talking to my friends. And my friends think his friends are boring and patronising.
Tony: Go on, Richard. You mentioned possessions. What about possessions?
Richard: I can never find my favorite cassettes. Mark and his friends keep borrowing them. I suppose Mark has a point when he says he can't find his calculator. I use it whenever I can find it.
Tony: So ... if you were in real trouble, who would you contact first?
Richard: Mark, of course.
Chairman: Now Mr. Grant has a question, I think, on gardening. Mr. Grant?
Mr. Grant: Can the team please suggest any suitable gardening task that could be given to young children between eight and twelve years old.
Chairman: I usually get them to wash my car. But a gardening task, well, what do you suggest, Peter?
Peter: There's a great tendency among some people I know to treat young children like slave labor. I don't think you should. I think you should give them a job which is going to be useful to you, not one that you would object to doing yourself and, if possible, one which is going to be of some educational benefit to them. A job I would suggest is hand weeding.
Chairman: You must have thought about this, Jeff. What job would you give them?
Jeff: Well, I'd sooner have them eating ice cream. No, seriously, I like having young people in the garden. One thing that they enjoy doing, because they get very messy, is cleaning tools, you know spades, rakes and things like that. I mean you give a little boy an old rag to clean them with and he is so happy. Another job they love and which I hate absolutely is edging. You know, trying to give a shape to the lawn. They make a horrible mess of it cutting it smaller and smaller and giving it no shape at all, but they thoroughly enjoy it. The other thing that I like to give them to do is pot washing. They're not so keen on that but I get them to wash the pots. But anything that's going to get them messy, lovely!
Chairman: What do you say, Susan?
Susan: Well, I would say heaven help any young boy or girl who came into my garden because their life would be made a misery. The only way I would let anybody touch my garden is if I was in the garden with them and working alongside, so I think the only thing to do is, whatever you do, work with them and make sure (a) that it's done properly and (b) that they're happy while they do it.
Three people are giving their opinions about boxing.
Speaker 1: When I look at a picture like this I feel ... hmm ... I feel ... I'm not really sure how I feel.
Interviewer: Disgusted perhaps? Horrified?
Speaker 1: No, no, I wouldn't say that.
Interviewer: Are you excited, perhaps?
Speaker 1: Excited? No, no, not at all. What's there to be excited about?
Interviewer: Well, a lot of people who go to boxing matches seem to be excited.
Speaker 1: Yes, I know. But I really can't understand why anybody should do that sort of thing at all.
Interviewer: What? Go to a boxing match? Or box in one?
Speaker 1: No, the first. I ... I think ... well ... it's hard to understand why people should want to earn their living by fighting, but I think I can. I mean, it's the money, isn't it? No, I meant going to a thing like that and watching it. I ... I just can't understand it. That's all.
Speaker 2: Well, before ... I used to be disgusted by the idea of this sort of thing. Men fighting for money. Blood. All that sort of thing.
Interviewer: And now?
Speaker 2: Well, since I've started going to a few boxing matches with my boyfriend, I think I see something ... something else in it.
Speaker 2: Well ... perhaps you'll be surprised when I say this ... but I think there's a real element of skill. Yes. Skill.
Interviewer: What kind of skill?
Speaker 2: Physical skill. Those men are really ... fit. And if you watch two good boxers ... boxers who know what they're doing ... you can see the skill. The way they ... they ... the way they watch each other and wait for an opening. That sort of thing. It's quite exciting, really. A bit like ... a chess game. Yes.
Speaker 3: To me it's just disgusting. A brutal, disgusting spectacle. It ought to be banned. It sickens me ... the very thought of it sickens me.
Woman: Well, what did you think of the film, Margaret?
Margaret: Oh, I enjoyed it actually. But I do like musicals and I think Julie Andrews is wonderful.
Woman: Lovely voice.
Margaret: Oh, beautiful.
Woman: And a lovely face.
Margaret: Oh, she's very very attractive.
Woman: I can't think why so many people criticize her.
Margaret: Oh well, a lot of people do, but I think it's a snob thing with a lot of people.
Woman: I've always enjoyed her films. Very well produced, too.
Margaret: Oh, excellent, yes.
Woman: Those lovely scenes in the Alps.
Margaret: Yes, where she was doing that number where she was dancing on the hills.
Woman: Mm, and that scene in the school. It brought tears to my eyes. What about next week then?
Margaret: Yes, what are we going to see next week? Do you know what's on? I haven't looked at the local paper to see what's on next week.
Woman: Well, I'd better give you a ring about it.
Margaret: All right. I hope there's another musical on.
Woman: Well, I believe there's Guys and Dolls on, if I remember well.
Margaret: Really? Are they bringing that back again?
Woman: I believe so. But it's on at the Odeon, on the other side of town, so it would involve quite a bit of travelling.
Margaret: Oh, yes, but I'd go anywhere to see Frank Sinatra.
Woman: I'd forgotten he was in it, so he is. Well, let's try and see that if we can.
Margaret: I have seen it before, of course, but they're always bringing it back.
Woman: What do you say, shall we meet for tea and then take in a matinee?
Margaret: Yes, that's a good idea. Where shall I meet you?
Woman: Now what about the Odeon cafe. Four o'clock?
Margaret; Fine. Which day?
Margaret: No, I can't make it Tuesday. How about Thursday?
Woman: Yes, Thursday is all right. My husband likes to go off to his club on Thursday.
Margaret: So Thursday, four o'clock, have tea and then go and see Guys and Dolls. Well, that'll be nice because I do like Frank Sinatra. So I'll see you on Thursday. I have to be off now. Goodbye.
Angela Rogers is describing a boat trip which she took with her husband down the Nile.
It was the summer of last year when we went. It was a special package holiday which included three days in Cairo, and a week cruising down the Nile. It sounded lovely in the brochure. Relaxing, luxurious, delicious food—all the usual things. And the boat looked nice in the picture. In fact when we got there, and on the boat, it was exactly the opposite of luxurious. It was positively uncomfortable. It was too small to be comfortable. And too hot. The only air-conditioning was from the wind, and inside, in the cabins, it was too hot to sleep, and the dining room was stifling.
My husband and I paid the special rate for the best cabin. I'm glad we didn't have to stay in the worst one. The cabins were very poorly equipped; there wasn't even a mirror, or a socket for a hair drier, or even a point for the electric razor. There was a shower, but the water pressure wasn't high enough to use it. The cabin was badly designed as well. There wasn't enough room to move. The beds took up three quarters of the space.
The brochure also talked about the mouth-watering French cuisine available on board, but you could hardly call it food. It was boring, and practically inedible. There was nothing to do, really. There was a table-tennis table, but one bat was broken. In the daytime the decks were so crowded, there wasn't even enough room to sit. We did stop now and then for a swim, but who wants to swim in that filthy river? I certainly didn't.
Professor Ernest Taylor is a sociologist and the author of a number of books. He was interviewed recently on CBC radio by Norman Blunt.
Blunt: Now Professor, in your latest book Granny Doesn't Live Here Any More, you suggest that Granny is a problem, and she is going to become even more of a problem in the future. Am I correct?
Taylor: Yes, in fact it's not only Granny who is a problem, it's Grandfather, too, and old people in general.
Blunt: Now, is this a peculiarly British phenomenon? It seems very sad that parents should give so much of their lives to bringing up their children and then, when they become old, be regarded as a problem.
Taylor: Our research was mainly carried out in Britain. In many countries it is still regarded as quite natural that a widowed mother should go to live with one of her married children, but in Britain, certainly during the last thirty or forty years, there has been considerable resistance to this idea.
Blunt: Now why do you think this is? Surely having a Granny about the place to take care of the younger children, and give a hand with the housework, can take a lot of pressure off a young wife, can't it?
Taylor: Yes, I think this is true. But remember the old people themselves are of ten totally opposed to the idea of going to live with the young family. And modern houses and flats are very small, much smaller than the sort of homes people used to live in.
Blunt: And when Granny gets very old, then the situation becomes even worse, doesn't it?
Taylor: Yes, as long as old people are able to look after themselves, the system works quite well. But as soon as they need anything in the way of care and attention, the situation becomes very difficult indeed.
Blunt: Well, presumably a point comes when old people have to go into a nursing home or something similar.
Taylor: Yes, but it's not as simple as that. Because of improvements in medical science, life expectancy is increasing all the time. The birth rate has fallen. This means that an ever smaller working population is having to provide for an ever larger number of old people, in need of care and attention. The number of places in old people's homes provided by the State is strictly limited. There are private nursing homes, but the cost is way out of reach of the average family.
Blunt: And how do you see the situation developing in the future?
Taylor: Well, obviously a lot of money is going to have to be spent. But it's difficult persuading people to do this. There aren't many votes for politicians in providing nursing homes for elderly.
Blunt: You don't see a reversal of this trend, with Granny going back to live with the family.
Taylor: I think this is most unlikely.
Woman A: I can't stand places like Majorca or the Costa Brava.
Man: No, nor can I.
Woman A: You know, where you have to share the beach with thousands of other people and everyone speaks English.
Woman B: Oh, I don't mind that.
Man: Oh, I do. I never go to places like that. I like to get right away from all the tourists, go somewhere that's really quiet and peaceful, like an island or something.
Woman A: Yes, so do I—where no one speaks English.
Woman B: What's wrong with people speaking English? I like meeting people when I'm on holiday. I like places with a good night life, and plenty of men around, and ... well, you know, where you can have a good time ...
I remember sailing on a pond that used to be by my grandfather's sawmill—we had a boat, and we used to go sailing on this. Also, we used to do a lot of climbing trees. We used to climb these trees for apples, which we then ate and made ourselves very sick. And my mother would come along and complain very strongly, but I don't think that stopped us at all. And of course in those days I had a bike, too, and I remember I used to push it up this very long hill near our house and then I'd get on and ride down as fast as I could go. My mother used to complain about that, too.
Doris: Hello. What's all this then, Harry?
Harry: What's all what? I'm making a cake.
Doris: Yes. We can see what you're up to. Obviously you're making a cake. What else would you be doing with a cake tin and a rolling pin on the table and the place absolutely covered in flour. Yes, we can see what you're doing. But why are you doing it?
Man: Yes, it's rather unlike you, Harry.
Harry: Well, I just decided I'd try and make one for a change instead of buying one. Anyway this is going to be a rather special sort of cake. You can't buy them like this. And while you're here, Doris, do you mind beating up half a dozen eggs in that blue bowl over there? You'll find a fork and egg whisk, whichever you prefer, in the drawer on the left.
Doris: OK. I don't mind. But what's so special about this cake?
Harry: It's a surprise cake.
Man: A surprise cake?
Harry: Yes. Doris, don't forget to add five tablespoons of sugar.
Doris: No, dear. But tell us about this surprise cake.
Harry: Well, it was an idea I had while I was lying in bed last night.
Man: Do you usually think of food in bed?
Harry: I wasn't thinking of food. I decided to have a party for some old friends of mine, but I want to give them a surprise.
Man: What kind of surprise?
Harry: Can you add a half of a pint of cream to that, Doris? That's right, drip it in slowly and then beat it up again until it becomes all sticky. That's the way.
Doris: I have made a cake before, you know. Now, come on, what's the surprise?
Harry: Well, it's quite simple, really. You see I serve the cake with candles on it. Then I switch out the lights and I slip out of the room. But before this I tell them that they must count to twenty before trying to blow out the candles and they'll get a surprise.
Man: And then? (Explosion effect)
—Listen! I'm terribly sorry I'm late.
—Oh, that's all right. It doesn't really matter, does it? I haven't got anything better to do, have I?
—Just let me explain, will you?
—I've only been waiting for over an hour, that's all.
—Yes, I know, and I would have got ...
—After all, my time isn't really that important, is it?
—Please don't be like that. Just let me explain. I ... I tried to get here in time but just after I left home, the car broke down.
—The car broke down?
—Yes, and ... well ... luckily ... there was a garage near me. And ... and it took them a while to repair it.
—Why didn't you at least phone?
—I would have! But I didn't know the number of the restaurant.
—You could have looked it up in the telephone book!
—Yes, but ... you'll never believe this ... I couldn't remember the name of the restaurant. I knew where it was, but forgot the name.
—I see. Well, at least it was lucky you found a garage to repair your car.
—Yes. It was something I couldn't do myself. It didn't take too long, but that's why I'm late, you see.
—Hu huh. Which garage, by the way?
—Which garage did you take it to?
—Uh ... the one near my flat. You know. Lewis Brothers.
—Yes, I know that garage. It's the only one near your flat.
—Hmm. Well now, let's have something to eat. Uh, what about some ...
—I know the garage very well!
—Yes. Let's see now. Yes, I think I'll have some ...
—A pity it's Sunday.
—A pity it's Sunday. That garage is closed on Sunday!
Donald: Isn't it a relief to see people and lights, Walter? Now, let me see. Where are we exactly? According to my map, this must be Chagford.
Walter: You're right, Don. That sign says Chagford Town Hall. But there's a more interesting notice on the other side of the square. Do you see what it says? 'Open for Devon Cream Teas'.
* * *
Donald: Oh, yes, so it does. Hold on a moment. I must get a newspaper. There's a newsagent next door.
Walter: What do you want a newspaper for?
Donald: To find out what's been happening, of course.
Walter: I don't need a newspaper to find out what's been happening. We must have been walking for at least six hours. My feet have been hurting for about four hours and I've been starving since we shared that tin of cold beans.
Donald: You don't mean you're hungry again? I see what you mean. That tea shop does look interesting. We could plan to morrow's walk while we were having tea, couldn't we?
* * *
Walter and Donald have just finished their Devon Cream Tea, but they don't seem to want to leave.
Waitress: I really don't know what to do, Mrs. Adams. The two gentlemen at table four have had complete Devon cream teas, with additional sandwiches and cakes, and another order of scones. They don't seem to want to leave and it's a quarter past five and I should be going off ...
Mrs. Adams: Never mind, Mary. You go. Poor lads. They must have been walking all day by the
look of them. They must have been starving.
Walter: I feel a hundred per cent better. How about you, Donald?
Donald: I must admit that a Devon cream tea is better than a tin of cold beans. In fact, it's better than almost anything I can think of ... except a good newspaper. Do you ever buy a newspaper?
Walter: Not often. But I watch television a lot.
Donald: Television! It only scratches the surface.
Walter: I don't know what you mean by that. Television coverage is very dramatic.
Donald: Dramatic, yes. You learn what happened but never why it happened.
Walter: Rubbish. The television pictures show you what happened and then the people concerned are interviewed and they tell you why it happened.
Donald: They say what they saw, but they aren't in a position to fill in the background.
Walter: Yes, they are. They were there.
Donald: That doesn't mean they're in a position to fill in the background. Anyway, the television pictures don't show you the whole truth. They only show you the bits that happened while the cameraman was filming. Very often he missed the most important bits.
Mrs. Adams: Excuse me. I'm afraid it's almost half past five and we must close. Could I just give you your bill?
Donald: Yes, of course. See to it, will you, Walter. I must get a newspaper before the newsagent closes.
Walter: ... Er ... Don ...
Walter: Could you get me a paper, too?
Donald: What do you want a paper for?
Walter: To find out what's on television.
Alan: Yes, well ... good ... that sounds great ... thanks a lot ... haven't been to a party for ages. I'll drop round then. Er ... tell me how I get there.
Caller: I just told you, Alan.
Alan: You didn't. You just reminded me it was somewhere near Willesden Green.
Caller: I told you exactly how to get here.
Alan: Then I wasn't listening. Tell me again and I'll write it down.
Caller: All right. Take a 46 bus.
Alan: A what?
Caller: A 46.
Alan: It can't be a 46.
Caller: It is, it is.
Alan: Look, the 46 goes in the opposite direction. It goes towards the Elephant and Castle.
Caller: No, it doesn't.
Alan: It does.
Caller: Listen, it may go towards the Elephant and Castle on its way back but before that it's headed in the opposite direction because I happen to catch it every day on my way home from work.
Alan: All right, but I've seen the 46 going the opposite way, I'm sure. I didn't want to end up at the wrong end of town, that's all.
Caller: In any case, what you may have seen is the 46B. That goes from here down to the Elephant on its return journey.
Alan: But I seem to remember coming to your house one time on the 28. Am I right? I used to catch it at Marble Arch.
Caller: Yes. It's discontinued. It used to run from Tooting straight through to here. It's a pity.
Alan: OK, so I catch the 46. Now where do I get off?
Caller: Get off at Boots the chemist's on the corner, two stops after the railway bridge. Turn right and walk on until you come to the second set of traffic lights then turn right into Hartington Road.
Alan: Hang on ... let me write that down. So I get off at Boots the chemist's after the railway bridge.
Caller: Two stops after you've gone under the railway bridge.
Alan: All right. Then what?
Caller: Then turn right and turn right again at the second set of traffic lights.
Alan: Right at the second set of lights.
Caller: Then first right into Hartington Road and I'm number one, second floor.
Alan: OK, I've got all that. Where do you think is the nearest place for me to catch the 45?
Caller: 46. The 45 would take you up to Wembley and you wouldn't get here till the middle of next week.
Alan: All right the 46. Where do I catch it?
Caller: I should think Piccadilly Circus or Green Park would be the nearest to you.
Alan: Oh well, they're both within walking distance. Have you any idea how often they run?
Alan: The 46, do you know how often it runs?
Caller: I've no idea. I should think every ten or fifteen minutes. I never have to wait long.
Alan: Good. I should be there in about an hour. Thanks for the invitation. Cheers.
Caller: Cheers. See you later.
Fred: Are you sure this is the right house?
Harry: Course I'm sure. I used to live next door, didn't I? It's easy and safe. She's not been out for twenty years. Frightened to go out in case someone pinches her money.
Fred: That's just what we're going to do, isn't it? Except she's in. What if she hears us?
Harry: She won't. Deaf as a post. Probably half blind, too. Living in the dark all those years. Come on, get in this window. Stand on my back and give me a hand up. Right, now come on. Let's have a look around.
* * *
Wendy: Ah, good evening, you've come at last.
Harry: Oh. ... er ... good evening. Yeah ... er ... sorry to be late.
Wendy: Late! Oh, you are naughty. Keeping me waiting here twenty years. And then trying to surprise me by coming in the window. And you've brought a friend, I see. Good evening. I hope you didn't damage your clothes coming in the window like that. Harry's such a silly boy. Still up to his tricks. Do take a chair. And you Harry, sit down and we can all have a nice cup of tea. You'd like that, wouldn't you?
Fred: Oh ... er ... yeah, er ... thanks very much. Er ... thank you.
Wendy: Lovely. Now, won't be a minute. Harry, entertain your friend, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
Fred: A right mess this is. Quick, back out of the window.
Harry: No. Calm down. Can't you see? It's even easier. She thinks I'm her old boyfriend. Must've been waiting for him for twenty years. All I have to do is ask her for the money and she'll give it to me. She's off her head.
Fred: Do you think so? Reckon it'll be as easy as that?
Harry: Course it will. Now shut up. She's coming back.
Fred: She didn't even notice our masks.
Harry: Oh, shut up.
Wendy: Here we are. A nice cup of tea and a bun. Now, Harry, you haven't introduced your friend.
Harry: Oh, no. Sorry. Er ... this is Fred. Yeah ... 'Fred'. Fred, this is ...
Wendy: Hello, Fred. So pleased to meet you. I'm Wendy. Wendy Hartfelt.
Fred: Oh, very pleased, I'm sure.
Harry: Wendy, I wanted to talk to you about money.
Wendy: Ah yes, Harry. I wondered. I wasn't going to mention it quite so soon, but that ten thousand pounds I lent you must have acquired quite a lot of interest by now, and times are rather hard. Now, drink your tea like a good boy and we'll discuss how you can pay it back. Twenty years is a long time to wait, after all. Harry? Harry, what are you doing? Come back in here at once. Oh dear. He is a naughty boy. But I know he'll come back. Always did. But I'm afraid his tea will be cold. Ah ...