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A bungalow in Paignton – but Harry and June want to build their own house!
Today's podcast i... s about the names of different occupations, and about Harry and June and their new house.
Harry is a retired school head teacher. He and his wife June want to move from London to live in Devon in the south-west of England. Devon is a place where lots of retired people go to live. Devon is warm (well, warmer than most of the rest of England) and it is beside the sea. In Devon towns like Paignton and Torquay there are lots of little bungalows where retired people like Harry and June live.
However, Harry and June do not want to live in a bungalow in Paignton or Torquay. They want to build their own house. So this is what they do. First they go to an estate agent, who sells houses and land. The estate agent has information about some suitable land where Harry and June could build their house. Then they ask a solicitor to handle all the legal matters connected with buying the land. Harry and June know what sort of house they want, but they need an architect to design the house and make plans for them. Unlike Robert, whom we met a few weeks ago, they know that they need planning permission for their house. So they fill in application forms and spend several weeks arguing with the planning official in the local authority about interesting things like where the drains will go.
Now they are ready to start building the house. They find a builder to supervise and organise the work. The builder digs the foundations for the house, and a local authority building inspector then comes to check that he has built the foundations properly. A bricklayer builds the walls of the house with bricks and mortar, and a carpenter builds the wooden framework for the roof. A roofer then puts the tiles on the roof and makes it watertight.
Meanwhile, inside the house a plasterer is busy putting plaster on the new walls. An electrician arrives to install the electric wiring, and makes holes in the new plaster, so the plasterer has to plaster some of the walls again. A plumber installs the water pipes. He drills through one of the new electric wires; there is a bang, and all the lights go out. The electrician has to come back to mend it. A gas fitter puts in the gas pipes for the central heating and the cooker in the kitchen. He knocks more holes in the plaster, so the plasterer has more work to do. A joiner comes to install the doors and cupboards inside the house. He puts a nail through the new gas pipe.
Now Harry and June's house has walls and a roof, it has doors and windows, and gas and water and electricity. But there is more to do. A painter comes to paint the outside of the house. Inside the house, a decorator paints the woodwork and puts wallpaper on the walls. In the kitchen, a kitchen fitter is busy installing kitchen cupboards and work surfaces, and a carpet fitter is putting carpets in the living room and the bedrooms.
Inside, the house is looking good, but outside it is a mess, because the builder has left piles of broken bricks and other rubbish in the garden. A skip lorry driver places a skip in the road outside, and the builder spends the next two days putting all his rubbish in the skip. Finally, a gardener is able to dig the garden and plant grass and flowers to make it look beautiful.
Harry and June are, I am happy to tell you, very pleased with their new house. June is busy sewing curtains for the living room, and Harry is arranging his model railway in the spare bedroom.
So, how many different occupations were involved in building the new house? I can count 20 – how many can you count? Also, have you noticed that most occupation names in English do not tell us whether the person doing that job is a man or a woman? Unlike many other languages, we do not have separate words for, for example, a male architect and a female architect. In fact, Harry and June's architect was a woman, and so was the electrician. There are very few cases in modern English where we need to use different words for men and women – policeman/policewoman is one of these, and another is waiter/waitress. Post a comment on the website if you can think of any more.
Quiz - how many occupation names do you know? ::
File download (6:12 mins | 3 MB)
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