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Late Summer Bank Holiday

On Bank Holiday the townsfolk usually flock into the country and to the coast. If the weather is fine many families take a picnic-lunch or tea with them and enjoy their meal in the open. Seaside towns near London, such as Southend, are invaded by thousands of trippers who come in cars and coaches, trains, motor cycles and bicycles. Great amusement parks like Southend Kursaal* do a roaring trade with their scenic railways, shooting galleries, water-shoots, Crazy Houses, Hunted Houses and so on. Trippers will wear comic paper hats with slogans such as "Kiss Me Quick", and they will eat and drink the weirdest mixture of stuff you can imagine, sea food like cockles, mussels, whelks, shrimps and fried fish and chips, candy floss, beer, tea, soft drinks, everything you can imagine.

* (Kursaal - a huge amusement park in Southend, a seaside town near London.)

Bank Holiday is 'also an occasion for big sports meetings at places like the White City Stadium,* mainly all kinds of athletics. There are also horse race meetings all over the country, and most traditional of all, there are large fairs with swings, roundabouts, coconut shies,** a Punch and Judy show,*** hoop-la**** stalls and every kind of side-show including, in recent years, bingo.***** These fairs are pitched on open spaces of common land, and the most famous of them is the huge one on Hampstead Heath****** near London. It is at Hampstead Heath you will see the Pearly Kings, those Cockney******* costers (street traders), who wear suits or frocks with thousands of tiny pearl buttons stitched all over them, also over their caps and hats, in case of their Queens. They hold horse and cart parades in which prizes are given for the smartest turn out. Horses and carts are gaily decorated. Many Londoners will visit Whipsnade Zoo.******** There is also much boating activity on the Thames, regattas at Henley********* and on other rivers, and the English climate being what it ls it invariably rains.

* (White City Stadium - the White City is a London suburb, a large open-air area for sports and shows.)

** (coconut shies - a game played at fairs and on pleasure grounds; the visitor pays a certain amount of money for the right to throw balls at coconuts which are placed on special supports; if the visitor manages to knock one down, he gets the coconut as a prize.)

*** (Punch and Judy Show - a favourite puppet show in which the little humpback, Punch, quarrels with his wife, Judy.)

**** (hoop-la - the game in which rings are thrown at small objects which are won if the rings encircle them.)

***** (bingo - a game in which players place markers on a pattern of numbered squares, according to numbers drawn and announced by a caller.)

****** (Hampstead Heath - a rugged sandy heathland in the neighbourhood of London, spreading over the hills and valleys of a verdant range. It is especially popular with Londoners on summer bank holidays, when a fair takes place on the Heath. While living in London, Karl Marx often took his family to Hampstead Heath on picknicks.)

******* (Cockney - a name for Londoners born within the sound of Bow bells (St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside); generally used with special reference to peculiarities of accent and mental outlook, the latter combining urban shrewdness with cheerful resilience in face of trouble.)

******** (Whipsnade Zoo - Zoological Gardens North of London.)

********* (Henley - Henley-on-Thames in Berkshire, home of the famous international regatta.)

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