Advanced level English
life and society
September 2015, Britain's housing minister Brandon Lewis annonced a
plan to build a million new homes in Britain by the year 2020 - many of
them in rural locations.
But housing associations fear that
there will still be a major shortfall
housing in rural
areas, as demand continues to outstrip
Life in Umbridge
or The Searchers, a tale of country folk
There's lots of new building going on in the
Bob Searcher is 25; born and brought up
village of Umbridge in rural Wiltshire, he has no desire to go and live
anywhere else. He is perhaps part of a dying race in England, a rural
working class man. Bob left school at 16, did a course in bricklaying
Wiltshire College, and today he works as a building labourer
At least he has a job; and Carter's, the
construction company he works for,
to keep him on as they know that Bob is a local lad
who is likely to
be a stable employee. Many of Bob's workmates
come from Eastern Europe, and are only in the UK for a few years, to
earn better wages than they would get back home; and they move from
place to place.
Next week, Bob and his girlfriend Rosie are getting married, and they
would really love to set up house and start a family. But how can they
They are not exactly thrilled
by the prospects
they can live in a couple of rooms rented
on Mr. Archibald's farm; or else they can live with
Bob's parents or in-laws
hoping one day to get a council
in Umbridge, if there is one.
As for buying their own house, as their parents and grandparents did,
that is out of the question, unless they are willing to take the one run-down
in the village that is for sale; the trouble is that it's been on the
market for three years now, as nobody wants to buy it, wedged in
as it is
between the main road and the pig-battery
No wonder it's going cheap!
There's nothing else in Umbridge that
Bob and Rosie can afford.
For ordinary rural working people, those who provide the everyday
labour without which the countryside cannot function, finding a place
to live can be an insoluble problem - particularly in the south of
More and more poeple want to live in the country - which is forcing up
the cost of housing
In recent decades, the rural exodus of
past has gone into reverse, as hundreds of thousands of people have
begun moving out of cities and towns, in search of the good life, a
more natural or peaceful lifestyle in the country. This has inevitably
led to a rise in rural property
The pretty cottage, that once belonged
to Rosie's aunt, is now lived in by an executive
computer company, who commutes
twenty miles into work every day; the former working man's cottage next
door (a real "bijou", the
called it) belongs to Jim and Victoria
Cityman, who recently retired to Umbridge after living in London all
The other cottage that appeals to Bob now belongs to an architect, who
spends the occasional weekend there, and rents it out as a holiday
cottage for most of the summer. The architect bought it three years ago
for £650,000 - far more than Bob or Rosie could ever hope to
spend on a house.
So Bob and Rosie know that they
just have to sit and wait, and hope that one of the rare social houses
in Umbridge becomes available, perhaps within three years.
In the mean time, Bob has resigned himself to the idea of building his
own house; he knows he can do it, if he gives up all his weekends;
luckily he has a mate who's an electrician and a cousin who's a
painter. If he built his own house, he would also be able to buy a
cheaper plot of land, as self-build homes can be put up on land that is
not normally zoned for building, and is therefore cheaper. But it will
all take time, and he'll need to borrow money to achieve his project.
Right now, he's waiting to see if new rural housing projects will
actually lead to the building of any new "affordable housing" in
Umbridge. He's keeping his fingers crossed, but he isn't counting on it.
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Complete these sentences from the article, using appropriate words in
the right structure.
- Bob is a local lad
who is likely ................. a stable employee
would really love ..................... up house and start a family
- They can live with
Bob's parents or in-laws,
..................... one day to get a council
house in Umbridge.
- As for .................. their own house,
that is out of the question.
- No wonder ............................ cheap!
- For ordinary rural working people, ...................... a
to live can be an insoluble problem.
- In the mean time, Bob has resigned himself to the idea
- If he built his own house, he
......................................... to buy a
cheaper plot of land.
- But it will
all take time, and he'll need ......................... money
....................... his project.