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I was in Macksville owing to the interesting discovery that Brisbane is not three or four hours north of Sydney, as I had long and casually supposed, but the better part of a couple of days' drive. Well, if you look on the television weather map Brisbane and Sydney are practically neighbours, their little local suns and storm clouds all but bumping on the chart. But in Australia neighbourliness is of course a relative concept. In fact, it is almost 1,000 5 kilometres from Sydney to Brisbane, much of it along a cheerfully poky 1two-lane road. And so, in mildly confounded consequence, I was in Macksville for the night.
My mood as I strolled into town from my motel was, let us say, restrained. Macksville wasn't so bad really. Set on the bank of the swift and muddy Nambucca River, it was essentially just a pause in the highway: a tentacle of neatly gardened bungalows and small 10 office buildings leading to a very compact town centre. Though the road through town is the Pacific Highway, the main artery connecting Sydney and Brisbane, only two cars passed as I followed its dusty margin into town. At the heart of the modest community stood the large and fading Nambucca Hotel, and I stepped in, glad to escape the heat. It was a roomy place but nearly empty. Two older guys in singlets and battered bush hats propped up one end of 15 the long bar. In a side room a man and a woman sat in silent absorption amid the soft, mechanical glow of pokies2. I procured a beer, stood long enough to establish that no one was going to take any interest in me that might lead to a conversation, and retired to the central portion of the bar where I parked myself on a- stool and idly watched the evening news on a silent TV mounted on the wall. 20
According to a sign on a door across the room, the Nambucca had a restaurant, so I wandered over to investigate. The door wouldn't open.
`Dining room's closed, mate,' said one of the two guys at the bar. `Chef's crook.' `Must've ate some of his own cooking,' came a voice from the pokie alcove, and we all
had a grin over that. 25 `What else is there in town?' I asked. `Depends,' said the man, scratching his throat thoughtfully. He leaned towards me
slightly. `You like good food?' I nodded. Of course I did. `Nothin' then.' He went back to his beer. 30 `Try the Chinese over the road,' said his companion. `It's not too bad.' The Chinese restaurant was just across the road as promised, but according to a sign
in the window it was not licensed to serve alcohol and I couldn't face small town Chinese food without the solace of beer. I have travelled enough to know that a chef does not, as a rule, settle in a place like Macksville because he has a lifelong yearning to share the 35 subtleties of 3,500 years of Szechuan cuisine with sheep farmers. So I went off to see what else there might be in Macksville's compact heart. The answer was very little. Everything appeared to be shut except one small takeaway establishment called, not altogether promisingly, Bub's Hotbakes. I opened the door, briefly enlivening 5,000 flies that had dropped by to see what Bub and his team were up to, and stepped inside, knowing in my 40 heart that this was almost certainly going to be a regretted experience.
Bub's had a substantial range of food, nearly all of it involving brown meat and gravy lurking inside pastry. I ordered a large sausage roll and chips.
`We don't do chips,' said the amply proportioned serving maiden3. `Then how did you get like that?' I wanted to say, but of course 1 suppressed this 45
unworthy thought and revised my order to a large sausage roll and something called a `continental cheesecake square' and went with them outside. I ate standing on the comer.
Adapted from Bill BRYSON, Down Under, 2001
1 poky: adj. too small or not very comfortable 2 a poky: (noun) a poker machine 3 a serving maiden: a waitress
NOTE AUX CANDIDATS
Les candidats traiteront le sujet sur la copie qui leur sera fournie et veilleront a :
a) respecter I'ordre des questions et reporter la numérotation sur la copie (numéro et lettre- repère le cas échéant, ex.: 14 c) ;
b) faire précéder les citations de la mention de la ligne ;
c) composer des phrases complètes chaque fois qu'il est demande de rédiger la réponse.
1. Which genre do you associate this passage with? travel literature
2. Focus on paragraph 1. a) What country is the scene set in? (10 words maximum)
b) Justify your answer with two quotations from the text.
c) What is the starting point of the main character's journey? (10 words max.)
d) What is the destination of the journey? (10 words max.)
e) What does the main character discover about the country? (15 words max.)
f) Justify your answer with one quotation.
g) Name the town where the main character is.
3. Concentrate on the passage from line 9 to line 14 (`Set on the bank... escape the heat.'). a) Pick out the most suitable definition for the town from the list below:
a town in the suburbs of a big city
a town with a busy centre
a small isolated town between two large cities
an unwelcoming community
b) Give two elements to justify your choice.
4. Read the whole text again. a) Where does the main character stay for the night? (10 words max.)
b) Which part of town does he decide to go to? (10 words max.)
c) What is the main character looking for? (10 words max.)
d) Pick out five words or phrases to support your answer.
e) Three establishments are mentioned. Name them in chronological order.
f) Which two places does the main character actually stop at?
5) Focus on the first place he stops at. a) Who are the characters present? (20 words max.)
b) What is the atmosphere like? Explain in your own words. (25 words max.)
c) ‘Must've ate some of his own cooking’ (line 24): who does his refer to?
d) In standard English, a "crook" is a dishonest person. In this context (line 23), does 'chef's crook' mean:
the chef is absent?
the chef is hungry?
the chef is sick?
the chef is unemployed?
e) What is the tone of the remark in line 24? (10 words max.)
6. Focus on the second place he stops at. a) Why does he choose to go there? Explain in your own words. (25 words max.) b) ... fhis was almost certainly going to be a regretted experience. (lines 40-41). Why does he feel this way? Give two reasons in your own words.
(20 words max.)
TRADUCTION Seuls les candidats de la série L réaliseront cet exercice.
Traduire en français le passage suivant de 'What else ...' (ligne 26) à ‘... too bad.’ (ligne 31)
EXPRESSION Les candidats de la série S choisiront de traiter l'UN des deux sujets au choix (200 mots).
Les candidats de la série L devront obligatoirement traiter les DEUX sujets (300 mots au total, soit environ 150 mots pour chaque sujet).
Sujet 1: Takeaway food is becoming more and more popular. Account for this evolution in contemporary society.
Sujet 2: Write about a place you regretted going to.