Walking on the Wild Side * Текст для чтения

Текст на адаптированном английском среднего уровня сложности.

When I die, I’ll come back as a penguin,” says Alfred David, owner of the largest penguin collection in the world, housed until recently in the Manhattan Center near Brussel’s Place Rogier.

The ground floor is occupied by Espace-Terre-Paix, an unusual organisation that promotes such activities as study of UFOs. The collection itself is a gathering of anything and everything to do with the birds — from penguin-shaped thermos flasks, oven gloves, umbrellas and tins of antifreeze down to crystal, china and glass birds of all sizes.

Television crews from around the world have been attracted by the Belgium eccentric, who has appeared on over 60 programmes in France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Portugal, Britain and the United States, not to mention nine feature films. His obsession has made him famous and won him friends worldwide. He has rubbed shoulders with celebrities, and was invited to Hollywood by Warner Brothers to meet the stars of Batman Returns.

David has had more than his fair share of tragedy. After 12 years of marriage he lost his wife, and their five children all died. As if that wasn’t enough, he ended up losing his job — and nearly a leg — after an accident he had while working as an army motorcycle courier. “The crash transformed my life,” he says. After recovery he became a taxi driver. “One day, I got out of my car and a man who saw me limping shouted “penguin!”. Surprisingly, the two became friends, and the man later gave David the very first object of his collection.

Ever since, he has regarded the birds as symbols of warmth, kindness and simplicity. They look after each other.

In the Antarctic, they stand in a circle with then-backs to the wind to keep one another warm. They take it in turns to stand on the outside, working their way towards the center. They are also very faithful. Every year the same couple gets together, each calling the other with a unique cry that only the partner recognises.

David’s second wife threw him out of their Liege home, crying:“It’s me or the penguins!” He chose the penguins and has never regretted his decision.


thermos flask — термос

oven glove — рукавица для плиты

crystal — хрусталь, хрустальный

china —  фарфор, фарфоровый

crew — команда, экипаж

feature film — художественный фильм

obsession — одержимость 

to be obsessed — быть одержимым

to rub shoulders with — разг. встречаться

celebrity — знаменитость

crash — крушение, крах, банкротство

banks crash — крах банков

to recover — выздороветь

recovery — выздоровление

to limp — хромать

kindness — доброта

simplicity — простота

faithful — верный

to regret — сожалеть


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