The English don’t like to live in busy city streets. They dislike blocks of flats which are all alike and have no individuality. They prefer to buy or to rent a small house on the outskirts, away from the noise and the traffic of the town centre.
The typical suburban house is a two-storey building with six rooms and two gardens: a front garden full of flowers and a back garden with fruit-trees and vegetables.
Instead of a number each house has a pretty name which distinguishes it from the house next door: “May Flowers”, “Red Roses”, “The Cottage”, and the like.
The first thing an Englishman does with his house is to surround it with a fence or a hedge in order “to shut out the neighbours” and to preserve his privacy and freedom. Freedom, in fact, for an Englishman means above all the right to live his private life, a private life into which he refuses to admit any but his closest friends.
Behind the closed door of his “castle” the Englishman enjoys being alone with his family, looking after his pets, reading his favourite newspaper, smoking his pipe, or spending a quiet evening sitting in front of the television set.
In summer, when the weather is nice and sunny, he likes to spend his spare time in the garden, watering the flowers, cutting the hedge or mowing the lawn. He loves flowers, and gardening is one of his favourite hobbies.
Sometimes he has tea in the garden with his wife, while his children play on the grass with their pets. Pets live in the house and are considered members of the family. English people are very fond of animals, and you can hardly find any English family who does not have a dog, a goldfish, a bird or even a pony as a pet.
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974.