Three young men were playing with a gun in a street in a quiet area of the town after dark when one of them fired it by mistake without aiming it at anything. The bullet broke a window in an old lady’s house.
The young men made off at once when they saw the damage they had done, but the old lady looked out of a window when she heard the explosion, and she recognized one of them as the son of a man and a woman who lived not far from her.
The old lady complained to the police, and a detective came to her house. The old lady gave him a detailed account of everything that had happened, and then the detective asked her if she knew where the young man lived. The old lady told him that too, so the detective went to the young man’s house. He and his companions tried to hide, but the detective found them and the gun and took them to the police station.
There his chief officer questioned the young men to find out which of them owned the gun, but none of them was willing to say. The young man who owned the gun did not dare to admit that he did, because he did not have a licence for it.
At last the chief officer decided to put an end to the conversation, so he turned to the detective and demanded to know whether he had got an officer’s permission to take the gun away from the young man who owned it.
The detective felt anxious when he heard this question. “No, sir,” he answered nervously, “I didn’t get it”.
“In that case,” the officer declared angrily, “you were quite wrong to take it away from him. You’d better return it immediately or there’ll be trouble!”
This made the young men smile happily at each other, and as soon as the detective held the gun out and said, “Here you are”. One of them put his hand out in order to get it back.
That is how the officer finally discovered whom the gun belonged to.
1) What were three men doing in the street?
2) What did they do with the gun?
3) Did the detective know whose the gun was?
4) Did the detective discover whom the gun belonged to?
When Polly left school, she had no idea what she wanted to do. A friend of hers, who was a year older, and whose name was Josephine, was at art college, and she persuaded Polly to join her there.
Polly’s father worked in a factory, and her mother worked in a shop. They were saving their money to buy their own house, and they had hoped that Polly would start earning too as soon as she left school, so when she told them that she wanted to go to art college, she expected to have an objection. But in fact they had none.
“You’ll have to find some kind of a job to pay for your college,” Polly’s mother warned her. “Your father and I will be very happy to keep you at home, but we have no money for your college course, and none for paints and all the other things you’ll need”.
“Thank you very much,” Polly answered. “I’m really very grateful to you both. And there’s no problem about getting a job; the head of the art college has offered me one in their library”.
After a few months, Polly’s parents really felt very proud that their daughter was going to college, especially when she brought home some of the things she had painted, for which she had received high praise from her teachers.
Polly sometimes went to museums to see paintings by famous artists, and one day she said to her parents, “Why don’t you come to a museum with me one day? Then I can tell you all about the paintings, and you can see the kinds of things I’m trying to do myself”.
Polly’s mother was free on Thursday afternoons and on Saturdays, but her father sometimes had to work on those days. They waited until Saturday when he didn’t have to work, and then they all went off to the museum that Polly had chosen.
She showed her parents some famous paintings, and then they came to one that they recognized.
“This,” Polly said, pointing to it, “is Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’.” “What a cheek,” her father answered. “He’s copied the picture we’ve had in our hall for the last ten years!”
1) What did Polly decide to do after leaving school?
2) Why did Polly’s parents feel proud of their daughter?
3) Where did Polly invite her parents to one day?
4) What picture did Polly show her parents in the museum?
Sam was an old farmer. He was born on his farm and had lived on it all his life. He had married his neighbour’s daughter, and they grew fruit and vegetables.
Sam got up atfive o’clockevery morning to gather them and take a load off to market in his old truck.
There were very few vehicles on the country roads at that time of the morning, and Sam knew how to get to market very well, so as he was going along, he was always thinking about everything except his driving.
One morning he was thinking about what crops to plant for the next year’s harvest, and whether to try something else. A lot of other farmers were planting the same things which he produced, so the prices in the market were coming down and he was getting less money.
After a few kilometres, Sam came to a place where the small road which went in the direction of the market crossed a bigger one, and he continued over it without stopping. He always crossed the big road like that, because there was never any traffic on it at that time of the morning, so there was no fear of having an accident, and anyway he was always in a hurry, because he wanted to get to the market in time for its opening.
But this morning a young policeman whom he had never seen before signalled to him to stop a hundred metres beyond the crossroads.
Sam stopped beside the policeman, and the policeman said to him, “Didn’t you know that there was a sign telling you to stop at the crossroads before going over the main road?”
“Oh, yes,” answered Sam, «I knew that there was a sign at that point, because I go to market along this road every morning. But what I unfortunately didn’t know was that you were here”.
1) Who was Sam?
2) Where had Sam lived all his life?
3) Why was Sam always in a hurry?
4) Did he notice the policeman?
When Sebastian was a boy at school, his favourite lesson was art, and he won several prizes for it. Once he left school, he got a position as a clerk in a bank, but three times a week he went to evening classes in art, and whenever he had time at the week-ends, he painted.
He painted in a very modern manner—mysterious objects and shapes, women with three pink eyes, large blank areas, and so on.
After a few months he thought, “Perhaps I can sell some of my pictures and get enough money to afford to leave the bank and become a real artist. Then I can travel around as much as I like, and go to foreign museums, and see other artists’ paintings, and study in other countries when I feel like it. Though I try to make the best of the job and I don’t regard the work as difficult — at least not at present -— I don’t like life in a bank. I only enjoy painting”.
In the bank, Sebastian sometimes had to deal with a man who owned a picture shop, and after he had had a few conversations with him, Sebastian invited him to his home one evening to see some of his work. “Then perhaps you could tell me whether I can really be a good artist and get some money from my painting,” Sebastian said hopefully.
The man said he was prepared to come and see what he thought of Sebastian’s work, so he arrived one evening at Sebastian’s home. Sebastian took the man to his studio and started to show him some of his pictures, with some pride and hope.
The man looked at them one after the other while Sebastian watched his face, but to Sebastian’s disappointment the man did not say anything, and his expression did not change at any of them.
Then, when he had finished, he looked around, and his glance fell on something else. A happy look came over his face for the first time, and he said, “Now I like one very much! It’s so full of deep feeling! I’m sure I could sell this one for you!”
“That,” said Sebastian, “is the place where I clean the paint off my brushes”.
1) What was Sebastiasn’s favourite lesson at school?
2) What manner did Sebastian paint in?
3) What was Sebastian’s dream ?
4) Did the visitor like Sebastian’s paintings?
Sleep is a subject few people know much about. We do know, though, that sleep is important for our physical health and for our mental well being.
But scientists tell us that sleep can only refresh us mentally and physically when given enough time to do so. And the correct amount of time varies from individual to individual. Seven hours may be too little for some, resulting in tiredness and restlessness. Or it may be too much. Only you can tell how much sleep you need to maintain your peak form.
Surveys show that 60% of the population sleeps between seven and eight hours a night. The other 40% sleep less, or more. So if you are not getting your eight hours each night, and you feel fine, maybe you don’t need as much sleep as you think you do.
Other factors that determine your sleep needs are your health, your job, your emotional state, and the «efficiency» of your sleep. Sleep efficiency is very important because 6 hours of sound, restful sleep will do you more good than 10 hours of tossing and turning.
What you sleep on is also very important. A surface that is too soft can cause lower back pain. A mattress that is too hard can cause painful pressure at the shoulders and hips.
For sleep that is truly efficient, support and comfort must work hand in hand. That is why it makes sense to buy the highest quality bedding you can afford.
If you suffer from insomnia, as some people do, mild exercise can often help you to sleep at night. Just don’t exercise too strenuously before bedtime. Generally speaking, exercise is important. In fact, there is some evidence that the better your physical condition, the better you will be able to sleep.
In today’s competitive fast moving world it’s more important than ever to be the best you can be. And when you sleep your best, you can look and feel your best. And that means you can do your best at anything you pursue. You have the energy and the feeling of well-being that makes each day easier and more enjoyable.
Sleep is too important to be taken lightly.
1) Is sleep important ?
2) Why must people take care of the surface they sleep on?
3) Why do you need to sleep your best?
7) How many hours do people need for sleeping?
I don’t live inTokyo. I don’t even know whether I would like to live there. I love it and hate it — it is one of those places that you can love and hate at the same time.
The first «fact» aboutTokyo, for me, is that there are too many people. I don’t mean the fact that twelve million people live there. That is four million more thanLondonorNew York, but it is not an important fact for me.
InTokyothere are always too many people in the places where I want to be. That is the important fact for me. Of course there are too many cars. The Japanese drive very fast when they can but inTokyothey often spend a long time in traffic jams.Tokyois not different fromLondon,ParisandNew York. It is different when one wants to walk.
At certain times of the day there are a lot of people on foot inLondon’sOxford Streetor near the big shops and stores in other great cities. But the streets inTokyoalways have a lot of people on foot, and sometimes it is really difficult to walk. People are very polite; there are just too many of them.
The worst time to be in the street is at 11.30 at night. That is when the night-clubs are closing and everybody wants to go home. Between 11 and 12 everybody is looking for a taxi. Usually the taxis are shared by four or five people who live in the same part of the city.
During the day, people use the trains. Perhaps the first thing you notice inTokyois the number of trains. Most people travel to and from work by train, and there is a station at almost every street corner. At most stations, trains arrive every two or three minutes, but at certain hours there do not seem to be enough trains. At8 o’clockin the morning you can see students pushing passengers into the trains. Usually the trains are nearly full when they arrive at the station, so the students have to push very hard. Sometimes the pushers are also pushed in by mistake, and they have to get out at the next station. Although they are usually crowded, Japanese trains are very good. They always leave and arrive on time. On aLondontrain you would see everybody reading a newspaper. InTokyotrains everybody in a seat seems to be asleep. Some Japanese make a train journey of two hours to go to work, so they do their sleeping on the train. But if a train journey lasts only five minutes, and if they have a seat, they will also go to sleep. They always wake when they arrive at their station.
1) What is the population ofTokyo?
2) How do the Japanese drive?
3) What is the worst time to be in the street inTokyo?
4) Do the Japanese use cars or trains during the day?
John Cleef s father played for a Dutch football club when he was a young man. When the Cleefs leftHollandand moved toLondon, John began school as a six-year-old. No one in the family was surprised when he started to take a great interest in football. The school he went to played football four afternoons a week (except in the summer, when they all played cricket).
John’s abilities were obvious and when he was 12, a talent scout from one of the big football clubs spoke to his parents about him. Mr. Cleef said he was too young to think about football as a career. But two years later, John took part in a special schoolboys’ football match arranged by the club. John scored three goals, and he was certain that his future lay in football. Two years later he signed a contract with the club.
John has been lucky, because it is a good club. It makes sure that all the new young players — apprentice players, as they are called — keep up their schooling. Everyone knows that out often apprentices, perhaps only one will have a career in football.
It is a hard day for John and the other apprentices. The day starts at the football ground atten o’clockwith a meeting, followed by an hour and a half’s training. After lunch the apprentices clean football boots, sweep out the stadium, and wash out the changing-rooms.
The young footballers are expected to be in peak physical condition which means, says John, no late nights, no drinking, and a rather limited social life. “Not all the girls understand this, but I know I have two years to try and make my mark. That means that the girls will have to wait. I watch football every evening I can — and dream of becoming a star!”
John is supported 100% by his parents. His father is proud of him, and perhaps sees John fulfilling his own dream of becoming a football star. “For me it would be marvellous to have a Cleef playing forEngland,” he says with a smile, “even if it should mean that they beatHollandten-nil!”
1) How old was John when he signed a contract with the club?
2) What are the duties of an apprentice ?
3) What does being in peak physical condition mean for the young players?
4) Is John’s father proud of him?
There are about 22,000 police officers inEngland. Out of these, 1,500 are women. Twenty years ago, a woman police-officer was an unusual sight. Then there were only 500 of them. Their job was mostly in the police stations doing the routine office work, or going out and doing what you could call social work. But today the picture is quite different. You meet female officers on the beat, controlling crowds, and directing traffic.
“That’s the way it should be,” says one policewoman. “We get the same pay as the men and we share the same conditions as they have. Of course, there are still some policemen who haven’t quite accepted us yet. I must admit, too, that there are certain situations where we are not in the front line. For example if there is a very violent demonstration, then it is the male officers who keep the crowd back. We are given other jobs. We simply don’t have the strength to do the job. On the other hand, there are also many situations where the men are very glad to let us take over. Often we are better than the men when there are problems with women — and specially children. If there is any resistance to women police-officers, it comes from the older policemen. They remember the «good old days» when a policeman was — a man! The younger officers are very glad to work with us. What is even more important, I think, is the reaction of the public. They are always very positive. Women are good at defusing dangerous situations. I mean, we are good at calming people down. There is still a lot of respect for women in general—for example, some people think it is all right to hit a policeman, but they wouldn’t dream of hitting a woman. In violent situations we do not seem so aggressive as men, and this really helps. Mind you, if it comes to a fight, women police-officers are highly trained!”
1) Do police-women take part in dealing with very violent demonstrations?
2) How do women police-officers behave in dangerous situations?
3) Was it a usual thing to meet a policewoman 20 years ago?
4) Are there situations when police-women are better than men?
As the train approached the seaside town where I was going to spend my holidays, I went into the corridor to stretch my legs. I stayed there a short time, breathing in the fresh sea air and talking to one of the passengers, whom I had met earlier on the station platform.
When I turned to go back to my seat, I happened to glance into the compartment next to mine. Sitting there was a man who many years before had been my neighbour. He was a great talker, I remembered; it used to take hours to get away from him once he began a conversation. I was not at all sorry when he went to live in another part ofLondon. We had not met since then, nor did I wish to meet him now, when my holiday was about to begin.
Luckily at that moment he was much too busy talking to the man opposite him to catch sight of me. I slipped back into my compartment, took down my two suitcases and carried them to the far end of the corridor so as to be ready to get off the train as soon as it stopped. The moment the train stopped, I called a porter, who in no time at all had carried my luggage out of the station and found me a taxi. As I drove towards my small hotel on the edge of the town, I breathed a deep sigh of relief at my narrow escape. There was little chance that I should run into my boring ex-neighbour again.
When I reached the hotel, I went straight to my room and rested there until it was time for dinner. Then I went down to the lounge and ordered a drink. I hadn’t even begun to drink when an all too familiar voice greeted me. I had not escaped from my tiresome neighbour after all! He grasped me warmly by the hand and insisted that we should share a table in the dining-room. “This is a pleasant surprise,” he said. “I never expected to see you again after all these years”.
1) Where was the narrator going to spend his holidays?
2) Was the narrator glad to see his neighbour?
3) What did the narrator do to escape from the man?
4) Where did the narrator meet his neighbour again?
The party began just after nine. Mr. Wood, who lived in the flat below, sighed to himself as he heard the first signs: people running up the stairs; the sound of excited voices as the guests greeted one another; and the noise of loud music. Luckily Mr. Wood had brought some work home from the office, which he did for a couple of hours, and managed to ignore the party which was going on over his head. But byeleven o’clockhe felt tired and was ready to go to bed, though from his experience of previous parties he knew that it was useless trying to get to sleep. He undressed and lay for a while on the bed, trying to read, but the noise from the room directly above his head did not allow him to concentrate on what he was reading. He found himself reading the same page over and over again. He then switched off the light and buried his head in the pillow, in a desperate effort to go to sleep. But there was no way he could shut the noise. Finally, after what seemed hours, he switched on the light and looked at his watch: it was just aftermidnight.
By now his patience was quite exhausted. He leapt out of bed and, putting a dressing-gown over his pyjamas, marched up the stairs to his neighbour’s flat. He rang the bell several times but the door remained closed. This made him more angry. Just then one of the guests came out and went off down the stairs, leaving the door open. Mr. Wood went in. In spite of his odd clothing, no one took any notice of him. Then he saw the owner of the flat and managed to attract his attention. The man, whose name was Black, came across the room, smiling cheerfully, and before Mr. Wood could open his mouth to complain, said: “My dear fellow, come in and join us. I know our parties must bother you. I meant to send you an invitation”. Mr. Wood’s anger vanished at once. “I’d better go and get properly dressed,” he said. As Mr. Wood left the room, Black turned to one of the guests and said: “As soon as I set eyes on him, I knew he’d come to make trouble. That’s why I asked him to join us. Did you see how pleased he was? He went off at once to get changed. What a pity the party’s nearly over!”
1) What was Mr. Wood doing during that evening?
2) Did Mr. Wood try to ignore the party?
3) How did Mr. Wood try to go to sleep?
4) What did Mr. Wood decide to do?
Tom was looking forward to his first journey by Tube, as the underground railway inLondonis called. He had heard a great deal about it from his friends who had already been toEngland. They all advised him not to travel alone the first time. But Tom is the kind of person who never listens to anyone’s advice. It is not surprising, therefore, that his first journey by Tube was not a great success.
Tom entered the station just after five o’clockin the afternoon. This is a bad time to travel in London, both by bus and train, because crowds of people go home from work at this hour. He had to join a long queue of people who were waiting for tickets. When at last his turn came, he had some difficulty in making the man understand the name of the station he wanted to go to. The people in the queue behind him began to grumble impatiently at the delay. However, he got the right ticket in the end and found the right platform. This was packed with people. He did not manage to get on the first train, but he was able to move nearer the edge of the platform and was in a better position to get on the next one. When this came in, Tom was pushed forward on to the train by the people behind him. The doors closed and the train moved off before he was able to get his breath back. He was unable to see the names of the stations where the train stopped, but he had counted the number of stops so that he knew exactly where to get off. His station was the sixth along the line. When the train reached the sixth station, Tom got off, happy that his journey had been so easy. But he was alarmed to see that he had got off at a station that he had never heard of! He did not know what to do. He explained his difficulty to a man who was standing on the platform. With a look of amusement on his face the man told Tom that he had travelled on a train going in the wrong direction.
1) Has Tom ever travelled by a Tube?
2) Did Tom travel alone or with his friends?
3)Did Tom have any difficulties in getting the ticket?
4) What did Tom realize when he got off the train?
Michael didn’t feel able to talk about the bullying to anyone. His mother would worry, he knew that. His sister had her own life and he couldn’t talk to her. And he was afraid of what the bullies might do to him if he told any of the teachers. He should be able to deal with the situation on his own, he thought — and if he couldn’t, well, that was his problem.
He didn’t even enjoy his lessons any more, because it was too hard to concentrate. As he sat in class each day, he thought about what might happen after school and his mind went completely blank. And sure enough, two or three times a week, the bullies were out there waiting for him.
“Well, now, Jenkins, what’ve you got for us today?” they shouted. He took the money from his pockets and gave it to them-without a word. Sometimes they still hit him, for the fun of it, but usually they ran off laughing.
The day everything changed was the day before half-term. Michael had stayed late at school because he needed some advice about an English project. The school grounds were empty by the time he left, but he stayed tense and watchful on the short walk to the bus-stop.
There was only one other boy from the school at the bus-stop, and Michael stared at him in disbelief. He was in the lowest class, so he was probably eleven years old, but he looked younger. His clothes were dirty and torn, and he was crying quietly.
“Hey, what happened to you? Are you OK?” Michael asked, but he had a sick feeling in his stomach.
“These boys … they said they’d hurt me if… if I didn’t give them money”, the younger boy said. “And I haven’t got any money — only my bus pass…”
“Were there three of them?” Michael asked quickly. “They’re from school, aren’t they?”
The child looked at him with surprise and nodded. Tears dripped from his cheeks to the ground. Michael took a deep breath.
“It happens to me too,” he said, “and there’s only one way to stop it. We’ve got to tell someone. Come with me”.
He led the way back to the school, and found his English teacher. As Michael told his story, the boys could see sympathy and anger in her face. When he finished, there was a short silence.
“Is this right, Ben?” she said to the younger boy. “Are you sure the bullies who hurt you are the same ones?”
“Yes,” he whispered. “The same ones”.
She looked at each of them in turn. “You can leave it to me now,” she said quietly. “I’ll see the head first thing in the morning. And don’t worry, either of you. This won’t happen again, I promise you”.
1) What problem did Michael have?
2) Why couldn’t Michael talk to members of his family about his problem?
3) What happened one day?
4) What was the teacher’s reaction to Michael’s words?
More and more people these days get caught shop-lifting; that is, taking things from shops and not paying for them. It is a big problem these days.
What actually happens if the shop-keeper thinks you have stolen something? The true story of Mrs. C. is a good example.
Mrs. С went shopping twice a week. She shopped for her own family and for some old people who could not get to the shops. She always went to the same supermarket. One day she met a friend in there. She had just chosen a piece of cheese from the shelf. The two of them talked and walked round the shop together. Then when her friend went out, Mrs. C. went with her. At once the shop-keeper caught her, and told her she had taken a piece of cheese without paying.
Mrs. C. was shocked and while she was trying to explain what had happened outside the shop, people stopped to see what was happening. Mrs. C. knew many of them and felt very ashamed. It looked as though she was a criminal! She said she would pay for it at once. But the shop-keeper called the police. A police-car came to the shop and she was taken away. When they got her to the police-station, she was questioned for three hours. After this she was charged and was told she would have to go to court.
During the next week, Mrs. C. stayed inside her house in a state of shock. She drank black coffee and took pills all the time. After only seven days, she had lost fourteen pounds in weight. The doctor saw her, and told her not to fight in court. “Say you did it, and get it over,” he said. He was afraid that she would have a heart-attack.
In a way the story had a happy ending, because the judge listened to the story, and just told her to go home and forget about it. She was free. But Mrs. C. is not the same woman. A whole year after this, she is still afraid to go out. She will not go into shops. She is afraid of what people think about her.
1) How often did Mrs. C. go shopping?
2) Whom did she meet at the supermarket?
3) What happened when Mrs. C. went out of the shop?
4) What did Mrs. C. try to explain to the shop-keeper?
Mr. Gray travelled a lot on business. He sold machines of various kinds to farmers. It was not really a very exciting job, but Mr. Gray had always been interested in farming, and he was quite satisfied with his life.
He had a big car, and usually enjoyed driving it long distances, but he was quite satisfied to go by train sometimes too, especially when the weather was bad. He was a little frightened of driving in rain or snow, and it was less tiring to sit comfortably in a train and look out of the window without being worried about how one was going to get to the next place.
One of Mr. Gray’s problems was often where to stay when he reached some small place in the country. He did not expect great comfort and wonderful food, but he found it annoying when he was given a cold room, and there was no water or good food after a long and tiring day.
Late one winter evening, Mr. Gray arrived at a small railway station. The journey by train that day had not been at all interesting, and Mr. Gray was cold and tired and hungry. He was looking forward to a simple but satisfying meal by a brightly burning fire, and then a hot bath and comfortable bed.
While he was walking to the taxi rank, he said to a local man who was also walking there, “As this is my first visit to this part of the country and I was in too much of a hurry to find out about hotels before I left home, I would very much like to know how many you have here”.
The local man answered, “We have two”.
“And which of the two would you advise me to go to?” Mr. Gray asked then.
The local man scratched his head for a few moments and then answered, “Well, it’s like this: whichever one you go to, you’ll be sorry you didn’t go to the other”.
1) What was Mr. Gray ‘s business?
2) What did Mr. Gray need most of all after a long and tiring journey?
3) How many hotels were there in the town?
4) Why couldn’t the local man give Mr. Gray a definite answer?
Jim lived with his parents until he was twenty-one years old, and then he got a job in the office of a big factory in another town, so he left home. He found a comfortable little flat which had two rooms, a small kitchen and a bathroom, and he lived there on his own.
At first he cleaned it himself, but he did not want to have to go on doing this, so he determined to find someone else to do it instead of him. He asked a lot of his fellow workers at the factory what they did about this, and at last one of the men said, “Oh, Mrs. Roper comes and cleans my flat regularly. She washes the dishes, irons my shirts and keeps the place neat and tidy and so on. I’ll introduce you to her, if you like. She’s a charming old lady. She does her best, but she hasn’t got much energy”.
“Well, you’d better ask her to come and see me, please,” Jim answered. So the next evening Mrs. Roper came to see him, and she agreed with pleasure to come to his flat every morning for an hour.
After she had been working for Jim for two weeks, he looked at the mirror in his bedroom and thought, “That mirror looks very dusty. Mrs. Roper’s forgotten to clean it. I can write on it with my finger”. He wrote a message in the dust: “I’m coughing whenever I breathe because everything in this room is very dusty”.
He came home at 7 o’clock that evening, and when he had eaten his supper, he went into his bedroom and looked at the mirror. “That silly old woman still hasn’t cleaned it!” he said to himself. “All it needs is a cloth!”
But then he bent down and saw a bottle in front of the mirror. “I didn’t put that bottle there”. He thought. “Mrs. Roper must have left it”. He picked the bottle up and looked at it carefully.
“She’s written some words on it,” he said to himself. He read the words. They were: “Cough medicine”.
1) Where did Jim find a job?
2) What kind of flat did Jim have?
3) How did Jim get to know Mrs. Roper?
4) How did Jim let Mrs. Roper know what he thought about her work?