1. The man had a newspaper open in front of him which____________
2. The detective showed the owner of the restaurant____________
3. The narrator thought he was lucky to come to a restaurant where
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 ladys 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 mans 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 officers 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 didnt get it.»
«In that case,» the officer declared angrily, «you were quite wrong to take it away from him. Youd better return it immediately, or therell 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.
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.
Pollys 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.
«Youll have to find some kind of a job to pay for your college,» Pollys 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 youll need.»
«Thank you very much,» Polly answered. «Im really very grateful to you both. And theres no problem about getting a job . the head of the art college has offered me one in their library.»
After a few months, Pollys 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 dont 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 Im trying to do myself.»
Pollys 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 didnt 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 Goghs Sunflowers.» «What a cheek!» her father answered. «Hes copied the picture weve had in our hall for the last ten years!»
Sam was an old farmer. He was born on his farm and had lived on it all his life. He had married his neighbours daughter, and they grew fruit and vegetables.
Sam got up at five oclock every 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 years 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, «Didnt 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 didnt know was that you were here.»
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 dont regard the work as difficult — at least not at present — I dont 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 Sebastians work, so he arrived one evening at Sebastians 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 Sebastians 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! Its so full of deep feeling! Im sure I could sell this one for you!»
«That,» said Sebastian, «is the place where I clean the paint off my brushes.»
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
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 dont 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. In the right size.
If you suffer from insomnia, as some people do, mild exercise can often help you to sleep at night. Just dont 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 todays competitive fast moving world its 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.
I dont live in Tokyo. I dont 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» about Tokyo, 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 than London or New York, but it is not an important fact for me.
In Tokyo there 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 in Tokyo they often spend a long time in traffic jams. Tokyo is not different from London, Paris and New York. It is different when one wants to walk.
At certain times of the day there are a lot of people on foot in Londons Oxford Street or near the big shops and stores in other great cities. But the streets in Tokyo always 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 in Tokyo is 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. At 8 oclock in 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 a London train you would see everybody reading a newspaper. In Tokyo trains 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.
John Cleef s father played for a Dutch football club when he was a young man. When the Cleefs left Holland and moved to London, 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).
Johns 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 at ten oclock with a meeting, followed by an hour and a halfs 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 for England,» he says with a smile, «even if it should mean that they beat Holland ten-nil!»
There are about 22,000 police officers in England. 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.
«Thats 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 havent 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 dont 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 wouldnt 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!»
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 of London. 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 hadnt 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.»
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 by eleven oclock he 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 after midnight.
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 neighbours 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. Woods anger vanished at once. «Id 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 hed come to make trouble. Thats 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 partys nearly over!»
Tom was looking forward to his first journey by Tube, as the underground railway in London is called. He had heard a great deal about it from his friends who had already been to England. They all advised him not to travel alone the first time. But Tom is the kind of person who never listens to anyones advice. It is not surprising, therefore, that his first journey by Tube was not a great success.
Tom entered the station just after five oclock in 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.
Michael didnt feel able to talk about the bullying to anyone. His mother would worry, he knew that. His sister had her own life and he couldnt 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 couldnt, well, that was his problem.
He didnt 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, whatve 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, butusually 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 theyd hurt me if… if I didnt give them money,» the younger boy said. «And I havent got any money — only my bus pass…»
«Were there three of them?» Michael asked quickly. «Theyre from school, arent 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 theres only one way to stop it. Weve 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. «Ill see the head first thing in the morning. And dont worry, either of you. This wont happen again, I promise you.»
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 no 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.
Mr. Gray travelled a lot on business. He sold machines of various kinds to fanners. 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. Grays 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, its like this: whichever one you go to, youll be sorry you didnt go to the other.»
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. Ill introduce you to her, if you
like. Shes a charming old lady. She does her best, but she hasnt got much energy.»
«Well, youd 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. Ropers forgotten to clean it. I can write on it with my finger.» He wrote a message in the dust: «Im coughing whenever I breathe because everything in this room is very dusty.»
He came home at 7 oclock that evening, and when he had eaten his supper, he went into his bedroom and looked at the mirror. «That silly old woman still hasnt 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 didnt put that bottle there.» He thought. «Mrs. Roper must have left it.» He picked the bottle up and looked at it carefully.
«Shes written some words on it,» he said to himself. He read the words. They were: «Cough medicine.»
George Robinson was ambitious but not very clever when he was at school, and he left when he was sixteen. At first he did not know what to do, but then he tried selling cheap toys in the street, and it quickly became clear that he was a clever businessman. Soon, without much struggle, he had a small shop of his own.
Before he was thirty he had quite a big factory for making toys, and had succeeded in making a considerable fortune.
George had always been interested in local politics. He was elected to the town council when he was thirty-two, and was such a busy and useful member of it that he rapidly became mayor.
Although he was very successful in international industry as well as in local government, George was still not a very well-educated man, and as he was also a very busy one, he began to have the speeches he had to
make written for him by a special speechwriter. George never had any difficulties with him and got quite used to trusting him. In the end he did not trouble even to look at what he was given until it was time to make the speech.
Then one day George had to make an important speech at a formal official ceremony marking the opening of a new library. He had been away on urgent business for a week before this occasion, so he had had no time to read through his speech at all.
When it was his turn to speak to the audience, he stood up on the stage, took his speech out of his pocket and began to read it. He enjoyed jokes, and always asked his speechwriter to put a few good ones in each speech he wrote for him, to put his audience in good temper. This time, sure enough, he came to the words, «And that reminds me of one of my favourite stories».
George had actually never heard that story before, and when he looked at it before reading it aloud, he burst out laughing and laughed so much that he fell off the platform on which he was standing and broke his arm.
Johnny was three when he ran away from home for the first time. Somebody left the garden gate open. Johnny wandered out, crossed some fields, and two hours later, arrived in the next village. He was just able to give his name and address.
By the time he was seven, Johnny used to vanish from home two to three times a year. Sometimes he covered quite long distances on foot. On other occasions he got on a bus or even a train, and simply sat there until someone asked for his ticket. Generally the police brought him home. «Why do you do it?» they used to ask. «You arent unhappy at home, are you?» «Of course not,» Johnny replied. «Then why?» «I just like seeing places,» Johnny told them.
Johnny continued to «see places» although everyone tried to stop him. His parents used to watch him closely, and so did his teachers . but sooner or later Johnny managed to slip away. As he grew older, his
favourite trick was to hide on a long distance lorry. Sometimes he used to travel hundreds of miles before anyone discovered him.
It is hardly surprising that eventually Johnny managed to get on board a plane. He was twelve at the time. It was a cargo plane and, a few hours later, Johnny found himself in Cairo. How did he get on board? No one knows! According to Johnny himself, it was easy: he just went into the airport, walked along some corridors and got on board the nearest plane.
In spite of all this, Johnny did well at school. He enjoyed maths and languages and, perhaps not surprisingly, he was especially good at geography. «What do you want to be when you grow up?» his teacher asked him. Johnny did not take long to answer that question. «An explorer!» he answered. «But its difficult to become an explorer in this modern age,» they tried to tell him, «unless you go into space!» But it was no use: Johnny knew what he wanted!
Just before he left school, Johnny saw a notice in one of the daily papers. An expedition was about to go to Brazil to travel up the Amazon. There were vacancies for three young people «willing to work hard and with a sense of adventure.» Johnny applied… and, two months later, he was on his way to Brazil.
Aunt Jane is now well over seventy, but she is still a great cinema-goer. The cinema in our town closed down years ago and sometimes she has to travel twenty miles or more to see a good film. And once a month at least she goes up to London to see the latest foreign films. Of course she could see most of these films on television, but the idea does not attract her. «It isnt the same,» she says. «For one thing, the screens too small. Besides, I like going to the cinema!»
One thing has always puzzled us. Although Aunt Jane has lots of friends and always enjoys company, she always goes to the cinema alone. We discovered the reason for this only recently — from mother. «It may surprise you to learn that Aunt Jane wanted to be an actress when she was young,» she told us. «She used to wait outside film studios all day,
just to appear in crowd scenes. Your aunt has probably appeared in dozens of films — as a face in the crowd at a railway station or in the street! Sometimes she did not even know the name of the film they were making, so she couldnt go to see herself at the cinema!
«All the time, of course, she was looking for a small part in a film. Her big chance came when they started to make a film in our town. Jane managed to meet the director at a party, and he offered her a role as a shopkeeper. It really was a very small part — she only had a few lines to say — but it was an important moment for Jane. Before the great event, she rehearsed for days. In fact, she turned the sitting-room into a shop! We all had to help, going in and out of the shop until she was word perfect. And on the actual day she was marvellous. The director congratulated her. Jane thought that this was the beginning of her film career!
«Unfortunately, in the end, they did not include the shop scene in the film. But nobody told Jane! When the film first appeared in London, she took all her friends to see it. And of course she wasnt in it! It was a terrible blow! She stopped going to film studios and gave up the idea of becoming an actress. She still loves the cinema, as you all know, but from that day she has always gone alone!»
Andy Barton was in a bad mood. It was Friday, and at six oclock his favourite programme Travel with us, was on TV. Andy liked to get home in good time for that. But then, just as he was leaving the office a little early, a customer rang up with a few complaints. The customer complained steadily for the next fifteen minutes! «I can still get home in time if I hurry,» Andy told himself as he dashed out of the office. But then, as he drove off in his car, he noticed that he was almost out of petrol. «Ill have to stop at Fentons,» Andy thought. He hated Fentons because it was a self-service petrol station. «You do all the work yourself, but you pay the same for the petrol,» he used to grumble.
But at Fentons things went wrong again! The pump was not working properly and it took ages to get the petrol. It was four minutes to six by
the time Andy jumped back into his car and drove off. But at two minutes past six he was sitting in front of the television, watching Travel with us. He was on his way to Japan!
Then the phone rang. «Shall I answer it?» Andy thought. He tried to concentrate on Japan and forget the phone. But it kept on ringing and finally he picked it up.
«Mr. Barton?» a voice said. «Fentons Garage here.»
«Fentons?» said Andy. «Why, I was at your place only a few minutes ago, getting some petrol. Did I leave something behind or what?» «No, you didnt, Mr. Barton,» the voice went on. «Thats just the trouble! You didnt leave anything behind! You went off without paying for your petrol, you see! Now normally, when that happens, we ring up the police. But luckily I recognised you because I live on the same street as you, and I knew it was a mistake.»
«Im really very sorry,» Andy said.
«Oh, thats all right, Mr. Baron. These things happen! But could you come round now and pay for your petrol? And please hurry! We close at half past six!»
Patrick Reilly was the manager of a company that made washing powders, among other things. The company employed several scientists, whose job was to find new and better kinds of products, including washing powders.
Patrick did not know very much about science himself, but he used to meet his scientists regularly. He always enjoyed it and took a great interest in what they were doing.
One day one of them was in Patricks office, talking about plans for the future, when he said to Patrick, «I suppose you know Sir James White. He was my professor at the university where I studied, and now hes one of the worlds greatest and most honoured biologists.»
«Oh, yes, I know,» Patrick answered, «but Ive never actually met him. What about him?»
«Well,» said the scientist, «hes discovered some new type of system that might be very useful to us for improving our manufacture of soap powders. I read an article about it yesterday in one of the scientific journals I take every month. You ought to meet him.»
«Id like to,» Patrick answered. «What do you think of inviting him to dinner one evening and suggesting that we might be able to offer him a job as an adviser?»
«I agree,» the scientist replied. «That would be an excellent decision.»
Patrick got his secretary to ring Professor Whites office at the university to give him the invitation, and they managed to find a date on which they would both be free for dinner.
«Itll be a small family affair,» Patrick said. «I propose to invite two of my scientific staff with their wives. One of them was a student of yours. And I hope Lady White will be able to come too.»
«Thank you,» the professor answered, «Im sure shell be delighted to.»
Patrickhad a son of sixteen, who had finished his O-level examinations and was studying for his A-levels. While everybody was having a drink before dinner, the boy chatted to the professor. «What do you do?» the boy asked.
«I study biology,» the professor answered.
«Oh?» the boy answered proudly. «Well, I finished biology last July.»
Mr. Price, the antique dealer, lived alone in a small flat above his shop. Because of the many valuable articles which he kept on the premises, he was always afraid that one night someone would break in and rob him. Years before, when he had first come to live there, he had strong locks put on all the doors. In addition, he locked up most of his valuable articles in a cupboard, which he had specially made for this purpose. But, in spite of these precautions, he never felt safe, particularly when he had a lot of money in the flat after a good days business.
One Saturday night, when he counted his money after closing the shop, he found that he had taken nearly two thousand pounds that day. This was
an exceptionally large sum and the thought of keeping it in the house made him feel very nervous. He knew that it would be better to take it to his sons house, where there was a small safe, but it was a foggy evening and his son lived on the other side of town. In the end, he took the money with him to his bedroom, put it in the pocket of one of his overcoats and locked the wardrobe door. He put the key under his pillow and went to bed.
Mr. Price lay awake for a long time, wondering if his money was really safe, and it was well after midnight before he fell asleep. Almost immediately, or so it seemed, he was woken up by the loud ringing of the shop doorbell. He sat up in bed. Could he have been dreaming? Surely, he thought, no one could want to see him at this hour of the night. The doorbell rang again, echoing through the silent house. Once again the doorbell rang, more persistently this time.
Mr. Price got out of bed and went across to the window. The fog had
i cleared slightly. He opened the window and looked out. He could just
! make out the shadowy figure of a man standing on the pavement below.
«What do you want?» Mr. Price called out in a nervous voice. The figure
stepped back until it was standing under the street lamps. It was a
policeman. «Sorry to disturb you, sir,» said the policeman, «but there is a
light on in your shop. I think you have forgotten to turn it off.»
We were lucky that morning. The train was not very crowded and we managed to get a corner seat to ourselves in one of those long open carriages. «I dont like this sort of carriage,» Mark said as he took out papers for our meeting, «but at least you get a table to work on!»I fetched some coffee and biscuits from the restaurant car and we settled down to work. People passed up and down the train, and once the ticket inspector came to look at our tickets. But, apart from that, it was a peaceful journey.
«Good!» said Mark after an hour or so. «I think weve just about finished.» He began to put away his papers. «What time is it?» he asked. «My watch has stopped.» «About nine-thirty, I reckon,» I said. «Hold on a moment. My watch is here somewhere on the table.»
I looked under my own papers, and then on the floor, but there was no sign of my watch. It was not in my pockets, either.
«You didnt put it in your bag, did you?» I asked Mark. «Along with your papers.» He checked, but the watch was not there.
«Its very odd,» I said. «I remember taking it off and putting it on the table when we started work. No ones been near us except the ticket collector — and he didnt pick it up!»
«Someone came and cleared away the coffee cups,» Mark said. «I remember seeing a man with a big plastic bag.»
The man with the plastic bag came from the restaurant car, one of the passengers informed us. I went along there to see him and I explained my problem.
«Are you sure?» the man asked. «Look, theres the bag — full of rubbish. I dont want to empty everything out if youre not sure.»
«I cant be absolutely certain,» I said, «but my watch was on the table. Ill look in the bag myself if you like. Its a very expensive watch!»
«Well, in that case, wed better have a look, sir,» the man said and emptied everything out on the floor. There, among the paper coffee cups, half-eaten biscuits and pieces of paper, lay my very valuable watch!.
«Phew!» I said. «I think I need another cup of coffee after that!»
«Sorry, sir,» the man snapped. «The restaurant car is closed. Were almost at London.»
Wherever you are in Britain, you are never more than 120 kilometres from the sea. So perhaps it is not surprising that the idea of the seaside holiday started here. The fashion began at the end of the eighteenth century and by the 1930s, twenty million more people used Britains railways during August than in May or October. For a few weeks every year the whole of Britain seemed to be at the seaside. There were enough beds in Blackpools hotels and guest houses for half a million holidaymakers.
But holiday fashions have changed a lot since the thirties. Today two-thirds of British holidaymakers spend their holidays abroad. Package
holidays and charter flights have brought foreign travel within the range of most peoples pockets and you will find more Britons in Spain, Greece, Tunisia and the Canary Islands than in Blackpool. Some people, though, still remain faithful to the traditional British seaside holiday: 78-year-old grandmother, Edna Parker has just been to Blackpool for her annual summer holiday… for the 58th time!
It all began back in 1934 when Edna, just married, spent her honeymoon in Blackpool with her husband, Cyril. They liked it so much that they decided to return the following year. Edna became a mother, a grandmother and sadly, a widow, but she still continued to choose Blackpool for her summer holidays. She always takes her holiday in the first two weeks of June and over the years she has always enjoyed doing the same things. Every year she sits in her deckchair in the same spot on the beach below the famous Blackpool Tower, takes a donkey-ride along the sands and enjoys her favourite seaside lunch of fish, chips and peas.
This year, however, there was something different: the Lord Mayor held a special reception for Edna to celebrate her 58th Blackpool holiday. Will she be coming back for a 59th visit? Edna promised that she would. «I wouldnt go anywhere else — and Ill be back next year. Blackpool has everything I want for a holiday — including the worlds best fish and chips. And the town has so many happy memories.»
If you put all of Ednas visits together, they add up to an amazing two years in the seaside resort. Until ten years ago she had always stayed in the same guest house. She was disappointed when it closed down, but she did not go very far away. She booked into another guest house in the same road!
After a hasty breakfast in the station restaurant, Peter set about the task of finding a room where he could live for the next few months. He knew exactly what he wanted: a room which was neither too small, nor so large that it would be difficult to heat in winter. It had to be clean and
comfortable too but, above all, it had to be quiet, with a view that did not look directly onto the street. In the newspaper he had brought from the bookstall there were very few advertisements for rooms to let. But, as he glanced down the page, a notice in bold capital letters caught his eye. FLATS AND ROOMS TO LET
This seemed promising, so he made a note of the address and set off in search of the agency. He found it in a narrow street just off the main road. The woman at the desk gave him a bright smile as he entered and, after he had explained what sort of room he was looking for, gave him for the small fee of two pounds a list of about half a dozen landladies who had rooms to let.
At the first house Peter tried, the landlady, who looked about seventy years old was so deaf that he had to shout to make her hear. When at last she understood, she shook her head and told him that she no longer let rooms. At the second house on the list all the rooms were taken. At the third the landlady was not at home. Peter was beginning to feel less hopeful, when he noticed that there was a telephone number after one of the addresses on the list. To save time, therefore, Peter rang up the landlady and enquired if she had a room to let. He was pleasantly relieved to hear that she had one vacant. He hurried round to the house, which stood well back from the road in a pleasant avenue. The room he was shown lay at the back of the house, overlooking a garden full of flowers and bushes. He noted, too, with satisfaction, that there was a large table in the room, where he could spread out his books and work in comfort. Furthermore, the rent was moderate. It was just what he was looking for. Without hesitation he told the landlady that he would take the room, paid a weeks rent in advance and went back to the station to get his luggage.
It was dark in the attic, as Miss Manning had warned him. Weston found the small window in the roof and forced it open, thus letting in more light. He could just make out the boxes which Miss Manning had told him about.
«When my father died,» Miss Manning had said, «his large library was sold up. His papers, and some other possessions of no great value, were stored in boxes and put up in the attic. Theyve been there ever since. I dont suppose the room has been opened for over ten years.»
«What about his diaries?» asked Weston. «In one of his letters to a friend, Colonel Manning mentions that he kept a diary.»
«I dont remember seeing any diaries,» said Miss Manning, with a puzzled look on her face. «Of course, he may have destroyed them before his last illness. Otherwise they must be in those boxes in the attic.»
«I see,» murmured Weston. «In that case, will you allow me to examine those boxes? If I can find the diaries, Ill be able to write a much more complete account of your fathers life.»
«Certainly you may,» said Miss Manning. «You cant imagine how thrilled I am that anyone would want to write a book about father. I would have taken more care of his papers if I had known.»
After searching through a number of drawers, Miss Manning found the key to the attic.
«You wont find it easy to see up there,» she said as she handed him the key. «Theres a small window in the roof, but I expect that it will be too dirty to see through.»
There were about a dozen boxes in all. Weston did not know where to begin. He opened the first one, then another, but found nothing that looked like diaries. Then he decided to try the largest box. It was full of papers. As he turned these over, a bundle of exercise books, tied together with string, caught his eye. On the cover of the top one were written the words «DIARY, 1935-36».
Helen packed a small suitcase, said good-bye to her mother and
hurried out of the house to catch the bus to the station. There was no
one else waiting at the bus-stop, so it looked as if a bus had just left.
Helen looked at her watch anxiously: it was already two oclock. Her
. train left at two-thirty, and since it would take at least twenty minutes
to reach the station, she did not have much time to spare, even if a bus came along at once.
Just then a taxi came slowly down the road. Helen knew that the fare to the station was at least two pounds, which was more than she could afford . but she quickly made up her mind that it would be well worth the extra expense in order to be sure of catching her train. So she stopped the taxi and got in. She told the driver that she had to catch a train which left at half past two. The man nodded and said that he would take a short cut to get her to the station in good time.
All went well until, just as they were coming out of a side-street into the main road that led to the station, the taxi ran into a car. There was a loud crash and Helen was thrown forward so violently that she hit her head on the front seat. Both drivers got out and began shouting at each other. Helen got out as well, to ask them to stop quarrelling, but neither of them took any notice of her at all.
Helen was quite sure that she was going to miss her train, although she was not very far from the station. She was wondering what to do when a bus came into sight, going in the direction of the station. The bus-stop was not far off, so Helen got her suitcase out of the taxi and ran towards the bus, which had stopped to let some passengers get off. The bus conductor saw her running and did not ring the bell for the bus to start until she had got on. Helen reached the station just in time and managed to catch her train after all. But if she had waited for the taxi driver to stop arguing, she probably would have missed it.
Nick was bored with life. Every day was exactly the same. He got up at exactly the same time . he caught the same bus to work . he did the same things in the office . he talked to the same people . he came home at the same time . he watched the same programmes on television — and he went to bed at the same time!
«What I need is a little adventure!» Nick thought as he waited at the bus-stop one morning. Nicks «little adventure» happened sooner than he expected!
While he was on the bus, reading his newspaper (the same one that jje read every morning), the man sitting next to him suddenly pushed a large brown envelope into his hands. «Here, take this!» he muttered. Then he stood up and got off the bus before Nick could say a word.
Nick sat there, holding the envelope. It felt heavy. There were papers inside, or money perhaps. «Id better hand it over to the police,» he thought. There was a police-station close to his office. But, as he got off the bus, a man approached him. He was obviously waiting for something. «He wants the envelope,» Nick thought. Nick began to walk quickly—and the man hurried after him. Nick started to run — and the man began to run too. But then, just before he got to the police station, Nick managed to lose the man in the crowds. When he entered the police station, the man was no longer in sight.
Inside the police-station, Nick handed over the envelope to the inspector in charge. The inspector opened it. The envelope was full of money —-false money. «Obviously the man made a mistake,» the inspector said. «He thought you were one of the gang! Well, congratulations!»
Nick felt like a hero. He could already see his name in all the papers. He could imagine an interview on television!
«However,» the inspector went on, interrupting Nicks day-dreams, «Im afraid I must ask you to keep quiet about all this. Were trying to catch some very clever thieves — and we dont want them to know that we have some of the money. So you mustnt say a word to anyone — not even your boss! Sorry!»
«So thats that!» Nick said to himself on his way to the office. He was over an hour late. «I ve had my little adventure… but I cant tell anyone about it, so whats the point? Ive even got to make up an excuse for the boss!»
We first became aware that something unusual was happening when one of the ships officers came up to the Chief Engineer, who sat at our table, and spoke to him in a low voice. The Chief Engineer at once stood up and with a brief excuse, which told us nothing, left the dining-room. At first we thought that there had been an accident or that a fire
had broken out on board ship, but soon the word went round that a man had been seen floating in the sea. Then we noticed that the ship had slowed down and was beginning to turn round, with rather a violent motion. Some of the passengers did not wait to finish their meal, but at once rushed up on deck. Others crowded round the portholes, making it impossible for us to eat in comfort. There was such confusion in the dining-room that we decided to join those who had gone up on deck.
There we learnt that one of the crew had seen a man in the sea some distance from the ship. He had informed the captain, who at once ordered the ship to be turned round. We were now only two hundred yards or so from the man, and a lifeboat had already been lowered into the sea. In it there were four sailors, who were sitting ready at the oars, an officer and the ships doctor. The officer shouted an order and the sailors began to row away from the ship. By looking in the same direction as the boat was going, we were able to make out the position of the man in the water. He was clinging to a large piece of wood.
At last, after what seemed to us an age, the lifeboat reached the man and two of the sailors pulled him on board. This was not at all easy, for the sea was rather rough. Then the sailors began to row back to the ship again. The lifeboat was raised out of the water and the rescued man, wrapped in a blanket, was helped out on to the deck. Leaning on the arm of the ships doctor, but still able to walk in spite of his terrible experience, he was led off to the ships hospital. As he passed along the deck, everyone cheered loudly.
Helen was a very successful business woman. She had always liked nice clothes, and when she left school she had gone and worked in a shop which sold them, not far from her home. After a few experiments she showed that she was very successful at designing the sorts of things that women want to buy, so after a few years the owner of the shop, who was an oldish lady, offered to make her a partner.
Helen was very pleased, of course, and when the old lady retired,
Helen bought her share and became the sole owner of the shop. Now she had her independence.
Ever since she had started in the shop she had had to travel around to see what attractive things her rivals in the clothes trade were producing, to attend fashion shows and so on. She had always stayed at small cheap hotels, because she dared not to spend too much money when she was saving up to buy a shop of her own.
But when at last she became the owner of the shop, and it was making good profits, she found that she had plenty of money, and she felt she should now stay in the best hotels whenever she travelled.
So when she had to go to the next fashion show, which was in Rome, she stayed at a very good hotel. She had a nice big room with beautiful furniture in which she could entertain customers, and there were also fine public rooms where she could, to her great pride, hold small fashion shows of her own. The room service was excellent, and so was the dining-room, which had a band every evening for dancing. Helen had never before dared to stay in such a splendid place.
She could see from the bills she signed for everything that the prices in the hotel were high, but she was still rather surprised when, just before she left, she was given a bill of several pages, written on beautiful headed paper.
She checked the bill carefully, and was happy with everything except the last line, which said «Paper… L 1800», which was about 75p in British money. She could not remember having had any paper from the hotel, so she thought she should go to the cashier and ask him about it.
«That, madam,» said the cashier, «is for the paper your bill is written on.»
I left my friends house shortly after seven. It was still too early for me to have my evening meal, so I walked along the seafront for about an hour until I began to feel hungry. By that time I was not far from a favourite restaurant of mine, where I often went to eat two or three times a week. I knew the owner well and frequently complimented him on his excellent cooking.
I went into the restaurant, which was already crowded, and ordered my meal. While I was waiting for the soup to arrive, I looked around to see if I knew anyone in the restaurant. It was then that I noticed that a man sitting at a corner table near the door kept glancing in my direction as if he knew me. I certainly did not know him, for I never forget a face The man had a newspaper open in front of him, which he was pretending to read, though all the while I could see that he was keeping an eye on me. When the waiter brought my soup, the man was clearly puzzled by the familiar way in which the waiter and I addressed each other. He became even more puzzled as time went on and it grew more and more obvious that I was well known in the restaurant. Eventually he got up and went into the kitchen. After a few minutes he came out again, paid his bill and left without another glance in my direction.
When I had finished and was about to pay my bill, I called the owner of the restaurant over and asked him what the man had wanted. The owner was a little embarrassed by my question and at first he did not want to tell me. I insisted. «Well,» he said, «that man was a detective.» «Really?» I said, considerably surprised. «He was certainly very interested in me. But why?» «He followed you here because he thought you were a man he was looking for,» the owner of the restaurant said. «When he came into the kitchen, he showed me a photograph of the wanted man. He certainly looked like you! Of course, since we know you here, I was able to convince him that he had made a mistake.» «Its lucky I came to a restaurant where I am known,» I said, «otherwise I might have been arrested!»