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Monday, October 31, 2016

My First Visit (Elementary- Intermediate level)




My name is Tim, and I am only a rough-haired terrier dog, so you must not mind if I make mistakes in this story, because it is the first time I have ever told a real, story book one.
I thought perhaps you would like to hear about some of the people I met the first time I went on a visit with my master.
We went to stay at a big house in the country. There were no other houses round it, only lots and lots of trees, and they kept the houses away, I expect.
When we first arrived, I kept pretty quiet the train had made me feel rather queer in my legs. I wasn't frightened; none of our family are ever frightened of anything—certainly not of a silly old train that doesn't even know how to growl properly.
Well, after I began to get used to things, I went out into the garden to see if I could find someone to play with. It was rather dull without Jo. He is my brother, but he isn't old enough to go visiting like I do.
At first there did not seem to be anyone about at all. Then I saw an old wooden tub. I went and had a look at that. I have found some funny things in tubs before now—sticks and boats, bits of cork that give you a pain inside if you eat them—but never have I seen such a funny thing as there was in this tub.
It was very small, with shiny black hair, a shiny red face, and it was swimming about just like a fish. It smiled at me all the time, too. I didn't like that a bit, so I barked as loud as I could; but it made no difference. I could not make it out, and I got very angry, so I walked off with my tail in the air.
In a sunny corner I found the Duke and Duchess. They were very rude to me indeed. In fact, the Duchess spat at me, just like the common Tabby family do at home.
I very soon left them, and then I found Laddie, the fine old Scotch collie, but he wasn't much fun; he is nearly deaf, and he was very busy staring at some white woolly lambs on green stands. Laddie loves those lambs; he once ate one when he was young. He told me so himself, and—it was much worse than eating cork. Then I heard a great deal of barking, growling and snarling.
I knew it must be Bob, the bull dog. I had been longing to fight him ever since I came. I ran to the field as fast as I could, my heart beating very hard, for Bob had boasted to me of all the fights he had won, and I was thirsting to beat him.
Then I saw him, tearing down the field, his tail tucked in between his legs, his ears laid flat. He was running away from the old red bull. He had made faces at him, and then ran away when the bull pretended to chase him. I wasn't going to fight him after that. I wouldn't run away from an old bull.
Bob ran into the kitchen, and pretended to be asleep when I spoke to him.
I went back to the tub after that, and I just went straight up to the funny, smiling thing, and—I kissed it. After that, we were great friends, and had lovely games every day till I went away. I wonder if Bob ever plays with it. I will fight him if he does.

The Goose Girl (Elementary-Intermediate level)




Gretchen was a goose girl. She lived in a tiny cottage with a red roof, all amidst the fields, and woods, and hills, and every day she took a big stick and drove her geese across the common to the pond on the other side.
One summer morning her mother said she might take a holiday, and go and visit her Auntie Jeanne. So Gretchen dressed herself in her best clothes, and set out to the village. She spent a happy time with her auntie, and after tea started for home.
Just on the edge of the common she met her geese.
When they saw her they began to cackle in great excitement, and caught hold of her skirts. Gretchen drove them off with her umbrella. But they only waddled on a little way, then looked back to see what she was doing.
“I believe they want me to follow them!” cried Gretchen.
As soon as the geese saw her coming they began to run, and Gretchen ran after. On and on they went, over the common, across the fields, until they came to a little shady dell in a wood. And here Gretchen stopped, and clapped her hands with delight, for on the mossy ground was spread the most delicious tea she had ever seen. All around sat a number of little brown rabbits. Peter Bunny spied Gretchen first.
“Look, mother!” he cried. “There's a little servant girl!”
“So there is!” exclaimed Mrs. Bunny, staring at Gretchen. “What wages do you ask, my dear?”
Gretchen thought this great fun. “If you please,” she said, “I should be quite satisfied with some of those lovely cakes.”
“As many as you like,” said Mrs. Bunny. “Now go and fetch the tea.”
The geese had vanished, so Gretchen filled the tea pot from the little kettle on the fire, and Peter Bunny carried dishes of cakes. Then they all sat down, and Gretchen had as many cakes as she could eat. When tea was over, Mrs. Bunny told Gretchen to go and play with the children until bedtime.

“What's that?” asked Peter, presently, pointing to the umbrella, and Gretchen showed him how it opened and shut.
“I know!” he cried. “We'll go for a sail in the air.”
“Hurrah!” cried all the other rabbits, and they dragged Gretchen and the umbrella on to the common.
She opened the umbrella wide, Peter caught hold of her skirts, and the other rabbits joined on behind, holding on to each other's tails. “One, two, three—go!” cried Peter, and the whole party went soaring into the air. It was a delicious feeling. Higher and higher they went, until at last they were right above the clouds.
“Oh!” cried Gretchen, suddenly, “the umbrella's shutting up! Oh! whatever shall we do?” Sure enough the umbrella was no longer puffed out like a balloon, but hanging loosely round the handle, and the next moment it began to fall.
“We're tumbling into the sea!” cried the rabbit at the bottom of the chain, and there was a loud splash.
Splash, splash, splash! One by one all the bunnies fell in until only Peter and Gretchen were left. All of a sudden the umbrella flew out of her hands, and she awoke to find herself sitting by the side of the pond, while her geese were splashing in for their evening swim. On the ground in front of her lay the umbrella, but Peter and the rest of the rabbits had completely disappeared.
“I hope they're not drowned,” she said, as she got up and peered into the pond. But the water was so clear she could look right to the bottom, and no sign of a bunny rabbit could she see.
“It must have been a dream,” she said, as she smoothed out her dress.
“But those cakes were lovely. So was the journey through the air.” She picked up her umbrella and opened it, but it wouldn't lift her an inch off the ground. So she scampered home to find mother standing in the doorway looking for her, but when she told her story, mother laughed.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

IELTS Vocabulary Practice (Intermediate-Advanced level)


cadaver
firmanent
furnish
gaunt
gnaw
haggard


1.     Uplifted sheets of snow drifted hither and thither before the wind – a world of eddying flakes shutting out the ______ above.
2.     A night of restless slumber, filled with dreams of feasting – wakings distressed with the ______ of hunger.
3.     The sixth day passed -  the seventh dawned upon as _____ and ______ and hopeless a company of men as ever stood in the shadow of death.
4.     Richard, tall,_____, and pale, rose up.
5.     We must determine which of us shall die to _____ food for the rest!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Home in the Wainscot (Elementary-Intermediate)




One day two little mice entered an old house where they hoped to settle down and make their home, Mr. and Mrs. Mousey by name.
After looking about for some time they decided on a corner close to the kitchen wainscot, and not far from the larder.
They made a cosy little nest of string and paper, working hard all day, hardly resting till late at night. As to food, Mr. Mousey soon found where that was to be got. Many were the visits he paid to the larder, and delicious were the biscuits and cheese that he found there. It almost seemed as if things were left for them, for the biscuits were in bags and the cheese uncovered.
At last the nest was finished and they lay down to rest.
The very next morning six very tiny pinkish-looking things were to be seen in the nest. They had bright eyes and long tails, and would soon grow into brown little animals like their father and mother. Oh, how proud the latter were! Mr. Mousey could hardly keep his eyes off them, and Mrs. Mousey danced round squeaking with delight. “They are beautiful, my dear,” said Mr. Mousey, “just like you.”
“Pardon me, my love,” said his wife, with a proud look at their darlings, “they are likely to be as handsome as you.” The parents embraced each other tenderly, and then Mr. Mousey started off to find food for the little family.
Every day the children grew bigger and stronger, and merry games they had, as they chased each other round the nest.
But, alas! their happiness was not to continue. One sad day a terrible disappointment awaited Mr. Mousey. He had started off on his usual visit to the larder. He returned almost at once, saying,
“My dear, we must move. I heard the Cook say everything was to be put in tins, so we shall starve if we stay, and,” with a shudder, “worse still, she has got a cat. I fear she will hear the children's voices, and we shall be caught.”
So gathering their family around them they told the sad news, and glancing tearfully at their cosy nest, they crept sadly away.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Mrs. Gamp and Mrs. Puss-Cat (elem-intermediate level)



                   
Mrs. Gamp and Mrs. Puss-Cat lived all by themselves in a wee wee house. Mrs. Gamp was a dear old soul with snowy white hair, and rosy red cheeks, and such a smiling face and kind soft heart.
Mrs. Puss-Cat had a lovely tabby coat, as smooth as velvet, and a beautiful fluffy tail. Her eyes were bright and twinkly, and she would sit in front of the fire for hours and hours thinking of nothing but mischief.
One day Mrs. Gamp was invited out to tea. She put on her very best gown, and her new mob-cap trimmed with ribbons and flowers.When she looked at herself in the glass she felt pleased! As soon as Mrs. Gamp had gone, Mrs. Puss-Cat gave three loud purrs of joy, and all the mischief she had been thinking came out at once. She trotted into the garden and got her feet all covered with mud. Then she scampered upstairs, and danced a cat dance all over the clean white counterpane on Mrs. Gamp's bed. She climbed on the washstand, and upset the water jug, then she squeezed into the wardrobe, and pulled Mrs. Gamp's dresses out on to the floor. And some of them she tore to teeny tiny shreds!
When she had finished she darted out of the room. But alack-a-day! At the top of the stairs she slipped, and fell—bumpetty, bumpetty, bump, all the way to the bottom.
Presently Mrs. Gamp came home. And the first thing she heard was a strange noise in the kitchen. First a miaou. Then a sob. Then more miaous. Then—sob, sob, sob! She opened the door, and there, perched upon a stool in front of the dresser sat Mrs. Puss-Cat.
Her head was swollen very, very big. Round her neck was tied some of the ribbon off Mrs. Gamp's best bonnet, and another piece was twisted round one fat paw. And from her big round eyes great tear-drops were falling—splash, splash upon the floor.
Mrs. Gamp threw up her arms. “Oh! dearie me!” she cried. “What ever is the matter? Oh! dearie, dearie me!”
“Miaou, miaou!” sobbed Mrs. Puss-Cat. “Oh! my poor paw! My poor, poor paw!”
Mrs. Gamp's tender heart was touched. She rushed upstairs to fetch some ointment. But when she opened her bedroom door—well! you know what she saw!
Her tender heart grew cold as stone, and oh! she was so angry!She raced downstairs, and gave Mrs. Puss-Cat the biggest whipping she had ever given her before.Then she took off her best ribbon, and opened the front door wide.
And Mrs. Puss-Cat went slinking out with her tail between her legs, and a terribly vicious look in her big round eyes.
But Mrs. Gamp's heart soon grew tender again.
She opened the front door, and called Mrs. Puss-Cat back. And Mrs. Puss-Cat came at once, looking very penitent and sad.
Mrs. Gamp gave her some nice hot milk, and put her in a comfy basket in front of the fire.
Then she sat by her side, and stroked her smooth velvety head.
And slowly all the naughty mischief slipped out of Mrs. Puss-Cat's head, and nice, kind thoughts came in.
And now she is really and truly the nicest Mrs. Puss-Cat in the world.