1. Reading comprehension: Grimble and Grimble at Christmas
As his father was away and it was really up to Grimble to make his own decisions, he decided that he was not well enough
to go to school, and wrote a note. It was quite a short note, neatly written and said: It is my opinion that Grimble is not well
enough to go to school. He wrote a name under it, like grown-ups* do, so that you could not read it. He put the note into
an envelope, wrote the
headmaster's name on it, and went off to deliver it. When he arrived at the gates of the school the teacher was just calling
out the names and had got to Glum and Gray ... "Grimble," he called out.
"Absent, sir," said Grimble and held up the letter. But the teacher took no notice, went on reading the names, closed his
book and went into school. So Grimble put the envelope into his pocket and stayed at school. He thought it was very unfair.
But he was soon quite glad that he had stayed at school because Miss Fishnet, the religious teacher, was ill and they went
into the playground and had a game of football, and he scored three goals, two of them with his left foot, and the other kind
of-with-his-knee. Football in the playground was a very good game because when you played you could see all the other
boys who were sitting in their classrooms.
In the afternoon they did French. Monsieur Boudin was the French teacher and he pronounced all the boys' names in
French. "Alors Grimbell," said Monsieur Boudin, "Speak French." "Oui Monsieur,"said Grimble because he had only started
to learn this term and had not got much further than Oui Monsieur and Non Monsieur, which mean "Yes sir" and "No sir",
and clearly Oui Monsieur was the better of his two sentences.
"What is French for a dog?" said Monsieur Boudin. Grimble really hated saying I don't know, so he said "Un whoof",
Monsieur Boudin was a bit deaf so he said, "Again", and Grimble, thinking he had almost got it right, said, "Un whoof
whoof". "Chien," said the French teacher, "write down chien, and while you are writing it down also write down chat, which
is "cat". Write it down very often, then I
can have a little sleep." Grimble decided that when he grew up he might become a schoolteacher and sleep in the daytime,
then he could read all night.
(A slightly adapted extract from Grimble and Grimble at Christmas by Clement Freud, published in Britain by Penguin Books and in Germany by Oetinger Verlag)
Questions on the text
1.1. Why does Grimble write a note?
1.2. Why does he stay at school after all?
1.3 .Why does Grimble enjoy football?
1.4. Why does Grimble say "Oui Monsieur" when his teacher asks him to speak French?
1.5 .Why do you think Grimble says that the French word for a dog is "un whoof"?
1.6. Why does Grimble want to be a schoolteacher when he grows up?
1.7. What do you find amusing about this extract?
2. The English school system. Write down as many details as possible.
3. Aspect: simple and progressive forms. Jayne and Joff are talking on the phone. Complete their conversation. Use the simple present or present progressive forms of the verbs in brackets.
Joff: Hi, Jayne. It's Joff.
Jayne. Oh, Hi. Joff: Jayne, what (you / do) at the moment?
Jayne: I (sit) in my study and I (finish) my chemistry homework. Why?
Joff: I (need) some help. Which question (write about)? A or B?
Jayne: I (not know) yet. Which one (you / answer)?
Joff: I (try) to answer B. But I (have) problems.
Jayne: Oh, I (think) A is probably easier. Why (not / you / try) to answer A?
Joff: I (find) A just as difficult. Oh, by the way, what (you / plan) to do tonight?
Jayne: My Welsh homework, I (expect).
Joff: Oh. Well, Paul and I (go) to the cinema to see that new film. The one everyone (talk about)
at the moment.
Jayne: Lucky you. I (not have) the time to go to the cinema. I (have) too much homework.
Also, I (try) to save some money for my holiday in France. Anyway, I (hope) the film
Joff: Thanks. Bye.