Day in the Sun
Living in Valencia I have the pleasure of having a beautiful sandy beach just a couple of minutes’ walk from my home, but this wasn’t always the .
When I lived in London, the nearest beach at Southend was a 45-minute drive away. It was full of stones, not , usually cold and and when the tide was out, which it usually was, the sea bed was full of oil and pollution. , it was a beach and I visited it often with my family and, in my late teens, with my friends.
On one exceptionally hot day in the middle of August my friend Neil and I decided to there on our bikes. Bicycles that is, not motorbikes. We were 15 and we calculated it would take us about hours. It took us five, and wearing only T-shirts and shorts, our arms and legs got terribly under the scorching sun.
Tired, and in pain from the sunburn, we walked along the for an hour looking at girls and eating our before climbing back on the bikes for the long ride back down the busy, traffic-filled main road to our London suburb. We didn’t try it again. The experience to look for fun a lot closer to home. The local park, for example!
No Tree, no big deal!
There was no tree, but we did have Christmas in our home. They we called paper chains and came in of different coloured paper.
My mum, my sister, my nan and I would sit at the kitchen table a couple of weeks before Christmas and the ends before joining the strips together in a chain. We’d then then on the walls with a few balloons sellotaped between them for effect.
My dad would go to the open market in the East end of London to buy Christmas goodies. He always went alone and came back with huge boxes full of fruit, chocolates, and biscuits. There was always a couple of boxes of ‘Eat Me’ dates that ever ate.
My nan made the Christmas cake which a ton and had a sixpence inside. It nearly broke your teeth if you weren’t careful. Finding it was to be lucky.
On Christmas morning I always woke up to find a present at the of my bed. This was a tactic employed my mum to keep me occupied so as not to wake my parents too early on Christmas Day.
Presents were divided into groups. My sister and I had the most and they were usually around two large armchairs. Smaller belonged to my Parents, my nan and my sister’s boyfriend, if she had one that year.
Mid-morning Champaign with the was followed by me playing with my new toys and games before the lunch of dry turkey and all the trimmings. The Queen’s , dad sleeping in the chair and a special film on the TV all helped to make Christmas an unforgettable experience. It never once to me that there might be something missing, not even a tree!
Nobody likes going to the dentists, do they? When I was young and living in the UK, I remember being given gas before having a tooth .
Mr. Fox, a kind, gentle dentist with wonderful a sense of humour and half-moon spectacles balancing on the of his nose, would hold a rubber mask over my mouth and nose until I . I’d come round with a wad of bloody cotton wool in mouth, my head spinning.
How strange and barbaric that all sounds now, but 40 years ago tooth extractions by gas were common. As were huge metal connected to rubber and glass bottles.
“How are things at school?”, Mr. Fox would ask, knowing full well I couldn’t speak with my mouth wide open and his fingers inside. “What’s your favourite subject?”
“Ahhayimpruhh anhiraharu”, I replied. Mr.Fox nodded and smiled, as if he understood every word. Perhaps he did!
The best thing about going to the dentist, apart from an afternoon school, was that my mum would always buy me a present afterwards, for being ‘such a good boy’. An Airfix model aeroplane, for example, that would take me weeks to paint and then or a jigsaw puzzle or small game. My bedroom ceiling was full of World War II planes, there as swinging reminders of bravery at the hands of Mr. Fox.
Because of my love for chocolate, cakes and , I’ve never been a stranger to dentists. As fate would have it, I even live with one! Now, when I look around the modern cubicle at the shiny hi-tech and , and miniature cameras and video screens, I often think back to Mr. Fox and the silly schoolboy songs I used to sing to myself to help me through the nervous moments in his huge, old, leather dentist’s chair.
1. According to the
speaker, was the cane an effective form of punishment?
2. How many times did the speaker get ‘caned’ and ‘slippered’ during his time at secondary school?
3. Was ‘Rollerchairs’ a violent game?
4. Did the speaker stop the game as soon as the headmaster came into the room?
5. What do you think ‘it all’ refers to in the final paragraph?
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