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Unformatted text preview: A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend A day in the life of a driving instructor
When Major John Hewson retired from the army at the age of fifty,
he soon found himself at a loose end. He had grown used to army
discipline and he found civilian life dull and boring. For the first few
months he was quite happy in the house that he and his wife had
bought on his retirement, but he soon began to wish he had
something to do. His wife, Mary, also pointed out that his pension
wasn't sufficient for them to live on and that they needed some
extra money. Unfortunately the Major had no qualifications, but he
did know a lot about motor cars. And so three months later he
opened his own school of motoring. He called it the Al School of
Driving. At first the Major thought he would never get more than
one or two clients, but everything changed on the day that the
first of his pupils passed the driving test.
As usual, the Major rose early, ate his breakfast and was in his
office at exactly eight o'clock. The Major was always punctual.
People in the houses opposite the school checked their watches
when he arrived; they knew that the moment he entered his office
it was eight o'clock precisely. The Major's first job each morning
was to go into the garage next door and check the car for oil,
water and air. He returned to the office at eight fifteen. He looked
at his diary and sadly noted that he had no appointments until
midday. Nevertheless, he opened the office at nine o'clock as
usual. Then he sat down at his desk, lit his pipe and opened the
morning newspaper. He knew from many mornings spent in this
way that if he read the paper very slowly he would finish it at half
past eleven — just in time to get ready for his first client. But he
was still reading the front page when the door opened and a
middle-aged woman walked in. Mrs. Carruthers had read the
advertisement for the A1 School in the local paper and had come
for the free trial lesson. The Major offered one hour's free tuition to
anyone; during this time he could judge whether a full course of
twenty-five lessons was necessary or whether a short refresher
course would be sufficient.
Mrs. Carruthers: I do so like the name of your school. Al sounds
encouraging, and as it's run by a colonel I know I shall be in safe
Major: Thank you for the promotion, madam but I am actually a
Mrs. Carruthers: Oh dear, I'm so sorry. Now is that higher or
lower than a colonel? I can never remember.
Major: Lower. But don't let's worry about that. I think I can fit you
in for your free trial lesson now. But first I have to see your
provisional driving licence. Thank you. Yes, that seems to be in
order. Tell me, have you ever taken the driving test? Photocopiable 1 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend Mrs. Carruthers: Well, yes, I'm what you might call an old hand.
Major: You'll have to be more precise than that, I'm afraid. Have
you taken it once? Twice?
Mrs. Carruthers: No, my dear captain, a few more times than
Major: Major, madam, if you don't mind.
Mrs. Carruthers: Yes, of course. I'm so sorry. I knew a captain
once in the army. Or was it the navy?
Major: Perhaps you could just tell me how many times you have
taken the test.
Mrs. Carruthers: Let me see. There was the time I had a little
accident at a pedestrian crossing. And then there was the time I
had a bit of bad luck with the gears. I also remember...
Major: I don't want to hurry you, Mrs. Carruthers, but I'd like to
start at ten o'clock.
Mrs. Carruthers: Yes, of course. Well, let's make a nice round
number, shall we?
Major: Yes, why not?
Mrs. Carruthers: Put down thirty then, Brigadier.
The Major took Mrs. Carruthers out in his car for the trial lesson.
She broke almost every rule in the Highway Code and the Major
was very glad that his car was fitted with dual control. When they
were safely back in the office he told her she would have to take
the full course -partly because she obviously needed it and partly
because it was good for business. Mrs. Carruthers agreed to come
for a lesson at ten o'clock every Tuesday for the next six months.
The Major was not sorry to see her go, particularly as his next
pupil was a young man who was learning quickly. He had had only
three lessons and already he was driving quite well. At one o'clock
the Major went home to lunch.
Mary: How was business this morning, dear?
Major: Let's just say it had its ups and downs.
Mary: I see. Haven't you got a pupil taking the test today?
Major: Yes, Miss Chalmers is taking it this afternoon. She's a.
first-rate driver. I'm sure she'll pass.
Mary: Do you mean that very glamorous girl with the long fair
hair? Photocopiable 2 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend Major: I don't know what colour her hair is. All I know is that
she's a very capable driver.
Mary: I don't believe you, John.
Major: I can assure you she's an excellent driver.
Mary: I'm not talking about her driving. I mean I'm sure you've
noticed the colour of her hair.
Major: Well, maybe it is fair. Anyway, I must hurry now and see
that the car's in order.
When the time came for the driving test the Major always asked
his pupils to arrive at least half an hour early so that he could go
over any points that needed attention. Lucy Chalmers arrived at
the school at a quarter to two.
Lucy: Good afternoon, Major. Have you got your fingers crossed?
Major: There's no need to do that for you, my dear. I'm sure
Lucy: I'm very nervous.
Major: That's only natural. By the way, if I may ask, what's
happened to all your long fair hair?
Lucy: Oh, I'm wearing a short wig today. I thought it would look
Major: That's a good idea. Now let me give you a final test on the
The Major and Lucy drove in silence to the centre where she was
to be tested and sat in the waiting room. The chief examiner
arrived and asked to see Lucy's driving licence; then he made her
sign a declaration that she was, in fact, Miss Lucy Chalmers. The
Major shook hands with Lucy and wished her luck; then she and
the examiner left the room to go to the car. The Major watched the
first part of the test from the window of the waiting room. As the
car drove smoothly away he took out his pipe and sat down to wait
for their return.
Lucy passed. The Major was delighted at her success. Lucy
promised to tell all her friends and relations what a good instructor
The Major's last lesson of the day was a difficult one. Mr. Green
was a terrible driver, but unfortunately he didn't realize it.
Whenever the Major tried to point out a mistake, Mr. Green told
him that he knew very well what to do. Photocopiable 3 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend Mr. Green: You worry too much, Major. Look, I'm driving in a
Major: Yes, you're driving in a straight line, but you are supposed
to drive on the left-hand side of the road, not in the middle. It's
just as well there's not much traffic about.
Mr. Green: There we are. It's easy really. I expect you have to
teach a lot of bad drivers, don't you?
Major: Yes, Mr. Green, I do. Now I think we'll increase speed a bit
and go into second gear, please.
With Mr. Green safely out of the car, the Major felt that he had had
enough for one day. He put the car away and went into the office.
He decided to ring Mary and tell her of Lucy's success. Mary was
very pleased. "I'm corning home now," said the Major. "I'm tired.
It's been a very busy day. Good-bye, dear." But just as he put the
telephone down three middle-aged ladies walked into the office.
They must be Lucy's friends, thought the Major. She said she
would tell her friends what a good instructor I am.
Major: Good afternoon, ladies.
1st woman: Good afternoon, Major. We want to enrol.
Major: Are you friends of Lucy's?
2nd woman: Yes, that's right.
3rd woman: Do you call her Lucy already? That's quick.
Major: Well, you know what Lucy's like. She's very friendly.
1st woman: We ought to know. We've known her for thirty years.
Major: Thirty years? But ...
2nd woman: Now then, Major, we all want to enrol for the sixmonth course. We're all as bad as Lucy — none of us can pass that
Major: Just a minute, ladies, let's get one thing straight. You are
all friends of Lucy Chalmers, aren't you?
3rd woman: Oh, no, Major. We're all friends of Lucy Carruthers! Photocopiable 4 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend New words and expressions
driving instructor someone who teaches you how
to drive (a car) at a loose end not know how to spend one's
time retire stop working, usually on
reaching a certain age on his retirement when he retired pension regular sum of money paid to
someone who has retired clients customers test examination punctual on time diary book with space for each day of
the year in which to write
appointments, notes, etc. precisely exactly free trial lesson a lesson given at no cost to the
client, to find out if he is a good
driver or a bad driver tuition teaching refresher course lessons to refresh the
student's knowledge run by managed by in safe hands well looked after provisional driving
licence document that permits you to
drive a car before you have
taken the driving test, provided
you are accompanied by an
experienced driver Photocopiable 5 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend in order all right, correct an old hand someone with a lot of
if you don't object (slightly
sarcastic in this context) if you don't mind
Highway Code list of rules for drivers dual controls two sets of controls so that the
instructor can steer the car if
the pupil does something wrong it had its ups and downs it had its good and bad
moments first-rate excellent glamorous very attractive capable good go over repeat, practice wig false hair businesslike practical declaration statement delighted very pleased point out show, indicate it's just as well it's fortunate wretched terrible let's get one thing
straight let's get one thing clear and
agreed enrol here means put their names on
the Major's list of pupils Photocopiable 6 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend Questions and exercises
A. Comprehension questions
1. How did Major Hewson find civilian life? 2. What were he and his wife living on? 3. What was the Major's first job when he arrived at the office? 4. Does Major Hewson smoke? 5. What does Major Hewson want to see before he gives Mrs.
Carruthers her free trial lesson? 6. Why did Major Hewson tell Mrs. Carruthers she would have to
take the full course? 7. Why did Lucy Chalmers wear a wig for her driving test? 8. What side of the road was Mr. Green driving on? 9. Who did the Major think the three middle-aged ladies were? 10. What did they want?
B. Use the words in the list to complete the following sentences:
first-rate 1. He found civilian life dull and _____. 2. He needed some _____ money. 3. How many times have you taken the _____? 4. I had an accident at a _____ crossing. 5. Miss Chalmersis a ______ driver. 6. The _____ made Lucy sign a declaration. 7. The Major is a very good _____. 8. Three _____ ladies walked into the office. Photocopiable 7 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend C. Change the following sentences into indirect speech:
"I'm coming home," said the Major.
The Major said (that) he was coming home.
1. "I find civilian life dull and boring," said the Major. 2. "I'll open my own school of motoring," he said. 3. "I think I can fit you (Mrs. Carruthers) in for a trial lesson,"
said the Major. 4. "I'm sure she'll pass," said the Major. 5. "I'm not talking about her driving," said Mary. 6. "I think a wig looks very businesslike," said Lucy. 7. "Do you (Lucy) know the Highway Code?" the examiner
asked. 8. "I'll tell everyone what a good instructor you are," said Lucy. D. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate adjective or adverb: Adjectives
happy Adverbs Adjectives
provisional unfortunately safely early
late slowly terrible sad Photocopiable Adverbs smoothly 8 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend Keys to exercises
1. Dull and boring. 2. His army pension. 3. To go into the garage next door and check the car for oil,
water and air. 4. Yes, he smokes a pipe. 5. Her provisional driving licence. 6. Partly because she obviously needed it, and partly because it
was good for business. 7. Because she thought it looked more businesslike than her
long fair hair. 8. He was driving in the middle of the road. 9. Friends of Lucy Chalmers. 10. They wanted to enrol for the six-month course.
1. boring 2. extra 3. test 4. pedestrian 5. first-rate 6. examiner 7. instructor 8. middle-aged Photocopiable 9 © www.english-test.net A day in the life of a driving instructor by Alan Townend C.
1. The Major said he found civilian life dull and boring. 2. The Major said he would open his own school of motoring. 3. The Major said he thought he could fit her in for a trial lesson. 4. The Major said he was sure she would pass. 5. Mary said she was not talking about her driving. 6. Lucy said she thought a wig looked very businesslike. 7. The examiner asked her if she knew the Highway Code. 8. Lucy said she would tell everyone what a good instructor he
slow Photocopiable Adverbs
terrible 10 Adverbs
terribly © www.english-test.net ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/05/2011 for the course ENG 1201 taught by Professor Mcmahon during the Spring '10 term at St. Mary NE.
- Spring '10