HOW TO BE A HORRIBLE GUEST
The British quite often open their doors to strangers. Both in the
larger cities and in the country there are many families who have foreign guests with them
in their homes. Julia Martin is a woman who quite often has guests in her home. Here, she
gives advice on how to be a horrible guest.
“You know, I don’t run a guest house, but sometimes I think I
should. Take last Sunday, for instance. At one time I counted nine people in the garden,
two in the living room, one ill in bed and three who were “helping” in the kitchen.
That makes a total of fifteen – adults, that is. In addition, there were three extra
children, an extra dog, our cat, our rabbit, and Michael’s pet frog, Bill. I like having
guests, but some guests are better than others, and some are really horrible.
That day everyone ate a big lunch, but no one helped with the washing
up. They drank six bottles of wine, but only one person actually brought a bottle. One of
our guests gave a lot of sweets to the children, and then they didn’t want any lunch.
Another man brought his dog and it chased our cat up a tree. My sister was ill, but she
came anyway. She had lunch in bed, and I looked after her three children. Then something
awful happened: Eric, a student from Sweden, stepped on Michael’s pet frog, Michael
screamed, and the cat ran farther up the tree.
All of our guests had a lovely time. But we didn’t. Joe is still
cleaning the garden, and the cat didn’t come down from the tree till Monday.’
1. Answer these questions.
1. How many people were in Julia’s house on Sunday?
2. How many animals were there?
3. Why didn’t the children eat lunch?
4. What did the dog do?
5. What did Eric do?
2. Look at this sentence from the text:
Julia Martin is a woman who quite often has guests in her house.
Now ask and answer questions in pairs about these people. Use the word who, for
What can you tell me about Bill Porter?
– Bill Porter is a doctor who works too much.
1. Bill Porter/doctor
He works too much.
2. Martine Boisseau/nurse
She works in Grenoble.
3. Arne Baumann/engineer
He works on an oil-rig in the North Sea.
4. Peter Imbert/banker
He makes a lot of money.
5. Doris Stegelmann/computer programmer
She lives in Cologne.
6. Joe Stockburgh/man
He has done very little work in his life.
7. Helga Schneider/woman
She doesn’t want to marry again.
8. Gordon Bate/man
He eats far too much, and should lose weight.
3. So, you want to be a horrible guest? Here are ten things a horrible
guest can do.
Place them in order. The worst is 1, the second worst 2, and so on.
The really horrible guest:
brings a pet dog, or bird, or snake
talks on the telephone for hours
feeds the family dog under the table
talks when the television is on
uses your towel to dry his/her dirty hands
spends at least fifty minutes in the bathroom
asks if he/she can show you how to make coffee
always talks about his/her home
never makes his/her bed
always arrives home at night after everyone is in bed
Now, make sentences about the perfect guest, like this
The perfect guest is someone who never/always _____________.
And now you want to stay in a family.
Look at this correspondence:
Family Friends Agency
Thank you for your letter of 17th June. You asked about good families for students to stay
with in London. Here are three suggestions:
1) Mr and Mrs Cranley, Garden Street, London NW1
A large family with a large house. It can take up to four students. Everybody is part of
the family. Good food. Good location, very central and easy to get to anywhere in London.
2) Mrs Eisley, 3 Newton Avenue, Uxbridge
Mrs Eisley is an older
lady. There are five bedrooms for students. Everyone has his/her own room and each bedroom
has a washbasin and shower. Another house on the same street has two more bedrooms, but
students eat with Mrs Eisley. Nearly all her guests return to her.
3) Professor and Mrs James Earl-Jones, Wimbledon A famous family
(Professor Jones is a well-known scientist, and his wife sings opera). The house is
lovely, with a very large garden. There are two bedrooms for students, with two beds in
each. Everyone who has stayed here says that the food is excellent.
Each of these places is very clean and friendly. Some students don’t
like Wimbledon, because it’s quite far from central London. Others love it. Some like
the Cranleys because they have five children and three dogs, but others don’t like it
because it’s too noisy. Nearly everyone likes Mrs Eisley, so it’s very hard to get in.
You ought to book at least six months in advance.
I hope these suggestions are helpful.
Family Friends Agency
4. Read through the letter again, and underline the uses of:
everyone/body, each, another, others, some, all.
Now make sentences, like this:
The letter says that in _______ house everybody _______.
The letter says that there is another _______ and this house has _______.
The letter says that nearly all _______.
The letter says that some _______ and others _______.
Make sentences of your own about flats, houses, hotels, holidays,
using everybody, some, others, all, for example: Everybody enjoyed the
holiday: some people liked it because of the weather, others because of the interesting
trips, but we all enjoyed the food.
5. What do you think are the most important things in a guest house?
Work in groups and ask questions like this:
Who thinks the house is most important?
Now write a short report saying:
Some of us think that _____.
Everybody thinks that _____.
We all think that _____.
Each of us thinks that _____.
Now you can:
talk about staying with people
Relative pronoun who
Bill Porter is a doctor who works too much.
The perfect guest is someone who never drinks too much.
We all think (that) the house is very important.
Replacives: each some others
Each of us thinks that the location is important.
Some liked the food and others liked the beach.