PAST SIMPLE AND PAST CONTINUOUS
A disastrous holiday
I = Interviewer
J = John
I Tell me, have you ever had a holiday that went wrong?
J Oh yes, oh quite a few actually.
I Which was the worst?
J The worst? Well, I suppose it was while I was at university my girlfriend Susan and I had two weeks well no, no, one week, one week of absolute hell and then things got a bit better.
I What happened? Did you fall out, have rows and things?
J No, no it wasn`t that. The first thing that went wrong was that the country we were going to decided to have a war a few days before we were going there.
I Oh no!
J Mmm. So that was the end of that. But the plane we were going on was stopping off at Rome. So rather than not having a holiday at all, we thought we`d go to Italy. Very nice. See the sights. Go to the beaches and get fat with pasta. We were at the airport waiting for the plane and a friend of mine who lived near the airport had come to see us off. So we were having a few drinks in the bar and joking with this friend of mine, Peter, saying `Poor old you in cold rainy England. This time tomorrow we`ll be in Italy on the beach.` And I went down to see if the flight had been called and discovered it had gone.
I Oh no! How?
J Well it was a terribly stupid mistake. We hadn`t checked the time of departure. I was sure it was going 9 something but it was going at 19 something which of course is 7 o`clock. So we were actually there in the bar when it went without us.
I Oh so what did you do?
J We were determined to have our holiday. The irony was that Peter was now going back to his comfortable home and we were stuck in the cold and the rain at 10 o`clock at night. You see, it was a charter flight so we couldn`t book another one. We lost our money and all the other flight were booked up. Well, we got a train to the South Coast and caught the midnight boat across the Channel, froze to death all night, it was a terrible crossing with people being sick everywhere. And eventually we got to I think it was Dieppe and then a train to Paris. We got to Paris very early in the morning and I thought we`d be all right. You see, we now had to hitch hike because a lot of our money had gone on the boat and the train, but I thought `Well, it`s very early in the morning, we`ll get a good place to start hitching and we`ll soon be well on our way.` We got to the start of the motorway and I just couldn`t believe it. I`ve never seen so many people trying to hitch a lift in all my life.
I Why? What was going on?
J Well, it was then it suddenly dawned on me. It was August the first wasn`t it? And on August the first in France the whole population goes on holiday and there were hundreds of people, stopping the traffic, banging on drivers` windows trying to persuade them to stop and give them a lift. It was chaos, disastrous.
I And what happen then?
J Well, we got moving eventually. A lorry driver gave us a lift. And then things started to get better, as we got further south and it got warmer, you know, and we thought `At last, the holiday`s beginning.` Well, we camped that night and we then set off again the next day. We got some lifts, and met a great chap who owned a vineyard. He took us back to his farm and we tasted all this wine � Burgunsy, my favourite � and we had a great time. Now the holiday really was starting. Well, he took us back to the motorway, and there we were by the side of the road, the sun was shining, we were a bit merry, sang a few songs � you know, life was great. And we got another lift from…. well he was a maniac, complete maniac. He seemed nice enough, but within a few minutes he was driving at about a hundred miles an hour, overtaking on the inside on the motorway, with his stereo at full volume, one hand on the wheel and well the other hand on various parts of Susan`s body.
I What! So what did you do?
J I don`t know why I`m laughing I`ve never been so frightened in all my life. We were absolutely helpless. Susan tried to say that she had to go to the toilet, but he wouldn`t stop then she pretended to be sick in his car, and he stopped in seconds. He had this really flash expensive car, and as soon as he stopped we just jumped out and ran. The worst thing was this tremendous drop from feeling so good to get killed.
I Surely that was the end of the disasters, wasn`t it?
J Ar yes, just about. We eventually got down to the south of France and began to have a good time, and then down to Italy. We ran out of money, of course, but apart from that, it was good. I`ve never had such a tiring holiday. When we got back, I was exhausted. At the end of holiday, I needed a holiday!