A ghost story
S = Stephanie
R = Rob

S This particular incident happened while my husband and I were living with friends in an old house in Highgate, in north London, and we had this large bedroom. And at one end of the room I also had a desk where I used to do my work. I could never really explain it but I often had this strange feeling that I was being watched … and… I started talking to myself … in my head, not out loud, saying �Oh, don`t be silly, there`s nobody there, there`s nothing at all�. And I carried on having this feeling, so I began to talk actually out loud, saying �Now, come on, I know you`re there, don`t worry, just don`t bother me�. And the same would happen while I was working, I would suddenly feel that someone was there, and once I`d talked to it, it was OK.
R Did you tell Jeremy this? Did he know about it?
S Yes, I`d told him, but he didn`t believe me. You see, I`d had one or two strange experiences before, when I was a child, but Jeremy just said that I was imagining things and that it was all nonsense. Anyway, we were lying in bed one night, and suddenly we both woke up, and there was somebody standing at the bottom of the bed, this figure, and we presumed it was John, one of the friends we were living with, who wanted something. So we said �What`s the matter, what do you want?�, and there was no answer…
R (nervous laugh)
S So er… I said �It`s not John, it doesn`t look like John�. It was this tall figure. I put the light on, and… there was nothing there …
R But you both saw it?
S Oh yes, we both saw it, not just me. We got up and checked. The door was closed, so goodness knows what it was. Then a few days later, Jeremy woke me up in the middle of the night. You see, in this room, we had lots of posters up on the walls, and also lots of postcards of art and pictures, and I had these postcards stuck on boards, about fifteen postcards to a board… He woke me up… it was freezing cold … each picture was falling off the wall … one by one … from left to right around the room. And when Jeremy woke me up, he was absolutely petrified … About half the pictures were on the floor, and each one dropped off one by one, all the postcards … off the board … and then the board and then the next board…
R What!
S And it went right round the room, until every single piece of paper was on the floor or the bed. We were sitting in bed covered in pieces of paper, absolutely terrified of what was going to happen next.
R And what did happen?
S No, that was it.
R That was enough!
S Yes. We got up, had a cup of tea, and tried to explain to the others the next day. They just thought we were crazy. Anyway, I still went on talking to this thing, and by this time Jeremy was convinced that there was something very strange going on…
R You`re not kidding!
S Another night he woke up, felt there was something there, which was unusual, because he`s so down to earth, it`s not like him at all. And he wanted to know what this thing was. He didn`t know much about contacting spirits, but knew people tried to ask them questions, so he said out loud �When I ask a question, make a sign, any sign, to show me that you`re there, once for yes and twice for no�. He didn`t really expect anything to happen, so anyway he asked a question out loud, �Is anybody there?�
R Just like in the films!
S Right. Suddenly I started breathing really deeply … and then … he told me later … my head … jerked … really strongly … once …
R (gasp)
S Well, he thought �Well, it could be coincidence�, and he asked another question, and said �Are you a man?� and again my head jerked once.. in my sleep. And the next question after that was �Do you live in this house?�, and again the answer was �Yes�. And by this time Jeremy couldn`t stop, because he wanted …
R Yes.
S … to test it out … and he was thinking… �Let`s find out…� and of course I was unconscious, this is what he told me later. I don`t think he would have imagined it though, knowing him. Anyway, the next thing that happened was, he asked it various questions and the same thing would happen, my head jerked once if the answer was �Yes� and twice if the answer was �No�. And he … er, well he found out that it was a man. It lived there when the house was built, it had been built for him in the early nineteenth century, and in fact that it … had been his room, and that`s why he came there … he wasn`t an unhappy spirit … I mean, I never really felt frightened by him, just the experience of something happening … And Jeremy established that he was really quite a happy spirit, and he was just around the house and had been all the time, and he was on his own in the house …

English spelling

When the English tongue we speak
Why is break not rhymed with weak?
Won`t you tell me why it`s true
We say sew, but also few?
And the maker of a verse
Cannot rhyme his horse with worse?
Beard is not the same as heard,
Cord is different from word,
Cow is cow, but low is low,
Shoe is never rhymed with foe.
Think of hose and dose and lose,
And think of goose and yet of choose,
Think of comb and tomb and bomb,
Doll and roll and home and some.
And since pay is rhymed with say,
Why not paid with said I pray?
Think of blood and food and good;
Mould is not pronounced like could.
Why is it done, but gone and lone –
Is there any reason known?
To sum it up, it seems to me
That sounds and letters don`t agree.

P = Presenter
D = Doctor

P Did you know that about fifty per cent of the population of Britain say they couldn`t touch a snake? And that another twenty per cent say they could, but not without feeling scared? Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias of all. But there are many others. I spoke to Doctor Jones of the Institute of Psychiatry.
D Surprisingly enough, there is not a great range of things we are frightened of. Most are to do with open spaces, confined spaces insects such as spiders, situations where there are a lot of people or too few people.
P And are many of us affected by these fears?
D Indeed yes, though of course, reactions vary from a minor feeling of discomfort which is easy to cope with, to an absolutely crippling fear which can destroy a person`s life.
P And what are typical reactions when people begin to feel afraid?
D Well, patients break out in a cold sweat, they say they have shivers down their spine, they begin to breathe quickly and the heartbeat increases.
P And can these people be helped?
D Yes certainly, by what we call �graded exposure�. Many fears are born of ignorance. People say they couldn`t bear to touch a snake because its skin is slimy, which isn`t true. So to a certain extent knowledge can help to break down a phobia. Then we gradually let a person become more familiar with the object of his or her fear, and try to accustom them to the realities behind the phobia.
P And does it work?
D Oh yes.
P So there we are. You needn`t let your phobia ruin your life. Help is at hand at the Institute of Psychiatry. Oh � what`s that crawling along the floor?

Tag questions
M = Man
W = Woman

M I`m really looking forward to going away.
W Mmm, it`ll be lovely to have a break. We haven`t been away for ages, have we? We`d better take some warm clothing, because it`s winter there now, isn`t it?
M Yes, it is. You haven`t seen my camera anywhere, have you? I`ve been looking for it for days.
W I thought you had it last Saturday. You took some pictures while we were out for a walk, didn`t you?
M So I did. It might still be in the car. That reminds me. We`ll have to order a taxi. The plane leaves at ten, doesn`t it, so I suppose we should leave here about eight. What do you think?
W Yes, that should be all right. Now what about money? You`ve got the travellers cheques, haven`t you?
M No. I thought you had them. You picked them up yesterday, didn`t you?
W No. You said you were going to.
M Never mind. We can get them when we go shopping this afternoon, can`t we? We`ll have enough time.
W Yes, OK.