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Jan 27, 2009


Are you scared of anything? Spiders, perhaps? Monster masks? Being high up on a cliff's edge? Most people are scared of something. I'm sure that if you think long enough, you will be able to name something that spooks you or gives you the 'creeps'. I know some people who do not like to be in small spaces or places where there are too many people. That is called claustrophobia. I thought of this word today because some workmen came to my house to work in the crawl space. The crawl space is an area under the house. It is so low that you cannot stand up in it. Often it is unfinished, so there is just hard earth on the floor, and the walls are unpainted, just concrete. Water pipes and electric cables can be found in a crawl space, so it is a useful place to have if you need to fix one of them. I felt really sorry for the three men who worked under our house; they did a fantastic job, but they had to do it on their backs. When they came out, they were really dirty and exhausted. They must be so happy when their work is finished.

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: unfinished, unpainted, incomplete, exhausted, crawl, scare, spook, the creeps.

* 's  Exs: Mary's car is being repaired. The children's bedroom is a mess. The people's voice has been heard. The Jones's have invited us to dinner.


Last Summer, I had the opportunity to go to Scotland with my two oldest boys for a family reunion. My father had rented a Landmark Trust property which happened to be a castle. My brother flew in from New Zealand, relatives came up from London, and we all met up at this remotely located, beachside, crumbly looking castle. Wow! What a place it was! It had a spiral, stone staircase, creaky wooden floors, and even turrets at the top. It had been built in the fifteen hundreds, but recently renovated to be very liveable. No phones, no television. Surrounded by a misty forest and overlooking the beach, you can imagine, it was the ideal place to catch up with eachother and to have adventures. One of the games that we loved to play was 'Sardines'. It is similar to hide and seek, but only one person hides and everybody else has to seek. As people find the hider, they stay quietly with him until only one person is left. Now, if any of our group happened to be claustrophobic, that person would have had a problem. The castle had false panels that led into secret rooms, nooks and crannies gallore, and even a real, small dungeon. We squeezed our way in together, trying not to giggle as our numbers grew. At times it was hard to breathe in those tight, dark places. It was no problem for the spiders whose webs were often left on our hair. I could go on, but I don't want to give you the creeps.....

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: spiral, staircase, false panels, nooks and crannies, tight, overlooking, remote, turrets, reunion, opportunity.

Subjunctive: If anyone is claustrophobic, he won't appreciate the small plane. If was claustrophobic, he wouldn't have appreciated the small plane.