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Higher and Standard Grade English Tips
I remember the first time we visited the island. I was about nine. It wasn’t a real island, in a lake or a sea. It was where the river divided and created a square of trees and shrubs. The river going by our house had heron, trout and little mink scurrying across on the opposite bank. You could get to it by using the boulders over the weir as stepping stones.
Then you got to the first island, the smaller one. There was another broad stream to cross to get to the main island. A long wire had been suspended between a tree on either bank. This helped you balance when you were crossing, and avoid slipping on the green river weed and plunging into the water, which would soak you all the way up to your underpants.
The main island was covered in little green ferns and had a huge fallen tree running across its whole length. One time we found a dead otter lying on a tiny beach of pebbles on the side facing the main road.
I’ll never forget the day my brother and I waded out in our wellies and lit a fire. It was probably the only time he and I ever got along. It wasn’t until High school that we actually became friends.
It seemed like a great expedition but we were only really gone for an hour or so. We took cold burgers in buns and some cans of coke. It felt like we were camping. But we didn’t do that a couple of years later, back on the island.
1. How old was the author when he visited the island?
2. Why was it not a ‘real island’?
3. What two things might you use to help you reach the island?
4. Write down one of the things you would find on the main island.
5. How can you tell that the island wasn’t very far from where the boys lived?
6. Why was the trip to the island an important one for the writer and his brother?
7. What did they do when they got there?
8. Write down a phrase which tells you that the boys thought the journey to the island was an exciting adventure.
9. What did the boys bring to eat?
10. Why might it have felt like they were camping?
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