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									                                 Oundle School

         Junior Entrance and Scholarship Examination 2007


                          Time allowed: 1 ¼ hours


   •   Answer as many questions as you can
   •   Answer in full sentences
   •   Remember to leave yourself enough time to check your work

Good luck!
                                      SECTION A

Read the following passage carefully then answer the questions below in complete
sentences. You should spend about 35 minutes on this section of the paper.

The extract comes from ‘Toast’, an autobiography by Nigel Slater.

‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, Oh I do like to be beside the sea,’ sings my
father, somewhat predictably, as we come over the brow of the hill, salt air suddenly
gusting through the sunshine roof of the car, seagulls squawking on cue. There before
us, just as it was last year and the year before (and the one before that), stretches the
long beach with its neat frame of formal flower beds. We pass the tall stucco houses
that lead down toward the ‘front’, all sugared almond colours and nodding
hydrangeas. ‘No vacancies’ they proclaim with barely concealed smugness.

At last we wiggle our way into a parking space a hundred yards from the hotel. Its
paint is peeling more than ever this year. We unpack the unshakeable paraphernalia
of the Slater holiday: the striped windbreak, the inflatable beach ball, the picnic
basket we have never yet used, my bucket and spade and assorted flags to poke in the
top of my intricate sandcastles. Savlon. Bite-eeze. Plasters. Cotton wool. Some anti-
diarrhoea pills. The beach towels which will allow the discreet removal of bathing

We have the same rooms as last year. As spotlessly clean as ever, but this year there
is an unspoken sadness that hangs over the corridors as surely as if there was a dead
seagull strung up over the threshold. We later learn that this is to be the proprietors’
last year. They have been getting a different sort of clientele lately – the sort who
order morning coffee instead of tea and who don’t make their own beds – and have
decided to give up. My father talks in hushed tones of moving up to one of the hotels
just off the front.

Mother insists on me wearing plastic sandals into the sea. All the other boys on the
beach have bare, nut brown feet. I have red sandals made of plastic so hard they rub
blisters into my heels and on the knuckles of my toes. They my father tries his annual
attempt to interest me in ball games. I have to catch the wretched beach ball at the
same time as trying to dislodge the sand that has crept inside my sandals and is
sticking to the pink skin under my freshly burst blisters. The ball always hits me in
the face or brings a shower of sand with it. My father sighs one of those almost
imperceptible sighs that only fragile boys who regularly disappoint their fathers can

We always take lunch at one of the open-air cafes along the beach, Mother desperate
for the shade of a parasol. I can see deep-fried fish and chips, with battered plaice the
size of a beach tray being brought to the tables by waitresses in pastel dresses and
white aprons. We have ham salad.

The meal cannot move on quick enough. I sit there, urging everyone to eat up so that
we can get to the ice cream. Why would anyone take their time over a ham salad
when there is ice cream to follow? The rules are vanilla, strawberry or chocolate.
But even the most acid-tongued old bag of a waitress will let a sweet, blond-haired
boy order a ball of each. There’s the wafer, of course, a thick, smooth fan if we’re
lucky, two thin rectangular waffle-wafers if not. I eat then not because they taste
good – they are about as flavoursome as a postcard – but because of the way they
stick to your bottom lip.

There is a moment, shortly after the waitress puts the battered silver coupe of ice
cream down on the table, when life is pretty much perfect. I am not sure if it is
possible to be happier than I am at this moment. I eat all three flavours separately,
trying not to let them merge on the spoon. The vanilla and chocolate are OK together,
but the strawberry and chocolate don’t marry well. As the cold, milky balls of ice
cream disappear I scrape up every last drop, the edge of the spoon tinkling on the
dented silver dish. I try not to scrape too loudly. Catching Daddy’s attention always
results in a ‘don’t be silly’ from him.

   1)      In your own words, explain what the extract is about. (2 marks)

   2)      What do Nigel and his parents always pack for a trip to the beach? (2

   3)      What is the highlight of the meal for Nigel? (2 marks)

   4)      What impression does the writer give you of the hotel where the Slaters
           stay? (6 marks)

   5)      What do we learn about Nigel’s parents from this extract? (10 marks)

   6)      What do we learn about the writer’s character from the way in which he
           describes his holiday memories? (10 marks)

   7)      Did you enjoy reading this extract? Explain your answer in detail. ( 8

                                     SECTION B

You should spend about 25 minutes on this section.

Describe in detail a memorable meal explaining why that occasion is an important
memory for you. You might consider a birthday lunch, a Christmas dinner or perhaps
a holiday meal such as the one described by Nigel Slater. The choice is yours!
                                                                  (40 marks)
                                   SECTION C

The final part of the examination asks you to have some fun whilst using your
imagination! Spend about 15 minutes on this section.

The poem below by Mary O’Neill describes her favourite colour – white. Read the
poem and then write a poem of your own in which you describe your favourite colour.
Try to be as original and entertaining as possible! (20 marks)

                                 What is White?

                                  White is a dove
                               And lily of the valley
                               And a puddle of milk
                                Spilled in an alley –
                                    A ship’s sail
                                    A kite’s tail
                                  A wedding veil
                                   Hailstones and
                                   Hailbut bones
                                And some people’s
                       The hottest and most blinding light
                                      Is white.
                                And breath is white
                     When you blow it out on a frosty night.
                     White is the shining absence of all colour
                               Then absence is white
                                    Out of touch
                                    Out of sight.
                               White is marshmallow
                               And vanilla ice cream
                        And the part you can’t remember
                                     In a dream.
                                 White is the sound
                              Of a light foot walking
                                 White is a pair of
                                 Whispers talking.
                               White is the beautiful
                                    Broken lace
                               Of snowflakes falling
                                   On your face.
                                You can smell white
                                 In a country room
                                Near the end of May
                            When the cherries bloom.

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