Waving Goodbye: Reading Practice 3 (recount)

By | December 6, 2017

We stood huddled together on the quayside as the occasional drops of rain started to fall from the gun metal clouds above us. I held my mother’s hand tightly and watched as the turning tide slowly moved the whaling boat away from the quay and out into the harbour. All about me I could hear women sobbing quietly and see them gently dabbing their red eyes with frayed squares of cotton fabric.

I could see my father climbing the rigging to release the large sails which would speed the ‘Kathleen May’ out to the rolling waves of the North Sea and then on its journey up to coast of Greenland in search of the giant whales that were so prized. As my father got to the top of the mast he turned to wave and we jumped up and down excitedly.

For a moment I saw my mother smile and then her expression changed and she wiped her eyes again. I tried not to cry but tears streamed down my face like a fast flowing river. I wiped my face on the sleeve of my coat and squeezed my mother’s hand even tighter.

After that the large white sail fell, opened up and it billowed out with the wind inside it. Within seconds the speed of the boat increased and she was suddenly away from the harbour and cutting through the white topped waves. My father could no longer be seen but I still waved.

The next thing I remembered was being part of the crowd as it turned and headed away back up the hill towards our house. We walked in silence, the only noise being the shuffling of feet on the wet cobbles.

Finally we stepped through the back door into the kitchen. The fire, flames licking around the logs, warmed the house and made it feel cosy. The old black kettle sat on the stove steam rising from the spout and at the side of it the cook pot bubbled like a volcano about to erupt as the soup inside it gurgled. Mother passed me a mug of it, kissed my head, smiled and I knew we were going to be just fine until father returned in two months’ time.

1. Who was leaving?
A. The writer
B. The writer’s mother
C. The writer’s father
D. The writer’s brother
E. The writer’s sister

2. Where was he/she leaving for?
A. a harbour
B. the North Sea
C. a quayside
D. his/her house
E. Greenland

3. How was he/she going to that place?
A. by bus
B. by boat
C. by train
D. by plane
E. by bike

4. What was he/she going to that place for?
A. whaling
B. diving
C. fishing
D. surfing
E. sailing

5. How long would he/she be away?
A. 1 month
B. 2 weeks
C. 1 year
D. 2 months
E. 3 days

6. How did the writer feel?
A. worried
B. bored
C. excited
D. sad
E. scared

7. What paragraph describes the writer’s feeling?
A. 1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 4
E. 5

8. After the whole family waved goodbye, where did they head to?
A. the town
B. the city
C. their ship
D. the harbour
E. their house

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