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The rain held off as Arthur and his new nanny walked to the underground. Missy thought it was important for a child to use public transport, to suffer dreary queues and biting winds. Even when working for the richest families she had made a point of hauling their children around the streets of London on buses and trains. She believed stoicism was a virtue that was badly in need of reviving.

Missy was looking forward to the school break and some life-kicking time in London’s parks with Arthur, when his mother Romney suddenly said that he was going to visit his father for half-term.

‘Oh yeah, didn’t I say?’ Romney said when Missy questioned her. ‘Boak are in the middle of the huge world tour. Arthur’s going to visit him when they’re in Germany. Flying into Munich, flying out of Hamburg at the end of the week. All the arrangements have been made by his publicist, you’re going too.’

Missy and Arthur were in possession of an extraordinary detailed itinerary for the German leg of Boak’s tour with provided flight times, driver details, hotel reservations and two different mobile numbers to contact.

‘What will that be like?’ Missy asked Arthur, as the plane bumped lightly onto the runway at Munich airport.

‘Extreme,’ he said.

There was no car to collect them from the airport, but Missy had changed sterling into Deutschmarks at Heathrow and they caught a taxi to the hotel.

The hotel had no record of any reservation. ‘Two rooms? In the name of Wright?’ Missy persisted, showing the receptionist the careful itinerary. The receptionist regarded it politely as if it was a document from another civilization.

‘Are Boak actually staying here?’ Missy asked. At first, the receptionist thought she was trying to say ‘book’ and then ‘Bjork’. The smile on the receptionist’s face grew stiff and tired. She called the manager.

The manager appeared, smiling sadly, and said that he very much regretted but the hotel never revealed details about its guests. It was growing late by now and Missy didn’t want to argue. Arthur was sitting on their luggage, looking like a weary refugee, and Missy decided they would take a room anyway. She offered the brand-new gold credit card Romney had given her before they left. A few minutes later the hotel manager returned it to her and said in a low murmur that he was very sorry but the card was ‘not acceptable’. He smiled even more sadly. Missy paid for the room on her own card.

‘How much money do you have?’ Arthur asked.

‘Quite a lot actually/ Missy said truthfully. ‘I’ve been saving for years.’

‘But you’re not supposed to be paying.’

‘True. But it’s only for one night. I expect your father’ll turn up tomorrow.’

The next morning Missy phoned both mobile numbers. One was completely dead, the other announced something impenetrable in German. And there was no answer on Romney’s number.

Missy went down to reception and looked the sadly smiling manager in the eye in the same way that she looked at little boys when she particularly wanted them to tell her the truth.

‘If you were me,’ she said to him, ‘and think about this carefully, would you stay another night to this unbelievably expensive hotel and wait for the band known as Boak to turn up?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘I wouldn’t.’


‘Look at it this way,’ Missy said to Arthur. ‘Our flight from Hamburg isn’t for another week, we have enough money — even if it’s mine — and we’re in one of the great cultural cities of Western Europe in the half-term holidays, so we may as well enjoy ourselves.’

Adapted from “Not the End of the World” by Kate Atkinson

ВОПРОС 1: We learn from the first paragraph that Missy …
1) was finding it necessary to protect the kids from difficulties in real life.
2) enjoyed going on walking tours round the city.
3) worked only for well-to-do families.
4) thought that kids should know how to overcome difficulties in life.

ВОПРОС 2: Arthur was going …
1) to visit his father and to spend his summer vacation in Europe.
2) to go to Germany with his nanny.
3) to tour Germany with his father.
4) to fly to Germany with his family.

ВОПРОС 3: Arthur suggested that their holiday might be …
1) entertaining.
2) challenging.
3) overwhelming.
4) tough.

ВОПРОС 4: After Missy and Arthur had arrived at the hotel
1) they had problems with checking-in.
2) they were offered the best suite.
3) Arthur’s father was waiting for them there.
4) they had an argument with the manager.

ВОПРОС 5: The manager of the hotel …
1) was not willing to answer Missy’s questions.
2) sympathized with the tourists.
3) was speaking firmly and agitatedly.
4) got angry with Missy.

ВОПРОС 6: Missy spent the next morning …
1) talking with the publicist in German.
2) discussing the plans with Arthur.
3) trying to come in touch with Arthur’s acquaintances and family.
4) finding the band.

ВОПРОС 7: When Missy was speaking to Arthur at the end of the story she was …
1) supportive.
2) confused.
3) respectful.
4) thoughtful.

ВОПРОС 1: – 4
ВОПРОС 2: – 2
ВОПРОС 3: – 3
ВОПРОС 4: – 1
ВОПРОС 5: – 2
ВОПРОС 6: – 3
ВОПРОС 7: – 1