The Five Orange Pips (Ch 8)

‘This is the envelope,’ said John Openshaw. `The postmark is east London. The same words – K.K.K. – are in the letter. The letter tells me to put the papers on the sundial.’

`What have you done?’ Holmes asked.

`Nothing,’ answered Openshaw.


`To tell the truth,’ said Openshaw, resting his white face in his thin hands, `I have felt helpless. I have felt like a rabbit when the snake is coming towards it. I can see evil, but I can do nothing about it.’

`Tut! Tut!’ cried Sherlock Holmes. `You must act or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for despair.’

`I have seen the police.’


`But they listen to my story with a smile. The inspector thinks that the letters are a joke, and that the deaths of my relations were just accidents.’

Sherlock Holmes shook his fists in the air. `Idiots! Fools!’ he cried.

`They have, however, given me a policeman for my protection.’

`I see. Did he come with you tonight?’

`No. His orders were to stay in my house.’

Again Holmes got angry. `Why did you not come to me at once?’ he cried.

`I did not know. I only spoke to Prendergast today about my troubles, and he told me I was to come to you.’

`It is two days since you received that letter. We should have acted before this. Is there anything else that you can tell us?’

`There is one thing,’ said John Openshaw. He put his hand into his pocket and took out a crumpled piece of blue paper. `I can remember this one thing. On the day my uncle burned the papers… I found this one lying on the floor. I think that it is one of the papers that he dropped and did not notice. I think it is from his private diary. The writing is definitely my uncle’s.’

The Five Orange Pips (Chapter 7)

‘It’s a joke,’ said my father. ‘I will have nothing to do with it.’

‘We should call the police,’ I said.

‘And be laughed at? No, I will do nothing,’ my father said.

‘I did not argue with him because he was a very stubborn man at times. But I went about with a very heavy heart after that.’ John Openshaw stopped talking and warmed his hands at the fire. Then he continued.

‘On the third day after the letter arrived, my father went to visit an old friend of his. A man called Major Freebody. I was glad that he went. To me, he seemed further from danger when he wasn’t at home. But I was wrong. On the second day that he was away, I got a telegram from the major. It told me to come at once. My father had fallen into a chalk pit. There are lots of them in that area. He was lying unconscious with a fractured skull. I hurried to him, but I was too late. My father died without ever regaining consciousness. I was told that he was coming home from Fareham just after dark. Because he didn’t know the countryside, he fell into the pit. There was no fence to stop him or warn him. It looked like an accident, and I could find nothing to suggest murder: no signs of violence, no robbery, no footmarks, and no stranger in the area. But I was not happy. I was sure something bad had happened to him. But I could not prove it.’

‘So this is how I came to inherit the estate. Why did I not give it away? Because I believed that it was bad and I would pass this bad thing on to another person. So I kept it. ‘

‘My dad died in January 1885. That was two years and eight months ago. I have lived happily at Horsham since then. I thought that this curse had ended. And then yesterday morning this came…’

John Openshaw stopped talking and took out a letter from his pocket. From the letter he shook out five little orange pips.

Adaptation of The Five Orange Pips (Ch6)

John Openshaw continued with his story.

‘After my father took ownership of the house at Horsham, he and I searched its attic carefully. There, we found the brass box. There was nothing inside. But on the inside of the lid, there were three letters: ‘K.K.K.’. Beneath the letters, there were some words. They said: `Letters, receipts, memoranda and register’. This was – we guessed – a description of the things that my uncle took out of the box and destroyed. There was nothing else in the attic – apart from a few papers about my uncle’s life in America. He was a good soldier….’

John Openshaw paused; then continued.

`It was the beginning of 1884 when my father came to live at Horsham. Everything went well – until the January of ’85. On January 4th – just after the New Year – my father gave a cry of surprise. We were at the kitchen table eating breakfast. I looked at my father. He had a newly-opened letter in one hand. In his other hand, there were five orange pips. My father always scoffed at my story about my uncle. But now he looked scared.

`What does this mean?’ he asked.

My heart turned cold. `It’s K.K.K.,’ I replied.

He looked inside the envelope `So it is,’ he cried. `Here are the same letters! But there is also a message. What does it say?’

I took the envelope and read the message: `Put the papers on the sundial.’

`What papers? What sundial?’ my father asked.

`The sundial in the garden – there is no other,’ I answered. `And the papers are those that my uncle destroyed.’

`Never!’ said my father, angrily. `We are civilised people here! This is nonsense! Where does this letter come from?’

I looked at the postmark. `Dundee,’ I said. ‘It’s from Dundee.’

Our adaptation of The Five Orange Pips (Chapter 5)

‘Mr Fordham took the paper away with him. My father was now the heir to my uncle’s estate. But everything about it left me with a feeling of dread. As the weeks passed, this feeling began to leave me. Nothing happened in our lives, but I saw a change in my uncle. He drank more and hid away from most people. He spent most of his time in his room with the door locked. Sometimes he ran out of his room and into the garden, carrying a gun in his hand. “I am afraid of no man,” he shouted, “I will not stay in my room! I am not scared to leave!” Then, after he did this, he returned to his room and locked the door. In those days I saw terror in his eyes.’

‘I do not want to take up any more of your time Mr Holmes,’  said John Openshaw, `so I will tell you what happened to my uncle.’ He paused and started his story again.

‘One night, my uncle left his room and never came back. We went to look for him and found him at the bottom of the garden. He was lying face down in a dirty pool of green water. There was no sign of a fight or any violence, and the water was only two feet deep. The police said it was suicide. But I knew my uncle and knew that wasn’t true. No one listened. My father inherited my uncle’s estate and got a sum of money – £14000, which lay in my uncle’s name in the bank.

`Just a moment,’ Holmes said. `This is a very unusual story. Tell me again the date that your uncle got the letter and the date of his death.’

‘The letter came on March 10th, 1883, `said John Openshaw, `and my uncle died seven weeks later, on the night of May 2nd.’

`Thank you,’ said Holmes. `Now please continue.’

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Walter and Scott wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. Their adaptation of The Five Orange Pips will continue in early January.

Our adaptation of The Five Orange Pips (Chapter 4)

One day – it was in March 1883 – a letter with a foreign stamp arrived for my uncle, the colonel. It was not common for my uncle to get letters. He paid his bills and did not have any friends. He picked the letter up. `From India!’ he said. `A Pondicherry postmark. What is this about, I wonder?’ He opened it quickly. Out of the letter, fell five little orange pips. I began to laugh, but I stopped when I saw the look on his face. His face was as white as a ghost. `K.K.K!’ he cried, `I have been found out.’

`What is it uncle? ` I cried.

‘Death,’ he said and got up from the table and went to his room. I picked up the letter and looked at it. The three letters – K.K.K – were written in red ink on the paper. There was nothing else but the five orange pips. I left the breakfast table and went up stairs. I met my uncle on the way down; he was holding a rusty metal key and a small brass box.

`I will fight back,’ he said, grimly. `Tell Mary I want a fire in my room today. Then get a lawyer.’

I did as I was told. The lawyer arrived, and I set up the room. The fire was burning brightly and in the middle of it were lots of ashes. The brass box sat open beside the fire. I saw that it had the three letters –`K` – printed on its lid. The same three letters were on my uncle’s letter.

`I want you, John,’ said my uncle to me, `to witness my will. I leave my estate, everything, to my brother, your father. Eventually, it will all be yours. If you can enjoy it, that’s good. If you cannot, then take my advice and give it to your worse enemy. I am sorry to do this, but I must. Just sign your name where the lawyer, Mr Fordham, shows you.’

I signed the paper.

Our adaptation of The Five Orange Pips (Ch3)

`To tell my story,’ said John Openshaw, `I must start at the beginning…

My grandfather had two sons – my uncle Elias and my father, Joseph. My father had a small business in Coventry. He invented a tyre that didn’t puncture. It was very successful. Eventually, he sold the business and retired.

When he was a young man, my uncle Elias went to Florida and bought a plantation. He did very well. Then war broke out between the North and the South. He fought for Jackson’s army and later for Hood. He became a colonel. When General Lee stopped fighting, my uncle went back to his plantation and worked there for another three or four years. He grew rich. Around 1867 or 1868, he came back to Europe and bought a small piece of land in Sussex, near Horsham. He was a single man, fierce and quick-tempered. But he mostly kept himself to himself. I don’t think he ever visited Horsham. He had a garden with two or three fields around his house. Sometimes, he stayed in his room, smoked heavily, and refused see anyone. Even his own brother.

But he liked me. When he first met me, I was twelve years old. This was in 1878. When I stayed at his house, we played backgammon and chess. He was very kind to me. He gave me the keys to his house, and I was allowed to go anywhere. But there was one room that I wasn’t allowed to go into. No one was. It was always locked. One day, I looked through the keyhole, but I couldn’t see much. Just some old trunks and suitcases…’

John Openshaw stopped talking and looked into the fire.


The Five Orange Pips Chapter 2

‘Come in,’ said Holmes.

A man entered. He was young and well-dressed. But his raincoat was wet, and the umbrella in his hand dripped water. He looked nervous: his face was pale and his eyes were heavy and tired.

`I am very sorry,’ the man said. `I hope I am not troubling you tonight. I am afraid I have brought some of the storm with me into your warm home.’

`Give me your coat and umbrella,’ said Holmes, standing. `I will hang them up on this hook; they will dry quickly. You have come from the South West, I see.’

`Yes, from Horsham. But how did you know?’

`There is clay and chalk on your shoes. It is quite distinctive,’ said Holmes.

`I have come for advice,’ said the man.

`I can give that easily,’ said Holmes.

`And your help.’

`That is not so easy.’

`I have heard about you, Mr Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast. He told me that you helped him in the Tankerville Club scandal.’

`I remember him,’ said Holmes. `He was wrongly accused of cheating at cards.’

`He said that you can solve anything.’

`He said too much.’

`He also said that you are never beaten.’

`Not quite true. Three men and one woman have beaten me. But generally, I am quite successful.’

`Then you might be successful with me.’

`Sit down,’ Holmes told the man, `and give me some details about your case.’

The man sat. `This is such a strange and mysterious case, and it happened to my own family.’

Holmes pulled his chair closer towards the fire and sat too. `Please start your story from the beginning. After you finish, I will ask questions about the most important details.’

The young man stretched his wet feet towards the hot fire. Then he began his story. ‘My name,’ he said, `is John Openshaw… ‘

Our adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and The Five Orange Pips (Ch1)

When I look at my notes about Sherlock Holmes and his cases between the years 1882 and 1890, I can see that there are many strange stories indeed. Which stories to tell and which not? It is difficult to decide. Some have been in the newspapers, but some have not. Some have puzzled Sherlock Holmes and are too long to tell. And some were never solved! All of this leads me to this particular story. It was never solved, but it so surprising that I must tell it anyway…

The story begins in September, 1887. That day, the wind screamed and the rain beat against the windows. That night, the wind grew stronger. Sometimes it sounded like a wild animal in a cage, and sometimes it cried down the chimney like a sobbing child. As usual, Sherlock Holmes was in his chair beside the fire. He was reading, and I was sitting across from him, reading too. My wife was visiting her mother. Once again, I was back at my old place, that famous house on Baker Street.

‘Was that the bell?’ I asked, looking up. ‘Who would come on such a night? A friend of yours, perhaps?’

‘Except you,’ replied Holmes, ‘I have no friends. And I do not encourage visitors.’

‘A client then?’

‘If so, it must be a serious case,’ said Holmes. ‘Why else come here on a dismal night like tonight? But I think it might be a visitor for our landlady,’ said Holmes, and he began reading again.

But Holmes was wrong. Soon, we heard footsteps. They came up the stairs. Then there was a chap at our living room door.

A Sherlock Holmes adventure: The Five Orange Pips

Starting next week, we will serialise A Sherlock Holmes adventured called The Five Orange Pips. It will be for intermediate students. Happy reading!

The Great Glen Way Chapter 9 (final): From Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Today is a long walk, the longest of the trip. The distance from Drumnadrochit to Inverness is 29km. After a lovely breakfast with excellent coffee, we say goodbye to the owners of Kilmore farmhouse, Colin and Frances, and start walking. We are lucky again: the weather is sunny, but not too warm.Soon, we are on the hills. The highest point of the walk is 380m high. It’s not much, but there are lovely views everywhere.

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After about 15km, we see signs for a café. We follow them and they lead to a campsite. The campsite offers tea and food. We rest for a while and watch a large, black pig wander freely.

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After our rest, we continue walking. Again, we pass so many fallen trees.

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Soon, we see Inverness in the distance.

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We walk towards the town and enter the grounds of an old hospital. After that, we cross the River Ness on a beautiful suspension bridge.

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Then we see Inverness castle, and we are happy.

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We have walked the Great Glen Way.


Our adaptation of H.G. Wells’s classic tale The Country of the Blind (Final chapter)

When Nunez thought of the blind world in the valley below, he knew that it was not his world. He thought about turning around, about looking down at it one last time. But he didn’t. He kept his eyes on the snow and ice and kept climbing.

He thought of home and the world beyond the mountains. His world. He thought of all the towns and villages with their houses and busy streets. He thought of the countryside with its rivers that ran all the way to the sea. The sea – its endless waves, its sandy islands. And ships! Ships out at sea on journeys around the greater world.

Nunez looked up. He saw a route up the mountains and followed it. As he continued to climb, he thought of Medina sarote. She was beautiful, but with every step, she was growing further and further away…

When sunset came, he was high above the valley. His clothes were torn and his body was covered with blood. All around him, mountain peaks rose into the vast and darkening sky. It was a truly beautiful evening. He lay on the bare earth with the smile on his face. ‘I have escaped from the Country of the Blind, the place where I wanted to be king,’ he said to himself.

When the cold night came, Nunez slept peacefully; a content man under the stars.

Adapted by

The Great Glen Way: Chapter 8 From Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Today is a longer walk: 23km. We are still walking beside Loch Ness. Again, we decide to take the new, higher level path. We are soon on the hills.

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After some time, we come to a forestry plantation. The owners of the land have cut down the trees. All around us are dead branches and tree stumps. But someone has made an art work. It is a strange sight.

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We continue to climb. We talk about trees. There are so many dead ones. Storms have washed away the soil and blown the trees over. I have never seen so many dead trees. Because of global warming, storms are becoming stronger and stronger and more and more frequent.

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When we descend again, I take a photograph of Scotland’s national flower, the thistle.

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A little later, when we are walking through another forest, we find a large ants’ nest.

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When we finally see Drumnadrochit, the sun is shining brightly.

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Adaptation of H.G.Wells’s Country of the Blind (Ch17)

For a week before the operation, Nunez did not sleep. Day after day, others in the village slept, but he walked about in the bright sunlight and thought about the operation. Then at last, the day before the operation came. He spent a few minutes with Medina-Sarote before she went to bed.

‘Tomorrow,’ he said, ‘I shall see no more.’

‘Dearest sweetheart,’ she said and squeezed his hand. ‘The operation will only hurt a little. One day I will repay you.’

Nunez felt nothing but pity – for himself and for her. He held her in his arms, kissed her, and looked into her sweet face. `Goodbye,’ he said. Then in silence, he turned away.

Medina- Sarote could hear his footsteps as they retreated. Something in their sound made her cry.

Nunez wanted to be alone. There was a quiet place in the meadows, a place with thick green grass and narcissus flowers. He went and lay down. ‘I will stay here until it is time,’ he thought. Then he fell asleep. When morning came, Nunez lifted his eyes to the rising sun. It rose above the mountains. ‘It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,’ he thought. Nunez got up and started to walk. It was a new day, it was his last day of sight, and there was beauty everywhere.

Great Glen Way: Chapter 7 From Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Today is quite a short walking day: only 13km. Before we begin, we have coffee and read the newspaper in Fort Augustus. We look at our map. We have two choices. Either we can take a low-level route through the forests to Invermoriston, or we can take a higher-level route. We choose the higher-level one. In the forest, we find lots of mushrooms. Some are edible and some are not.

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Soon, we leave the forest and are walking across the hillsides with Loch Ness below us. Some people believe that Loch Ness has a monster in it. Today, we can’t see any monsters! Six rivers fill Loch Ness. Loch Ness is 37 kilometers long and 230 meters deep in places. The volume of water in it is greater than all the water in all the reservoirs in England and Wales.

We are enjoying the weather while we admire Loch Ness. It is a perfect day for walking: dry and a little cold.

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After five or six kilometres, we stop and make tea. There are special, sheltered places on the hillside for this.

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When we come into Invermoriston, the first thing we look at is the old bridge. It was built by Thomas Telford, the same man who built the Caledonian Canal.

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Our adaptation of H.G.Wells’s Country of the Blind (Ch16)

‘Do you want the doctors to take out my eyes?’ Nunez asked Medina-sarote.

Medina-sarote said nothing.

‘Seeing – having sight – is my world,’ he told her.

She lowered her head.

‘There are beautiful things,’ Nunez told her, ‘beautiful little things that I can see – flowers, the lichens on the rocks, a piece of fur, the sky with its clouds, the sunsets and the stars at night. And then there is you. Your sweet face, your kind lips, your beautiful hands folded together… It is my eyes that hold me to you; every day when I see you, it is like seeing you for the first time. But you want be to lose my eyes. Must I only touch you? Must I only hear you? Must I never see you again? Is this want you want? Must I come into that dark world?’

Nunez stopped talking and let her think about the question. He didn’t feel good.

‘You…’ she said and stopped.


‘Please do not say these things,’ said Medina-sarote.

‘What things?’

‘I know it is your imagination,’ said Medina-sarote, ‘I used to love it, but now…’

‘And now?’ he asked.

Medina-sarote sat very still.

Nunez felt angry, but he also felt sympathy for her. It hurt her to say these things to him. He knew that. They sat in silence for a long time.

When Nunez finally spoke, he was almost whispering. `If I agreed to this…’ he said.

As soon as he spoke, Medina-sarote threw her arms around him.

Our adaptation of H.G. Wells’s Country of the Blind Chapter 15

The elders thought for a long time about Nunez. He was a problem, but they wanted to help him. There was a doctor amongst the people of the blind, a medicine man. He was clever and curious.

One day the medicine man went to speak to Yacob about Nunez.

‘I have examined Bogota,’ he told Yacob. ‘I have good news.’

‘What is it?’ Jacob asked.

‘Bogota talks about strange things. He says that he has eyes. These eyes have eyelids and they move all the time. I think they affect his brain and therefore his thinking. But I can cure him.’

‘How?’ Yacob asked.

‘It’s a simple thing: we must remove his eyes. After that, I am sure he can become a good citizen of the village.’

Jacob was happy. At once, he went to tell Nunez that the medicine man could cure him. But when he told Nunez, Nunez did not welcome the news.

Yacob was angry. `Don’t you care for my daughter?’ he asked. ‘Is she more important than these strange things called eyes? Tell me!’ he said.

The Great Glen Way Chapter 6: From South Laggan to Fort Augustus

The next morning, Neville takes us back to South Laggan and we start walking again. Today is a shorter walk. It is only 14km. We are walking beside Loch Oich and following an old railway line and one of General Wade’s old military roads.

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General Wade came to Scotland after the Jacobite rebellion in 1715. After he built the new roads, it was easier for the British government to send soldiers to the Highlands. In other words, the new roads extended British government control of the north of Scotland.

The canal is busy today. There are lots of boats waiting in its locks.

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At Bridge of Oich, we stop. It is an unusual bridge. It is made of granite and iron and was built in 1849. Because there was a danger of floods, James Dredge, the bridge’s designer, built a bridge with a single span across the River Oich. He used a cantilever design. The bridge has two separate parts; so if one part falls down, the other should stay up.

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Near Fort Augustus, the sky begins to darken. A few drops of rain fall. But we are lucky again. The heavy rain only comes later in the evening when we are indoors.There are five locks near Fort Augustus. Today, many people in the village are using them as bridges to cross from one side of the canal to the other.

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Before we find our accommodation – Sonas bed and breakfast, the home of Jimmy and Lorna Service – we walk through the town and find a seat beside Loch Ness.

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Our journey starts there tomorrow.

MP3 of some irregular past tense verbs

Here is a short recording of some irregular past tense verbs. I’ve used a list provided by Robert Dobie at Great site.

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Here is the MP3 file


The Great Glen Way (Chapter 5) From Spean Bridge to Drynachan cottage

After breakfast, Colin drives us back to Gairlochy after we buy some sandwiches and drinks in Spean Bridge.

We thank him and begin again. We plan to walk 22km. Our route takes us along the north shore of Loch Lochy. The loch’s water is dark grey, the same colour as the sky.

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Again, beautiful trees are all around. There are even some sequoias. The land here smells fragrant. There is bog myrtle and heather. Again, we stop to make tea. Then a girl with a bike stops and says hello. Behind her, her little dog follows. The girl begs a favour. ‘Could you help me put my dog into my rucksack?’ she asks. I hold her rucksack and she drops the little dog into it. Then she puts the rucksack on her back and happily cycles away. Facing forward, the pug has one paw on each of the girl’s shoulders. Its head nuzzles the girl’s ear…

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We arrive in Laggan. We have accommodation booked at Drynachan cottage in Invergarry. Neville from Drynachan cottage comes to pick us up. The cottage is beautiful. Some say that Bonnie Prince Charlie stopped and rested here in 1776. When we enter Drynachan cottage, Sonia, Neville’s wife, greets us. She shows us the lounge. A large DVD collection fills one wall. ‘There’s a DVD player in the room,’ she tells us. I choose Hitchcock’s North By North West, one of my favourite films. After dinner, I open the window a little and begin to watch the DVD. My eyes start to close…

Suddenly, something wakes me up. A black thing swoops past my face. I jump up. Was I dreaming? No, there’s a bat in the room! But now it has gone. Where did it go? Then I see it next to the kettle. It has landed and crawled behind the biscuit tin. As carefully as I can, I put a plastic bag over it, open the window more, and gently drop the bat out.