Social Snacks

Conversation between Peter (caregiver) and Mrs Jones (resident)

Situation: Mrs Jones has invited a number of friends to meet with her in the common room at the residential nursing home. She is keen to show her hospitality by providing snacks for her gusts and she asks Peter to fetch various snacks for her. Before agreeing to collect the specified snacks, Peter questions the suitability of the snacks based on his knowledge of Mrs Jones’ guests.

Audio: Listen to the audio file here.

Grammar points:

Modals of deduction and speculation

Persons: Peter (caregiver), Mrs Jones (resident)

Location: The discussion takes place in Mrs Jones’ Room.

Mrs Jones: Peter, you haven’t forgotten that my friends are coming round this week?
Peter: No Mrs Jones, I have already reserved your favourite table in the common room, the one by the window.
Mrs Jones: Thank you.
Peter: What else do you need?
Mrs Jones: As we’ll be together all afternoon, I think my friends might like some snacks.
Peter: That sounds reasonable. What snacks were you thinking of?
Mrs Jones: Oh just the normal, pork pies, sausage rolls, chocolate biscuits and some nice almond cake.
Peter: Can you remind me again who is coming to your little gathering?
Mrs Jones: Mrs Brown, Mr Smith and Mrs Khan from the care home, and my old friend Ivy.
Peter: Yes, I thought so. Based on your guest list, don’t you think there could be some issues with the food?
Mrs Jones: What do you mean, do you think there could be some issues?
Peter: There may be. To begin with isn’t your friend Ivy a diabetic?
Mrs Jones: Oh yes, she won’t be able to eat the biscuits but she could eat the savoury food.
Peter: Are you sure? The savoury food is also high calorie so she may not be able to eat that either.
Mrs Jones: Oh you’re right. I hadn’t thought about that.
Peter: And Mrs Khan is Muslim, so she won’t eat the pork products.
Mrs Jones: Oh dear, I could be making a few social errors with the food.
Peter: You’ve also asked for an almond cake. Could there be a problem with that? Doesn’t Mr Smith have a nut allergy?
Mrs Jones: Well if he does it doesn’t stop him eating peanuts all of the time. He eats more peanuts than a monkey.
Peter: OK then I’ll keep the almond cake on the list, but what about the pork products and the chocolates?
Mrs Jones: We could always get vegetarian savoury snacks, as Mrs Khan would like those.
Peter: OK I’ll get vegetarian savoury snacks instead of pork, as I know Mrs Khan can eat those.
Mrs Jones: What about an alternative for Ivy with her diabetes?
Peter: I know the chef here has cooked special cookies for diabetics before, maybe he could make a batch for your little gathering. Shall I ask him?
Mrs Jones: Oh yes please Peter. Ivy is a dear old friend and I really would like to make her feel welcome.
Peter: So we can agree on vegetarian savoury snacks, almond cake and special diabetic cookies. If I leave now I may be able to collect most of these things this afternoon.
Mrs Jones: If you leave now you might bump into that girl you like at the local supermarket.
Peter: Oh yes, I hadn’t really thought about that. Maybe I should put a clean shirt on, you know, just in case.
Project number: 543336-LLP-1-2013-1-DE-KA2-KA2MP - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.