Norah had a cottage on a cliff above a big bay.<注1> In winter it could be very nasty because of strong winds and sea spray.<注2> In fact, when a gale<注3> was blowing, Norah and her husband got used to sleeping in a small room downstairs, because their bedroom upstairs, which faced the gales, had a very gig window, and they were afraid that an extra violent gust<注4> might break it and blow pieces of broken glass over them.
Also, the salt spray from the sea put an end to<注5> many of the colourful plants Norah planted in her garden. She tried putting up a fence to protect them, but the wind just hit it, went up over the top and then down the other side, so in the end she filled the garden with trees and bushes that liked salt.
But most of the summer Norah enjoyed her cottage and garden very much. At weekends she could sit our-of-doors in the sun, looking at the beautiful view, with interesting ships and boats passing by, and she could very easily cycle down to the sea for a swim.
Now,<注6> Norah and her husband had plenty of friends and relations. These people never came to visit them in winter, when it was wet and cloudy, and the weather did not make the position of the cottage on the coast very nice, but in the summer lots of them used to come to enjoy the beautiful place, and in the end it really became quite annoying<注7> for Norah and her husband. When they were at home, they found friends and relations arriving, expecting to be given unlimited drinks and meals, and to sit in the sun for hours, talking as if Norah and her husband had nothing else to do but entertain<注8> and listen to them.
This went on for several years. Norah did not wish to appear rude by refusing to let her friends and relations in, but on the other hand, she was getting tired every summer.
Then one day Norah was complaining about this to her hairdresser while she was doing her hair.<注9>"You're disturbed by too many uninvited guests, are you?"<注10> said the hairdresser. "Why don't you try my way of escaping?"
"What's that?" asked Norah.
"Well," the hairdresser answered, "when the bell rings, I put on my coat and take my shopping bag. If it's someone I don't want to see, I say innocently,<注11> 'I'm sorry, but I've got to go out.' But if it's someone I want to see, I say, 'How lucky! I've just come in!'"