From drinks in Ambridge with the Aldridges to an open air party on Princes Street (Rousse)

I met the illegitimate man of Thomastown at Brian and Jennifer Aldridge’s drinks party. He had thoughtfully brought with him a 3D paper model of Thomastown complete with an impressive representation of the Catholic church, and it didn’t take long for me to spot the top of the hill where JG and his family lives. Although the man hadn’t met the G family, as soon as I mentioned JG’s son F he knew who I was talking about. The topic of conversation then moved on to the sponsorship of gigs.

The party transferred to Princes Street where we sat at trestle tables outside the Vodaphone shop. A student approached us to ask me a question. The others shooed her away, screaming that I should be left to eat in peace. This made me feel like a celebrity.

MMcG was also at my table. I knew I had some business advice for him but – very annoyingly – I had forgotten what it was.

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Toronto school reunion disco (Rousse)

Toronto was not the obvious place for a school reunion, and the mix of people at the party was most peculiar. I saw JD, but where was JT, for example? And what were AB and HS doing there?

NP was similarly unimpressed. She grabbed my hand and took me to the converted cellars. TPR followed on the promise of a ‘gym’. Here we found a council worker supervising a disco. The music was good, but since the clientele comprised deprived 10 and 11 year-olds from the inner cities, we felt it inappropriate to take to the dancefloor.

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A presentation on Internet portals (Rousse)

As we left the lecture hall PC said that he would see me in room 4 by the entrance for the next session. I advised him to give it a miss: I was due to be presenting on Internet portals, but had done no preparation whatsoever. I didn’t have a single slide to show. My only hope was to dredge up from memory tales of the module that I had delivered with BD back in the mid-2000s. Perhaps this is why I got lost on my way to room 4, ending up in the ancient wood-panelled corridors of the dietetics department?

Later I headed over to RK’s for supper, where I was delighted to find JS was a fellow guest.

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The thrill of flying in the Hebrides (Rousse)

The female passenger sitting next to me on the flight followed my example of leaving the aircraft and taking to the skies. We flew over beautiful (and normally inaccessible) Hebridean beaches. The biggest thrill was to soar higher than the birds.

This was so much more fun than taking a cramped transatlantic flight to Canada.

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Pregnant sisters at Christmas (Rousse)

When I heard that both my sisters were pregnant I vowed that I would never again spend Christmas at my parents’ house – at least not before the children had grown up.

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Tripadvisor hotels to avoid (Rousse)

Never again will I stay in the following hotels:

  • The luxury American hotel that plonks you in room 22 right next to the bar on a Saturday night
  • The Hebridean guest house that houses a black and white cat in your en suite bathroom – this is especially annoying if you are allergic to cats
  • The Caribbean resort where there is only space to sunbathe by the pool on changeover day
  • Any establishment that makes it possible for your students to send you ‘presents’ while away on annual leave (no matter how lovely the students, and how amusing the presents)
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A puppy husband (Rousse)

The SEB was back, again making unforgivable remarks about so-called friends. This time she declared LG’s husband ‘a puppy’. I left her to scale a wood-panelled wall alone.

My decision to take the longer route was driven by my desire to spend as little time as possible in the company of this toxic woman.

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