Disappointing reunion and relatives (Rousse)

I was rather disappointed with the table setting at the big reunion party. Surely this kind of occasion deserved proper table linen and glasses? The paper napkins and plastic cups were simply not good enough. I would have to have words with my mother.

I spent some time talking to JB, and then to three girls who had studied at Loughborough University under the supervision of CO and AM. Unlike the others, the latter group had some inkling of what my job involved.

My sister J was also in attendance, flaunting her close relationship with other members of the family. She presented a portfolio of artwork by our uncle and grandfather, and then graciously offered to give me a canvas. I chose a sketch that depicted our family in the upstairs drawing room of the White House in Stockton-on-Tees. I knew, however, that this was a sop. She had already squirrelled away the more valuable pieces elsewhere. I would make my complaint later to Granny H.

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Salmond recruits dogs and dolphins to support Scottish independence bid (Rousse)

The white poodle was reluctant to leave his post – literally. Following the instruction of Alex Salmond, the dog had been guarding the long wooden stick ever since the Scottish independence referendum was first announced.

I persuaded him that his duty was coming to an end now that Mr Salmond had engaged the dolphins to entertain the crowds.

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A personal invitation from JK Rowling to PotterLand (Rousse)

I’d won a coveted invitation to JK Rowling’s house in South Queensferry. She invited me to sit at the table with five others to discuss “business”, but before long I’d been distracted into talking trivia. I could tell that our hostess was no longer interested in what I was saying because she started to yawn and then perform yoga, drawing her foot over her head and trying to get her toes into her mouth.

Afterwards we were allowed to venture into PotterLand. A character in her wedding gown led us up to the ride. I commented that she would have to be careful never to put on weight if this was her work uniform. I also asked how she managed to keep it clean. She replied that she washed and dried it every night.

The ride was amazing. I was convinced that we were flying over Fife, but the bride in white assured me that this was only a simulation.

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Bomb drops over Edinburgh New Town (Rousse)

We turned the corner of London Street and found Drummond Place in complete darkness. There was a huge roar overhead and dozens of police officers rushed along the pavement.

We heard the retaliation bomb screech as it dropped from the plane. It landed just a couple of streets away with a mighty blast. Astonishingly nobody was killed.

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Car theft, breast milk, and a bump (Rousse)

I screamed at TPR that it was not our car, but he was so determined to catch the “crooks” that he did not hear me. He leapt on top of the driver at the wheel of the red MGB to prevent it leaving the hotel car park. When he realised that the car was not ours, he was full of shame and struggled to express his apologies for his mistake.

This was his second misdemeanor of the day. Earlier on he had helped himself to some small bottles of milk that he found on a table in the ladies’ lavatories. He thought that these were free samples for guests. They were, in fact, bottles of breast milk expressed by the fierce hotel owner for consumption by her own children.

The incident with the MGB raised the question as to where to find our own car. All the hotel staff were assembled in hotel reception and questioned by the fierce hotel owner. A number were sacked during the interrogation. We eventually discovered that the car was stored in a garage at the back of the hotel. Our tandem was in a basement.

I found XY attempting to take the car out of the garage, which was crammed with other vehicles. He was not giving the job the attention that it required. He pulled the “wrong” lever and it brought another car crashing down on a brand new silver people carrier parked to the left of ours. Its Scandinavian tourist owners were distraught. XY had no idea what to do. I suggested that his insurance policy would perhaps cover the damage. For the time being, however, it was his responsibility to find a means of getting me, and the students that he was meant to be transporting, home.

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Translating Evelyn Waugh (Rousse)

How should the titles of the novels of Evelyn Waugh be translated into French? This was the challenge for me and JC as we wandered around an art gallery discussing the merits of A passage to India and Howard’s End.

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Afternoons in bed with Beowulf (Rousse)

TPR was under the impression that I spent my afternoons at work. In fact I was snuggled up in bed with EMcC listening to him reciting Beowulf.

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