P and SM had secretly amassed a vast collection of enormous glug jugs, now displayed with pride in their sitting room. Some hung from from hooks, and the rest were arranged higgledy piggledy on a high shelf. I particularly admired the pink one styled as a salmon, and another where an old-fashioned Coke bottle had been fashioned into the the fins of the fish to give the impression that the fish itself was taking a drink. TPR was itching to climb up to the shelf and set everything straight, but just at the moment that he announced that he would do this the ceiling fell in from above us. We all ran upstairs to check the damage. Under a dusty red oriental rug we discovered a huge hole that looked down to the sitting room below. I wasn’t terribly interested. I was more concerned with P’s earlier revelation that all the glug jugs on display downstairs had been bought in Hexham. Why hadn’t my parents spotted them first and bought them for me?
On another occasion we were heading north for a holiday on Orkney. Apart from his boy racer style of driving, our friend NS was the perfect travelling companion. Not only was he a fan of Radio 4, but he also tolerated the Archers. As darkness fell we stopped off at a visitor centre for our evening meal. We also looked around the shop and it was here that I had a fantastic business idea: fossil jigsaws! Meanwhile TPR was told off by the shop assistant for playing with the squeaky plastic pocket money toys. Apparently only students were permitted to do this. Back in the car again, we almost had an accident on a bend in the road where people had gathered to watch sheep die. We parked the car safely nearby and joined the crowd. I was horrified when NS stepped forward with a mallet and started bashing one of the sheep. Then I guessed that he was hastening the poor beast’s death, hoping to soon put it out of its misery. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. This was all part of an ancient Yorkshire lambing ritual. Five minutes later NS delivered a baby lamb from a now healthy mother, and he was the hero of the hour.