Brown bear transport to Hawaii (Rousse)

SC confessed that she had frittered away all her savings on foreign holidays, so I was somewhat surprised when she said that she was joining me, JC and TPR on a trip to Hawaii.

BR helped make the travel arrangements for us. We were to be picked up on our bikes from a bus stop near the airport. After the flight we would cross the US in the company of a huge brown bear and its cubs, using the beast both as transport and a safe place to sleep.

I was only too happy to abandon my work colleagues for a few days, especially since N’s misery was starting to grate on us all.

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Irresponsible gun disposal (Rousse)

When the men started to throw beer at us on George Street, we took this as a signal to flee.

We charged down Castle Street, onto Princes Street, and up a side road in the West End. Just as we turned the corner, TPR flung a pistol back along the main road.

‘What did you do that for?’ I asked.

‘I don’t want to be caught in possession of SL’s gun,’ he replied.

‘So you ditch it on Princes Street?!!! Why didn’t you dump it in the canal, or the Forth, where your actions would not have been captured on CCTV? You are doomed’.

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US citizenship test queries in Colorado (Rousse)

The train set off in the wrong direction – or rather we had joined the west-bound train to Hawaii via Texas, rather the service heading east.

We managed to alight at the first stop in rural Colorado, where it was snowing. As TPR wandered up the platform to check for a service that would take us to our final destination, I searched through my suitcase to find some warmer clothes.

Suddenly I sensed a presence behind me. I turned to find a greasy-looking man observing me as I pulled on a grey jumper. He asked me questions about the US citizenship test, but I knew that his real intention was to attack me.

How loud could I scream, and would TPR hear my call for help?

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A kid’s Skype eye test (Rousse)

Having given up on the optician, BC asked me and TPR to test the eyesight of her son N.

Over Skype, it was rather difficult to persuade him to identify which of the black lines were more distinct (in the green circle or the red one?), especially when he was completely absorbed in the book that he was reading.

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Helicopter hillside deaths (Rousse)

TPR successfully piloted the helicopter high into the hills. Then suddenly – on landing – we detected a problem. The engine stuttered as if the fuel tank had run dry.

When we lifted into the air for a second time, we travelled just a few metres over a cliff edge before the engine cut out completely. We plunged forwards to fall to our deaths.

I pitied our parents and everyone else who would mourn us.

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Cholera risk on transatlantic flights (Rousse)

My entire family was flying to New York: mother, father and all three daughters (although my little sister was yet to put in an appearance). I arranged for us to travel in the greatest comfort: by king size bed.

As soon everyone was comfortable under the covers, I picked up the in-flight magazine. The glossy pages were covered in sparkly grains that looked sugar or salt. I did not see the printed warning before I scraped some of the substance off the pages to taste it.

The grains were already burning through my mouth when I read of the risk of contracting cholera. I turned to my father (the vet) mouthing the word ‘Water’. None could be found.

My only comfort was to pet a small grey Staffordshire bull terrier puppy that jumped up on to our bed – until it wet the sheets. This was going to be a very long and uncomfortable journey.

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Sand pit charity bid (Rousse)

For 48 hours RJH sat in a pit, buried up to his neck in sand. This was his way of raising money for charity.

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