Border crossings and spy work (Belle)

Although I had joined the stationery warehouse as an office junior, I was actually working with Dame Judi Dench for a spy network based in London in 1944. We had an enemy in our midst and I was tasked with befriending her and escorting her to the tube station.  As we chatted, one of my colleagues shoved the woman onto the tracks and under the train.  I was shocked – no-one had warned me this was about to happen.

Later, I went out for a stroll with the dog and with GH.  We walked across a long bridge and he turned to me and said, “Well, I’m crossing over to Canada now.  Bye”. This left me in an awkward position.  I had no passport, yet somehow I  had managed to leave the USA. The border guards took me to their staff room and I teased them about how badly Americans make tea.  I couldn’t tell if they were flirting with me or interrogating me.

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The work of Val McDermid: where to start (Rousse)

Val McDermid and I chatted on the top deck of the bus.

‘I am embarrassed to admit that I have never read any of your books’, I confessed. ‘It’s just that everyone says that they are so gory and that I’ll hate them.’

‘Don’t listen to these idiots’, Val advised. ‘Read just one and you’ll be a fan.’

‘Where should I start?’ I asked.

‘Anywhere’ came the reply.

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Miniature schnauzer makes a hopeless guard dog (Rousse)

The burglar worked his way around our room helping himself to bits and pieces from the dressing table and cupboards. Meanwhile our miniature schnauzer lay happily on our bed with his legs in the air, willing us to tickle him.

‘He’s got to go’ I said to TPR. ‘He’s hopeless as a guard dog.’

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Late for a placement visit in Kilkenny (Rousse)

My first placement visit in the Republic of Ireland was in Kilkenny so I took the opportunity to call in on the G family in Thomastown. There I found BG mid-morning sitting in bed in a pink nylon nightie reading a trashy novel while JG was out at work. FG was also in the house, but he had no idea who I was. He simply winked at me as I passed him on the staircase.

I was running late for my appointment so BG suggested that she give me a lift to the station. She dressed, then led me to the family vehicle. This was not a car, but a mechanised open crate on wheels that could carry six family members (and a flock of sheep, if required). It was incredibly difficult to manoeuvre, especially when we took it underground to the fake tunnels.

When I reached the venue for my appointment I was rather late and completely unprepared for the meeting.

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Wooing by old rowing boat (Rousse)

I remembered IK best from hogmanay parties in the late 1980s.

It came as something of a surprise when he popped up in my life again, super-keen to win me over as his next romantic conquest by showing off his battered old rowing boat.

(TPR was not amused.)

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Louis Theroux in love (Rousse)

I hoped to slip out of the conference hall unnoticed when I heard JK mention my name. I had no option but to return to the round table and discover what she was saying about me.

‘I was just talking about your relationship with Louis Theroux’ she explained. ‘The others would love to hear how you got together when film-making’. I groaned inside. Did I really have to go through all this again?

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Contempt for media mogul Rupert Murdoch (Rousse)

When Rupert Murdoch was announced as the keynote speaker only three of the newly-appointed staff stayed in the room. The rest marched out in protest, displaying their utter contempt for the media mogul.

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