Tiger shopping deterrent on Easter Road (Rousse)

Three tigers lived in the posh dress shop on Easter Road.  Despite the glamorous proprietor’s assurances that the tigress and her two cubs were ‘perfectly harmless’, there was no chance that I would ever tempted to enter and browse the clothes rails while they were in residence.

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Salvaged: a single-footed skateboard and an antique secrétaire (Rousse)

Back in Birmingham again, TPR, my father, and my little sister were picking through the contents that we had left three decades earlier in our old house in Northfield. Much of it was junk. This included a narrow skateboard with a moulded plastic single foot insert – an invention that (unsurprisingly) never gained widespread popularity.

While my sister identified a crammed bookcase that took her fancy, I gathered up all the blue cushions. Then I discovered a beautiful three quarter size mahogany secrétaire hidden behind a very ordinary set of shelves.

‘It’s OK. I don’t want a davenport for Christmas after all’ I called to TPR, who was laying paving slabs in the back garden. I told him that the desk met all my requirements. Now we just needed to book a van to to transport it home with all the items that we had salvaged from our old house.

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String sorting wife clings to marital home (Rousse)

Just days before his great revelation, TPR and I had been smugly working our way through albums of old photographs, congratulating ourselves on our long and happy marriage. Now we had returned to our old house in Birmingham (the rooms bigger than we remembered) to meet his family, and for him to confess that he was leaving me.

While I sorted out old bits of string into a neat skein, he was preparing the wording of his announcement. His new girlfriend (blonde, in her 30s) and her three kids were also milling around. ‘That woman might take my husband’, I thought but ‘No way on this earth will I allow her to force me out of my Edinburgh flat’.

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Chatting with Kylie Minogue and Melanie Sykes in make-up at the BBC (Rousse)

Since the BBC opened up its building to everyone it had the feel of a public library on a busy Saturday afternoon. Some offices were off-limits but – just as my mother and I had done – you could plonk yourself just about anywhere to watch the workings of the huge public sector broadcast corporation.

My mother embarrassed me somewhat in make-up when Melanie Sykes (very overweight) and Kylie Minogue sat down next us. ‘Hi Kyle!’ she greeted the Australian pop star. ‘She could have at least used her correct name’, I muttered under my breath.

We headed back to Edinburgh by taxi with GB. This was a huge mistake. The taxi driver was a violent criminal out to get my poor octogenarian mother. He made his move just as we crossed the city bypass, lifting her into the footwell at the front of the vehicle. His swift action was like a hawk reaching for its prey.

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Dangerous diving in Denmark (Rousse)

A tiny Danish island was our holiday destination. Here the only other holiday-makers were Danes, all enjoying themselves splashing around in the water in long thin canoes.

‘We’ll do that later’, promised TPR, leading the way to a tiny hut almost completely choked by honeysuckle. We climbed on to the fence round the hut so that we could climb onto its roof.

TPR missed his footing and fell headfirst a hundred feet into the ravine below. Happily he was not injured. However, true to form, he lost his glasses.

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When an ex refuses to exit (Rousse)

It seemed a good idea at the time to invite my ex ST to visit while my husband TPR was away.

My plan fell apart when ST didn’t understand that he was expected to leave as soon as TPR returned home.

Now it was only a matter of time before they would come face to face with one another in a corridor – and TPR’s heart would shatter into a thousand pieces.

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Unwelcome gate-crasher knowledge extractor (Rousse)

DTJ set a large table in her garden then erected a tent-like structure around it. This allowed her to host a party under some form of shelter outside in winter. She then asked me to carry a sputtering candle from the house to the garden to use as a table decoration. Her daughter H followed me out, keeping an eye out for wax drips.

Eventually all our girlfriends arrived and gathered around the table, half-sheltered by the flapping tent. It was wonderful to see everyone together again.

Then I noticed a sinister man fiddling with a huge white contraption at the other end of the garden. When I challenged him, he admitted that he was a gate-crasher. His plan was to insert all the guests, one by one, into his machine. Then he would squash them until he had extracted their knowledge and expertise – all to use for his own personal gain.

(Meanwhile the SEB, having ditched KA’s husband SM for ‘being weird’, was chasing TPR again.)

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Sainsbury supermarket misdemeanour results in hefty fine (Rousse)

I was already way behind schedule for the arrival of our dinner guests (CM, VAE and possibly her sister), and now I found myself stuck in the Sainsbury checkout queue.

I considered all the raw ingredients for supper that were staring out at me from the trolley and wondered when I would ever get the meal to the table. The only way for me to make up some time was to prepare the fruit and vegetables here and now in the supermarket.

I reached for a knife and made a start on peeling the potatoes. Then I chopped the apples. This was going well!

However, I paid for my hasty food preparation antics when I reached the head of the queue. As punishment for opening the good prior to payment, the shop manager added a fine of 10% of the value of the contents of my trolley to my grocery bill.

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Librarians infiltrate 10 Downing Street (Rousse)

I thought that I was being interviewed for the post of Librarian at Loughborough University. In fact, it was for the role of second in command. I’d be taking over from a suited man who was returning to work at 10 Downing Street.

The members of the interview panel were not terribly interested in me, especially when a news story broke about ructions in the cabinet. They all rushed from the board room table to the nearest television screen. They stood before it transfixed for the rest of the afternoon, the interview forgotten.

I sloped off along a golden tree-lined avenue in the autumn sunshine to catch my train home again. They’d missed their chance of employing me. I wasn’t that bothered. I would have much rather taken the job at the University of Sheffield.

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Caribbean boat wreck survivor (Rousse)

I was one of the lucky one. When the wave overturned the open boat, I remembered the drill to kick of my boots, discard my hat, stuff my glasses into my pocket, and then swim until I found a float of some description.

Attached to a log, I eventually washed up on a Caribbean beach, much to the surprise of two women sunbathing in 1960s bikinis.

In the heat, I walked to the nearest resort village in search of a taxi driver who would take me home.

It was a great relief to have survived the wreck, but I worried about my friend JC and colleague GW. There was bound to some sort of enquiry since none of us had been wearing (nor were even offered) life jackets.

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