An enormous yellow melamine convector heater (Rousse)

I had my eyes on a giant 1970s yellow melamine convector heater. Even though it was the size of a large kitchen table, I thought that it would look fabulous in our flat.

I just had to find a way of sneaking the device out of my parents’ house without the knowledge of my sisters.

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Checking for Czechs (Rousse)

I tried walking home along country lanes at night time, but this proved too dangerous. Even in flashing trainers it soon became obvious that drivers could not see me, and that I was risking my life.

I changed my plan for returning north and attempted hitch-hiking in daylight hours. I found a spot next to a slip road onto the A40 and waited. It was not long before a large old-fashioned car with foreign plates pulled over to pick me up. The driver and her five passengers were Czechs on a UK motoring holiday. I stroked the soft hair of the young boy to the right of me on the back seat until he growled at me to stop. He wasn’t a boy after all, but a fully-grown man who found such petting demeaning.

Over the course of conversation with my fellow passengers as we headed north I discovered that they had booked into a flat in Manchester that night. However, they were suspicious of the fabulous deal that they had struck with the accommodation provider. I suggested that they might have been placed in a less salubrious neighbourhood of the city and asked to check the location on a map.

They had been tricked. On consulting the map I saw that their accommodation was in student flats to the south of the city. At first I guessed these belonged to Manchester Metropolitan University, but on closer inspection realised that the institution was Nottingham Trent. A night in Nottingham was not going to be as much fun than one in Manchester. However, a bonus for me was that I would now have the opportunity to visit my in-laws.

Even better, the next city on the Czechs’ holiday itinerary was Edinburgh so I would soon be home at no cost other than friendship of this group of foreign holiday-makers.

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Party food from LIDL and footwear for the poor (Rousse)

I had heard much about the fabulous parties that were hosted by the residents of Trinity (Edinburgh), and at last was invited to one! I turned up early at S and AC’s house to find them laying out the last of the dishes on the dining room table.

It all looked delicious. I was convinced that SC must have spent the past three days in the kitchen. It was therefore something of a disappointment to learn that most of the food was bought ready-made at LIDL.

We had plans to travel to Loch Lomond for water-sports after the party. AC checked that I had brought all the right equipment. He was not happy with my choice of aquatic footwear. He demanded that I immediately order a pair of clear plastic jelly shoes from Amazon. I was reluctant to do so, mainly because such footwear reminded me of the poor people of my childhood.

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George Clooney and a Sisters of Mercy lookalike above the snow line (Rousse)

We were going camping with our French friends above the snow line in the north west of Scotland. Access to the site was via Forestry Commission trails, first on the dirt track along the shoreline of the loch, then up the almost vertical muddy slopes of the mountainside. CM (aka S) drove us in her four-wheel drive jeep. Without her we would never have made it to the summit.

We were surprised at the number of people who lived above the snow line. One boasted that the corner shop there was the busiest in the UK, especially on days when there was a fresh delivery of groceries.

I was keen to set up camp, although I now began to remember all those things that I had forgotten to pack, including my glasses case. TPR, meanwhile, went on a wander.

I later rediscovered TPR with our University friend SL talking to some French friends. At a table in a once-posh dining room, SL was explaining in French to Monsieur and Madame M that she was no longer played the merry widow.

Suddenly TPR’s youngest sister burst into the room to say that everyone had a treat in store. She was followed by a crowd of rather glamorous-looking individuals (certainly not campers) that included George Clooney. We were apparently all invited to travel to warmer climes for a party at the house of George’s ex-girlfriend Mati. I found this hard to believe until George Clooney spoke to me (George spoke to ME!) himself. Everyone was welcome, even the BBC crew members in our midst.

As I started packing for the next stage of our adventure a BBC engineer approached me to ask about SL’s marital status. He loved her for her 1980s big hair style and Sisters of Mercy look. Did I know if she available?

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Weymouth from air and shoreline (Rousse)

The flight was not full so we all had plenty of space in the cabin. TPR kept switching seats, mainly for the best views from angle of the plane.

When I saw Weymouth from the air for the first time I was astonished at the beauty of the beach. The pilot dropped our height and we travelled the length of the shoreline on a railway track for an even better view.

I vowed to visit the pretty seaside resort in September when, I hoped, the summer crowds would no longer be there.

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A wedding dress fashion for fur (Rousse)

‘My’ bride was a beautiful teenage African girl. She wore a tight-fitting white gown decorated with soft animal fur.

I was so proud when she paraded with all the others, not least because she really was the belle of the ball.

I was convinced that a top model agency would snap her up the moment that the official photos were published in the fashion press (so long as nobody minded the use of pelts in her dress).

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A pop art philanderer (Rousse)

I had arranged to meet SC for a drink after work at 6:30pm, and it was already 6:35pm. I really couldn’t afford to be any later for our appointment so I abandoned the mess on my desk and headed out the door.

SC herself was late. We actually found one another outside Tesco at Holy Corner rather than in the bar. She was accompanied by TPR, who looked fabulous. Under a smart black coat he was wearing dark formal trousers and an amazing shirt that was decorated with a rows of multi-coloured pop art versions of the 1951 photograph of Einstein sticking out his tongue. SC herself looked pretty good too, in a long, flowing, burgundy dress.

I later discovered that SC had paid for TPR’s new look. This prompted me to wonder whether he had been up to his old tricks again. It was not long before he confessed to yet another marital infidelity.

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