William and Harry join team to clean up and revitalise Leith Docks (Rousse)

As if I didn’t have enough to do, a posse of senior Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh bullied me into leading a task force to clean up and revitalise Leith Docks.

The one saving grace was that I had two volunteers before I even announced the project: the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.

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Queue jumping at the museum (Rousse)

When 0ne person pushed into the queue ahead of me to buy her museum ticket, I let it pass. However, I was not prepared to let a second to take advantage of me, so I challenged the next one as she stepped forward.

I expected this elderly woman to apologise and move out of the way. Instead she spouted a vile speech about my selfishness. Apparently she was a former work colleague of mine who had never forgiven for me for stepping down from a role on April 1st one year. Since senior management had not found a replacement for me, she was lumbered with a pile of extra admin. The workload was so great that she was forced to cancel a foreign holiday with her sister, and missed out on a visit to a building with elaborate ‘iced’ ceilings.

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Victorian fashion and whistling Wuthering Heights (Rousse)

I was jealous of JMH’s diet success. Her new lean form looked amazing in skin tight jeans.

I wasn’t too sure about her new look, however, when she changed into a long purple lawn cotton summer dress (Laura Ashley, circa 1978).

SEH and I whistled the tune of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights in acknowledgement of our sister’s strange Victorian fashion sense.

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A crowded flat and a cricket match (Rousse)

PG generously invited several of us – including TPR, BR, KS, myself, and my mother – to stay in his flat. This made it rather crowded for our kind landlord and his regular lodger. The huge advantage of his arrangement as far as I was concerned, however, was that my mother loved it there. She  jumped out of bed early every morning, slipped on her rubber gloves, and dedicated herself to the cleaning.

I was less enthusiastic about my catering role, especially when I had to accommodate BR’s vegan requests, and KS munched her way through more than her fair share of my freshly baked scones.

One evening we all went out to the theatre. Unfortunately for the actors their performance date clashed with a high profile cricket match. The audience struggled to keep their eyes on the stage, but instead turned towards a huge screen at the back of the theatre to watch the cricket action. Even the drama students (easily spotted in their beige uniforms, waving fake Highland Stoneware plates in the air from their seats at  the front of the stalls) struggled to concentrate on the plot of the play.

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Horse head hood hotel hillock attire (Rousse)

After a two year break due to pandemic restrictions, conference season was once more in full swing. I joined the throng in the registration queue, looking forward to dropping off my case in my hotel bedroom and seeing the colleagues that I had missed over the past two years.

I was very disappointed with room 51. It was a long way from the main building in a field, on top of a small hillock. When I opened the door I found that it was a soil burrow rather than a bedroom, and that I was expected to wear a felt horse’s head hood when inside.

BD was also upset with a couple of other arrangements: (1) that the terms of my visa forced to leave the country after five days and this meant that couldn’t join him on a post-conference holiday, and (2) that I hadn’t finished writing the slides for my paper, so I would not be able to socialise with him before my presentation slot.

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Semi-naked passenger on a plane (Rousse)

GC piloted the plane. I was his half-dressed passenger, naked-from-the-waist up.

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Lessons in arrogance (Rousse)

‘They take a special class in arrogance as part of their medical training’ explained A, the nurse daughter of my friend DM.

Now I knew why hospital consultants were always so condescending to their patients.

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Starring with Rob Brydon (Rousse)

When TPR invited me to sit down in front of the television to watch the hottest new interactive television quiz show produced by Rhys John, Rob Brydon spotted me on the sofa and gave me a cheery wave.

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Teddy bears and a tall Swede (Rousse)

My latest strategy for clearing my mother’s house was to gather together any presents that I had given her in the past and reclaim them for myself. I picked up two handmade lawn cotton teddy bears. The larger one was definitely one of mine; the smaller (and scruffier) possibly a creation of my sister’s.

Meanwhile next door AH was settling down to life as a divorcé. When I popped round later to pay him a visit, I passed his ex-wife in the street with a very tall young man. Now I understood the reason for the split of our friends. I didn’t catch his name, but he was a two metre tall Swede.

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Back and forth between Newburgh-on-Ythan and Portobello by helicopter (Rousse)

The real reason for CM’s return to employment was to fund the helicopter that he and VAE bought to travel between their two homes in Newburgh-on-Ythan and Portobello.

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