Displaying a nipple and swimming with baby dolphins in lockdown (Rousse)

Campus was open again. I was there once more attending lectures, and they were even measuring the water levels in the swimming pool.

On most days I sat next to my primary school ‘friend’ ST, delighted that I was admitted as one of his crowd – at long last. I shared my joy with one of the ‘cool’ girls and AG, planting a wet kiss on his big face before returning to my seat at the back of the classroom.

One day I changed into my bikini, rather carelessly as it turned out. I’d already wandered around campus for several minutes before I noticed my right breast wardrobe misfunction: my nipple had been on full display to all! I was so ashamed that I jumped on a passing train to remove myself immediately from the scene, even though I had no money for my fare, nor any idea of this service’s destination.

I only travelled to the next stop – Haymarket – and fortunately the train guard didn’t reach me in my short time aboard to ask to check my ticket. My other stroke of luck was to see my colleague AC in my carriage. He spotted my clothing embarrassment and offered his jumper to cover the top part of my body. He also agreed to arrange my passage home again (he had cash), sacrificing his planned afternoon of career development in a garden centre.

Haymarket station was in a shocking state, presumably due to neglect during lockdown. Squatters had moved into the station buildings to create a shanty town of houses decorated with broken china objects. AC picked up a couple of pieces of porcelain without considering that they might be precious to someone else. We befriended a small girl and a ginger cat in one of the ‘gardens’.

Before taking the return train to campus once more, AC and I swam with baby dolphins in the sea loch.

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England World Cup win 2020 and TFL infographics (Rousse)

England won the Cricket World Cup, and a Premiership football team triumphed in some European championship or other. This wouldn’t have interested me – if it weren’t for the annoying bunting and smug faces south of the border.

My main focus was my forthcoming appearance on Who wants to be a millionaire. I was sure that I could do better than the contestant before me: a plump Irish woman who failed to identify from four infographics the one that is not found on Transport for London bus shelters. (Answer: route maps of the wider Greater London region.)

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Hebridean ham roast recipe conundrum (Rousse)

The contestants were each invited to roast a lump of ham. I would then judge their efforts so that the winner would be appointed part-time chef at the Hebridean guest house.

I wondered how they would cope with the recipe that they were required to follow. It was devised by the son of the guest house proprietor and featured in his dreadful self-published cookery book.

Even the format of the book ignored publishing conventions. For example, each chapter was assigned its own series of page numbers. This rendered the index completely useless.

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Poor park keeping (Rousse)

JS didn’t take her new job as a part-time park keeper very seriously.

She took our money for half an hour on the tennis court, then bunked off to play tourist in Oxford for the rest of the afternoon.

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Westminster dance and romance (Rousse)

Where was Belle? She would be able to tell me more about this Westminster dance club and its amazing ballroom.

Taking into account the clientele, I couldn’t decide whether this was the coolest disco ever, or a marriage market for the truly desperate.

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Urban garden design knowledge management exam (Rousse)

I remembered my request for the removal of the multiple choice section from the Knowledge Management exam. Instead, the students would be required to answer three essay questions rather than two.

On the day of the exam itself, I took a seat in the exam hall amongst the students. When I turned over the paper, I was shocked to discover that every essay question was about four densely-typed pages in length, and all concerned details (and somewhat impenetrable) plans to makeover an urban garden. I had no recollection of making this change. None of the students would be able to make any sense of this!

I saw a couple of the class members afterwards. ‘We’re meeting in the pub to celebrate the end of exams. You are not invited’ said a boy in the lift, pointedly.

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Ian Rankin environmentalist (Rousse)

Ian Rankin (30) nodded with approval when I told him that nobody in our family of five owned a car.

He also shared his excitement at developing a friendship with someone as old as me, and confirmed that he too knew Dave the Buddhist.

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