Jewellery thieves of Pitlochry (Rousse)

SC warned me about the jewellery thieves of Pitlochry. They came from out of town, armed with nothing but a strong grip. Their modus operandi was to force a victim against a wall, reach for their hands, tug off all their rings, and then make their escape with the pilfered booty.

SC advised that I remove my rings straightaway and store them safely during my entire visit.

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David Beckham in disguise (Rousse)

I spent the day cycling with David Beckham, his wife Victoria, and their young son.

At no point were we recognised, even at a busy London railway station. This was thanks to the clever way that David wore wraparound sunglasses, and tucked his distinctive blond tightly under a baseball cap. That he was riding a bike with a luggage tug-along along helped with the disguise.

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Teenage criminals target Sainsbury shopping trolleys in Gateshead (Rousse)

Poor Darren had his work cut out on the Customer Services counter at the Gateshead Sainsbury megastore. His queue grew longer and longer as I explained the whole sorry tale of  my purchases.

I had selected a mix of groceries and garden supplies (as advised by my long dead paternal grandmother), paid for everything, then left my laden trolley in the shop entrance. When I returned later to collect my newly acquired goods, they had disappeared!

I hoped that Darren would be able to reimburse me: as a resident of civilised Edinburgh, how was I supposed to know that Gateshead teenagers steal from unattended shopping trolleys on their long summer school holidays?

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A false alibi (Rousse)

I reluctantly agreed to provide an alibi for KW and told the police that he was at the Tuesday lunchtime meeting. As evidence, I showed them the entry in my calendar.

Of course, in reality, at that time KW was engaged in his murderous act.

He then drove south to BC’s house in Sussex and – without her knowledge – stored the corpse in her attic.

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Alien pink babies emerge from the plumbing (Rousse)

I was returning the keys of the Lomax so that someone else could take it for a drive when a woman at the sink shrieked.

‘It’s Elaine’s head – as a baby!” she shouted ‘And several more of them coming out of the plug hole and the overflow!’

A few of us peered over, horrified to see several miniature newborns with enormous heads emerge from the plumbing. I wanted to make a run for it like everyone else, but I couldn’t just leave the two huge piles of our belongings on the floor. It was especially important that I completed the packing because TPR and I needed to audit everything for division at the point of our divorce.

I raced to stuff everything into the suitcases and bags before one (or more) of the ugly pink babies leapt off the draining board and selected me for motherhood.

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Social embarrassment of hotel lift claustrophobia with a 3-foot man (Rousse)

While BD entertained his colleagues at the conference by prancing around in a pair of pink gift-tie ‘ear-rings’, I sought the stairs to return to my hotel room to pack.

The only set of stairs that I could find comprised four steps up to a lift. If I wanted to reach my second floor room, this was the only route up the building.

The lift arrived soon after I called it. I was surprised to find a tiny lift operator inside. Now I had two problems (1) containing my claustrophobia in front of a stranger; (2) reaching down to give this 3-foot tall man a tip when my arms were full of conference bumph.

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Canine and human vandals ruin corridor wall (Rousse)

I was very angry to find dog’s paw prints along the skirting board and up the edge of the wallpaper in the corridor.

I was angrier still when I saw that someone had vandalised the same wall with details in black marker pen of a student party on Forrest Road.

I was pretty sure that I knew the culprits: HR and her wife JH.

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Husband presents wife with a Porsche – and a divorce (Rousse)

TPR bought me a midnight blue Porsche, then instructed me to drive him from the south west of England to Lowestoft. He announced that this would be our final trip before he divorced me.

It was an emotionally painful journey. The car was also very difficult to handle, mainly because its only brake was the type found on a primitive of child’s scooter. Added to this, we had no map, and no money for the 5.9p toll road that ran alongside the M25.

When we stopped for directions, TPR chatted up a bunch of walkers from Wales instead of paying attention to the instructions of the two kind man who were trying to help us. By this point of the journey I couldn’t wait to be rid of him.

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Princes Harry and William at the ice pageant (Belle)

Travelling up the escalator to the sixth-floor office, I saw a gaping hole at the top and Mr L (my school history teacher) fell down. Fortunately, he swung himself back to safety like a gibbon. But I was fuming about the hazard and confronted my colleagues. My boss explained that someone I was at school with had damaged it playing “alcohol basketball”.

I stormed off to create a diversion. But when I arrived on the ground floor, there was a British-American ice pageant going on. I squeezed between two American women and sat in a red velvet seat. First, British and American ice athletes played badminton and ping pong and I feigned enthusiasm.

Then someone started playing a religious Christmas carol on a silver trumpet and I said, rather too loudly,  “Oh, God. They’re not going to shove Jesus down our throats now, are they?”  Immediately I realised how offensive something like this would be to the Americans so I muttered “….or any other religion” and hoped they’d forgive me.  Then two royal-prince lookalikes entered the ice and the Americans got excited. “Is that Harry? Is that William?” one of them asked me. “No, it’s someone playing them”, I said, pointing to the seats opposite. “The real Harry is over there”.  The Colonel sitting in front of me turned around and told me to shut up.

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Celebrity adultery and art work destruction (Belle)

My new corporate job involved working with a team that was scanning great works of art. The technology they were using destroyed the art works during the scanning process. When I told them it was perfectly possible to scan art and keep it safe, they became violent.

Later I organised an Excel spreadsheet training course. I had designed an exercise which involved analysing the specific dates on which celebrities had cheated on their spouses.

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