Bride dazzles congregation with a diamond-encrusted wedding dress, Diana Ross, and circus clowns (Rousse)

My cousin F’s bride struggled to reach the alter under the weight of her dazzling diamond-encrusted wedding gown. While they waited for C to reach her destination, the congregation puzzled over her choice of music for walking down the aisle: I’m coming out by Diana Ross.

Even more surprising was the sudden appearance of a gang of circus clowns. A custard pie battle served as a prelude to the marriage service.

I just wanted the ceremony to be over. I had only accepted the wedding invitation because I knew that all the cousins would be there, and that this would offer the rare occasion to photograph my relations together in the same place at the same time.

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Doing a ton on the A9 (Rousse)

The A9 had been closed for months for a massive road rebuilding scheme designed to attract further tourism to the highlands of Scotland. Now that the construction work was finished, every hotel along the route offered views of the beautiful countryside. No longer did any look onto the busy road.

I was hired to ‘sweep’ the road just before it opened. My main role was to check that the freezer-sized robot ball-bearing steamrollers deployed to smooth the new tarmac had all been recaptured at the end of the work.

This terrified me, especially since the accelerator of the high performance car allocated to me to complete the job was stuck to the floor, and I couldn’t reach the brake. Racing along the A9 at 100 mph without any means of stopping was no fun at all.

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A clown, killer whales, and curvy bronzed buttocks (Rousse)

Thirty years on I rediscovered the dark-haired Italian man with whom I had been friendly in France in the 1980s. Now working as a professional clown, he lived on the French riviera in a small apartment that offered wonderful views of the Mediterranean. From here playful killer whales could be observed splashing about in the water.

One afternoon my friend and I sat together in the back row of a lecture theatre at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). Here I was appalled at the dress sense of the men seated in front of us. One was topless in a pair of scruffy pale blue denim shorts. The other wore a tiny black nylon G-string.

When I leant forward and pointed out that this was hardly appropriate attire for the RSE, the one in the G-string stood straight up. Rejecting my fashion advice, he wanted to make entirely sure that nobody in the room missed his curvy bronzed buttocks.

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Best friends of joker William and Kate (Rousse)

Since our appointment as ‘best friends’ to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge we were now expected to behave with decorum at all times.

Prince William was such a joker that we struggled to keep our cool when we accompanied him and his wife to solemn events. Once he threw a cheeky smile and winked at me at an outdoor ceremony to commemorate the end of World War I. I almost lost it, but somehow managed not to collapse to the ground in a fit of giggles.

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Illegal gazebo sausage rolls (Rousse)

TPR was so hungry that forgot his manners completely and fingered one of the sausage rolls on a plate inside the gazebo. None of us had permission to enter the riverside property after our long walk, let alone picnic on the food that we found there.  The owner was furious to find strangers poking around her garden.

‘That will be £12!’ she demanded of TPR.

He looked up in horror, finally realising that he had committed a huge breach of etiquette. There was nothing for it but to hand over all the coins in his pocket. I calculated that he only had about £4 in total. So, in the end, he had managed to bag himself a sausage roll bargain.

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An unexpected baby (Belle)

I unexpectedly gave birth to a toddler and became an expert in contemporary Greek drama.

Later my baby turned into a really pretty dog.

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A work weekend in Winchester (Rousse)

The work trip was a long weekend  in Winchester. Our accommodation was so meagre that I was forced to sleep in an indoor cave squashed between two of my reportees.

One complained that I sniffed and blew my nose all through the night.

The other thought it hilarious to bite on my leg at 6:00am each morning to wake me up.

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