Scottish island cycling skeleton surprise (Rousse)

Cycling in the Scottish islands in May is always a pleasure with the lengthening summer days and low likelihood of rain.

However, it is not so enjoyable when your wheels take you over a massive seaweed-covered midden where the skeletons of dead islanders lie – especially when multiple bones have drifted to the surface.

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A risky revealing nightdress (Rousse)

I met Belle outside the British Library. At first we were thrilled to discover that we had both topped our outfits with thin, silver-grey, suit jackets. Our joy turned to disappointment when we realised that just about every other professional woman of our age within 100 yards was dressed in an identical fashion.

We hugged, had a quick chat about which reading room would make the best base for our day, and then made plans to meet there later.

We soon abandoned the idea of work. Instead we wandered down to the shoreline to take a look at the sea. When Belle ran into the waves, I watched her from the pebbly beach.

I didn’t dare join in her fun because I was knickerless. No longer wearing my grey jacket, I was wary of my thin nightie turning transparent in the water and revealing all when I emerged from the sea.

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A papier mâché model, a lost purse, and a problematic pub food policy (Rousse)

When I returned to work from sick leave I was less than impressed with my new office arrangements. I was to share room C75 with an office mate who had already moved into the room a bed as well as a desk, and dumped an enormous papier mâché model of the countryside (built by his kids) in my space. I took one look and said that I would not be coming back until everything was cleared.

In fact I returned quite promptly because I left my handbag behind. By the time I was back on campus someone had moved it into the middle of a corridor. Thankfully no money had been stolen from my purse.

On my way home again I called into the pub for lunch with TM and SC. TM declared that his steak pie was disgusting and asked the waitress to take it back to the kitchen. Rather than do so, she implemented the restaurant’s new policy of eating the rejected food at the table in front of the customers. We all found this a highly embarrassing experience.

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Arrogance and recklessness on the road and high seas (Rousse)

Arrogance and recklessness were a dangerous combination, especially on a busy narrow road. At the wheel of his white Mercedes, SM was lucky to avoid a head-on collision with a huge truck.

He was not so fortunate when he failed to brake in time for the traffic lights just a few metres further up the road. From my position on the back seat I hoped that the bump would be a gentle one. We were lucky to escape without injury.

SM decided to abandon the car on the spot in favour of a boat moored in the nearby river. We all followed him up to the deck, not one of us a sailor. We drifted further out to sea over the course of several hours, and would have surely died out there if SM had not been apprehended by the police.

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A new name (Belle)

My drag king name was Hercules Proudfoot.

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Mining hippos and Action Man’s lunchbox (Belle)

I arrived at the art party a week after everyone else. I was sorry to have missed the anthropomorphic murals showing hippos working in coal mines.

Later, I took my drink and stared out of the window.  A toy helicopter, with Action Man in the pilot’s seat, flew towards me and hovered outside. I enjoyed all the details inside the cockpit – I could even see Action Man’s packed lunch, tartan flask and banana. I called my fellow guests over to enjoy it but then the helicopter turned around and a bizarre religious message was pinned to its side.  I’d been tricked into enjoying something hateful.

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Minnie Mouse insults for big-eared school girl (Rousse)

I travelled to my new school in the passenger seat of my father’s acid green Ford Cortina estate car, squashed up to my best friend ECM (the only one of us wearing a seat-belt). On my lap I cradled a carrier bag stuffed with transparent yellow plastic ring-binders.

ECM was meant to be looking after me. However, she revealed that she was giving up all such responsibilities as soon as we entered the playground. I would have to fend for myself.

As she marched away from me I flung her the worst possible insult that I could muster: ‘Your ears are too big and you look like Minnie Mouse!’

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