High fashion for alcoholics (Rousse)

It was rumoured that Belle downed 16 bottles of red wine a day.

Perhaps that accounted for her weird dress sense? Today she was wearing a pastel summer dress over bright red tartan trousers.

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Kidnapped kept woman (Rousse)

I was kidnapped twice. On each occasion my kidnapper was one of my former drama teachers.

The first time TPR rescued me and took me to live in his white-washed bungalow in the countryside. Then one day I made the mistake of answering the doorbell in my pyjamas and was taken again. On this occasion my captor was disguised as a labourer. During the pursuit I managed to shake him off for a while, but he eventually grabbed me at Green Park tube station in London.

My second kidnapper adored me, showering me with jewels. However, I was very unhappy. I was constantly monitored, and never allowed any time to myself. Even shop staff knew never to let me out of their sight.

When I asked a jeweller if I could use the shop phone (because I had ‘accidentally’ left mine at home), she refused my request. I would never be able to tell TPR what had become of me.

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Wisteria excess (Rousse)

I had so many wisteria stalks, yet nowhere to plant them. On checking all round the garden to find a vacant patch of soil, I discovered that every inch of space was already taken – by wisteria stalks.

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Jennifer Aniston declares ‘English knickers best in the world’ (Rousse)

The cast members of Friends were easily recognisable when I met the actors in Milwaukee, although I was surprised that David Schwimmer (who played Ross) was so short in stature.

I asked Jennifer Aniston if she could arrange for Wardrobe to supply me with fresh underwear. She replied that their supplies were sub-standard and told me to use my own. After all, in her opinion, English knickers are ‘the best in the world’.

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Dinner with the Beckhams (Rousse)

‘You need to be ready at 6:30pm for David to pick us up for our evening with the Beckhams’, I said to TPR – just loud enough for everyone in the queue to hear me.

Many heads turned to see who deserved such an honour.

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Ramsey MacMahon and a whale (Rousse)

Before we headed to the ferry terminal, LM and I checked the birthday cards in the stranger’s flat. They were all for someone called Ramsey – most likely the BBC Alba presenter Ramsey MacMahon, who I had just seen in the street. How exciting: I was one of his biggest fans!

We saw Ramsey in person just before we boarded the ferry. Like us, he was heading to the islands for a holiday. As we queued to board the boat, we were all well entertained by a small whale that was weaving its ways in and out the struts of the pier.

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Tadpole hunting with a fishing rod (Rousse)

GK sheepishly walked back into my life when his marriage came to an abrupt end. I knew this immediately, the evidence writ large across the tan line on his wedding ring finger.

It seemed that GK regarded my parents’ house as a safe retreat. He hadn’t considered that other people would think the same, so was rather disappointed when he had to fight with African forced migrants for sofa space at bedtime. Nevertheless, the next morning (on very little sleep) he was a willing participant in family activities and came tadpole hunting – with a fishing rod.

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A missed opportunity to bed Chris Addison (Rousse)

I deeply regretted missing the chance to sleep with my co-star Chris Addison, but this partly my own doing.

I should have refused to meet CS in a Glasgow hotel to spend an afternoon downing gin and rum cocktails as an antidote to work-related stress.

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A return to University after lockdown (Rousse)

I was so excited to be returning to university after the pandemic lockdown, and very much looking forward to seeing my 4th year friends. Of course, we all ‘saw’ GK on a regular basis now that he was famous. Usually this was on television, but I had recently seen him in my local pharmacy, purchasing an ’embarrassing’ item. I hadn’t approached him to renew our acquaintance: I worried that he would get the impression that I would sell my story of our encounter to the press.

I was about five minutes late to the welcome lecture in a brand new building on campus. To reach my designated classroom, I had to pass through the main auditorium. Here Boris Johnson was speaking to a bunch of eager undergraduates. If only I had not dithered when visiting NP in Nile Mile Burn and the Js in Biggar. Then I would have arrived on time and would haveĀ  been able to take a seat next to my friends in our designated classroom, rather than squeeze into a spot between strangers in the fourth row.

I recognised several faces in the audience, but at least half in the huge class were unfamiliar. I eventually realised that those unknown to me were the ‘real’ fourth years, i.e. those who had just returned from their year abroad in France. My year group was joining theirs to make up for missing a year of study due to the pandemic.

I was jolted from my thoughts when I heard the very young lecturer mention my name. He was congratulating me on keeping everyone in my year in contact with one another for almost 40 years.

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Invitation to murder (Rousse)

My family was running the risk of reputational ruin. Already we were known for being loud and eccentric. Now it seems that we had invited someone for dinner and – for entertainment at the end of the evening – murdered our guest.

Unless I could find a way to stop him, an American acquaintance, who had been observing us for years, was threatening to go to the police.

I was furious with my youngest sister. While she was responsible for the death, we would all be obliged to take the blame collectively.

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