A disappointing kiss and book jacket design by nightmare (Belle)

Travelling by steam train to the seaside, I met a Chris Packham-esque naturalist and poet who seemed to like me. At one point, on a fire escape, he said “…shall we share saliva?” and I said “What, you want me to spit on you?”  We kissed instead.  It wasn’t any good.

I met thriller writer Hammond Innes and he revealed that his famously pulpy book jacket designs were inspired by his own nightmares.

Later I missed most of my conference because I got lost in the venue and forgot who I was.

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A hotel bedroom foursome (Rousse)

We were surprised when the blonde woman sunbathing nearby introduced us to her friends.

‘We met here last year’, she reminded us. ‘We live in Geneva. Our son is also called T’.

Now, that my memory was jogged, I remembered this couple.

There was a second surprise for us when TPR and I returned to our hotel bedroom. The woman and her husband had moved their belongings into our room. Their clothes were in the wardrobe and drawers, and the wife tucked up in bed.

Apparently nothing could be done about this double booking. We were to share every minute of the last two of days of our holiday with this couple, whether we liked it or not.

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An Australian body search for Earl Grey tea (Rousse)

‘I don’t even smoke! What would be the point?’ I screamed at the man who accused me of stealing a pack of cigarettes.

He was actually referring to the two Earl Grey teabags on the reception desk. Had I taken those? The answer was that I had, but in all innocence. I said that I thought that they were being offered free of charge to passing guests.

It seemed that this man had deliberately encouraged me to ‘steal’ from him just so that he had an excuse to strip off my clothes and subject me to a full Australian body search.

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Lettuce, a lorry, and Looney Tunes (Rousse)

Belle was in town (hurrah!) but she was leaving on the next train (boo!) When she confessed to me that she had arrived two days ago to stay in her Edinburgh New Town pied à terre I did my best to hide my disappointment that she hadn’t contacted me earlier. Then I borrowed a bag of lettuce from her and left to attend to my other priorities.

First there was the huge articulated lorry that I had parked unlocked in Drummond Place in the snow. I had forgotten to insert any coins into the meter and probably now owed the council half my bank balance.

The other worry was the out of character super-friendly behaviour of A. Why had he turned all touchy-feely with me, and what was the meaning of his generous gift to me of a Looney Tunes Garmin watch screen?

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An irresistible avocado green bath tub (Rousse)

Should we purchase the flat on London Road, Edinburgh that we were currently renting from an Indian? Sure, it was a little way out of town, but the floor space was larger than our old place.

The deal clincher, however, was the brand new bathroom. Complete with an enormous avocado green tub, how could we resist?

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Hedgehog, dormouse, hamster (Belle)

We were driving around the old streets of Birmingham when my father said “Stop the car – we’ll visit the hedgehog”.  We stopped at what looked like an illuminated nativity scene. “The hedgehog’s not home, but there is a dormouse”, said dad. He was wrong again. That was a hamster sleeping in shredded toilet paper in the manger.

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Drums, an over-sized dog and true love (Belle)

It was a lovely Sunday morning and I was walking around Kings Cross with my massive new dog. He was a large, gentle “Swiss thing” with a lolling tongue.

We walked into a warehouse-sized venue which was all vintage leather sofas and posh waiters. On stage, two rock drummers were playing with a string quartet.  This place was as cool as my dog AND me.  We, sat down, ordered tea and that’s when I saw HIM. Surely this was the third time that we had bumped into each other in random venues? He knew my name and ruffled the dog’s fur. At last – love!

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