An unusual source of gift wrap (Rousse)

I cycled the country lanes, picking up rolls of wrapping paper along the way.

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Bid to honour Hartburn home (Rousse)

There was a move to honour the White House (Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees) as a national monument on account of the parties held there in the 1970s and 1980s.

I doubted that it merited such attention: it was not as if my parents had led a great art movement. In any case, the place was a mess, despite the newly hung blue and white Louis XVI wallpaper in the dining room. Who else, for example, would keep a copy of their will under the sofa?

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Secrets of Sir Ian Brindey’s affair hidden in porridge (Rousse)

My cousin B finally revealed the solemn secret that she had been harbouring for years. During the war my grandfather had been in a relationship with Sir Ian Brindley.

‘There’s further information in there’, she said, pointing to the museum.

Amongst the exhibits were several bowls of porridge curated by French speaking Arabs. The information that I sought was held within the cereal, but – of course – I could not translate it.

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The value of writing concisely (Rousse)

‘The greatest skill that we learnt as undergraduates’ announced JS to the audience seated before her on rows of hard wooden chairs ‘Is how to write concisely. I can turn one person’s long-winded paragraph into three neat sentences – as can others in my class’.

She then cast a glance at me – at exactly the same time that my PhD students turned their heads in my direction.

Meanwhile JG nodded in agreement, as GCHQ employee KH and his daughter came to sit next to us.

Then JS set up the video to show us scenes from her recent holiday in France.

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Cocaine addiction and twins (Rousse)

We helped out at a party in a top floor apartment hosted by two gay friends.

Inevitably one of the young women became addicted to cocaine that very night.

We drove home in TPR’s brand new black Golf GTi with K, J, and their new twin babies.

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A relation from Barnsley (Rousse)

I recognised the man’s voice immediately, but what was my father doing at the conference?

When he stood up I could tell that this wasn’t my father after all, but someone who sounded and looked like him. He was even dressed like my father in a sage green suit. This had to be a relation of ours.

The man came from Barnsley and was 76 years of age (although he looked much younger). I pulled out my iPhone to photograph him, at which point he transformed into a tall, cool redhead in his twenties wearing tiger stripe socks. Now all likeness to my father was lost.

Despite this I still keen to show him how he resembled my father in his earlier form so I started to look for some photos to prove this. My companion soon became bored with waiting and said that he would now be leaving with his wife. I requested his email address so that I could send him the photos once found, but he refused to give it to me.

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Robbie Williams’ secret of song-writing success (Rousse)

Robbie Williams explained his secret of song-writing success.

‘If you listen carefully, all my tunes are simply up and down scales with added lyrics’.

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