Tesco introduces motorised bikes to speed up in-store purchasing (Rousse)

Tesco introduced four-wheeled motorised bikes to help increase in-store purchasing speed. It thus came as something of a surprise when supermarket customers started using the bikes for another purpose: to perform competitive wheelies in the car park.

TPR took up the sport at a seaside branch of the supermarket. He joined a bunch of other enthusiasts who took to leaping from the high sand dunes onto the beach on their Tesco bikes.

This, unfortunately, was beginning to destroy the middle class Eurocamp feel of the pretty resort town.

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Stilt-cycling on a tandem (Rousse)

At the end of our tandem ride along the busy country lane TPR finally confessed the reason why the bike was so unsteady: he’d taken up cycling on stilts.

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Lancastrian census records help trace a family line (Rousse)

While half my PhD students were busy writing up thesis chapters, the others – who claimed that their work was ahead of schedule – were taking a break from their studies. They amused themselves by tracing the maternal line of my family using Lancastrian census records from the nineteenth century.

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President Donald Trump fails to attract inauguration ceremony audience in tatty Victorian theatre (Rousse)

In the basement of the Muirhead Tower at the University of Birmingham, SPC and I learnt to program. I was surprised at the ease in which I could code. If only it were so easy to program domestic appliances at home!

At the end of the session we took the boat back across a very choppy ocean to the United States of America. For much of the journey I lay stretched out precariously across the top of the vessel. I was almost thrown into the water on a number of occasions.

Our final destination was Washington. There we joined the short queue outside a tatty Victoria theatre that comprised curious members of the public waiting to pick up tickets for President Trump’s inauguration ceremony. The woman in charge gave us each a yellow card to gain access to the auditorium. It was obvious that she had no interest at all in our identities, nor whether we might pose a security threat. The organisers were simply grateful that there would be an audience for this event.

I followed my colleague SC up the filthy staircase to the very top of the building. Although there were plenty of spare seats below, SC argued that we would get a better sense of the ceremony and the audience from a position in the upper circle. We each took a wooden throne-like seat in the front row and wondered whether anything would ever happen on the bare stage below.

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Disgraced Labour MP leads theatre audience walk-out (Rousse)

As members of the audience left the show mid-performance GSX and I considered it legitimate to move closer to the stage and take a couple of vacated seats in the front row.

The star of the show didn’t seem to mind this at all. Indeed he pulled GSX on to the stage to ask her if she would like to help identify the next set of audience volunteers by sending red balloons for capture into the auditorium.

As she took on this task another chunk of the audience left, led by a disgraced Labour MP. Before long we would be the only ones left to watch the end of the show.

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Outdoors baker is jealous wife (Rousse)

BG was not happy to hear that I was about to climb into bed with JG in front of all the party guests.

‘What if something happens?’, she complained.

‘Nothing will’, I assured her – because, in reality, I was more interested in eating tangerines than sleeping with her husband. (In any case I was now wondering if I would rather take a bath than spent the afternoon snuggled up to JG.)

BG stormed out of the house with a mixing bowl in her hand. I found her later making a cake outside on the other side of the main road. She confessed that she often baked outdoors in a bid to avoid the chaos of family life.

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Edinburgh academic workload woes (Rousse)

Three of my undergraduate friends had travelled a long way to join this reunion in Edinburgh: SH from London, HJ from Cardiff, and JG from the Republic of Ireland. I felt terrible telling them that they would all have to return home immediately after the meal because I had no time to entertain them due to my horrendous workload.

HJ took it quite well. She popped round to LIDL in Logie Green Road to pick up a couple of things before heading back to Wales by train. In complete contrast JG was extremely upset that I was sending him back across the Irish Sea so soon.

My other problem was that I had scheduled the second exam prep class for my final year students to take place after the exam. They would not be very pleased with me either.

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