Tight black underwear and the most unpopular woman north of Aberdeen (Rousse)

TPR and I bought an enormous country pile just north of Aberdeen. Granted it was right next to a massive housing scheme (thanks to my mother for pointing this out), but it would make a fantastic venue for our forthcoming 30th wedding anniversary party.

The old owners – a very learned but extremely talkative overweight nurse and her partner – and their friends struggled to understand that the house was now ours. I was sick of coming home and finding odd people in our bed, and others ‘just popping in’ to ask our servants for food and drink. Even other people’s laundered underwear would appear in our drawers. This explained why I felt so uncomfortable in my underwear one day. The size 6 black M&S knickers I’d put on that morning weren’t mine.

There was only one thing for it: to change the locks and risk becoming the most unpopular woman north of Aberdeen.

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Belle and the Bikers

I had unwillingly become part of the Hairy Biker Tourist Team.  We were enjoying looking at great works of art in a sunlit cathedral, but kept getting interrupted by footage of the Hairy Bikers wearing mankinis on the beaches of Brazil.

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Talking donkeys (Rousse)

I had a quick conversation with some donkeys in a field about my forthcoming presentation (as yet unprepared).

Meanwhile TPR was in trouble because (a) it had rained so heavily that water had come through the ceiling of our flat and was now knee deep in our yard, and (b) since we came back from holiday he had been ignoring me in favour of his niece.

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In the office with Barack Obama and Boris Johnson (Belle)

This new job certainly had its contrasts.  Yes, I was sharing the office with a branch of Marks and Spencer Simply Food that specialised in apricot Danish pastries – hooray.  Yes, Barack Obama had a desk on the other side of the room.  But how could I not be brought down by the fact that Boris Johnson was also sharing my office?   He spent most of his days loudly proclaiming how common I was to anyone who would listen.

One morning I was mistakenly accused of shoplifting my apricot Danish.  Naturally Boris Johnson, failed to step in – despite the fact that I had the receipt in my hand and the CCTV footage clearly showed me paying.  When Barack Obama stepped in to defend me, Johnson performed a ‘joke’ Nazi salute.  Later I received a small card that said “Well I like you, Belle”.  It was signed POTUS.  I debated whether I should post a photo of the card onto Facebook and my story about Boris to Twitter, but decided against both.

Later, while sitting outside in the courtyard, I witnessed a gang of thieves wearing silver New Romantic face-paint dump their shoes behind a bush.  This could be a clue!

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Helicopter rescue for fashion disaster (Rousse)

I was really struggling with my work wardrobe. Everything I liked was unsuitable; everything suitable I disliked. Meanwhile my sister J was having much more success – largely because she had gone on a shopping spree before the start of term and had a bought a wide selection of checked shirts.

I finally settled on a cream suit, but my troubles didn’t end there. I got lost travelling from one campus to the other. Then my clothes disappeared. I did my best to use my hair as a gown, but it wasn’t quite long enough. My only hope of rescue was a US military helicopter.

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Special services for ladies of a certain age (Rousse)

JTX and his partner set up a business to deliver special services to ladies of a certain age. I was astonished (yet delighted) that a couple of gay guys would be so expert in their new metier.

My only criticism was that they should have closed the conservatory door when in action. I wondered if this display of their talents to the neighbours was part of their marketing strategy.

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Girl meets girl on Hebridean beach (Rousse)

I interviewed grown-up members of a boy band (established High Hall, University of Birmingham c 1983), took photos of the beautiful Hebridean beaches, and swam in the warm sea.

When KA and I emerged from the water a tourist took us to be a couple. ‘That’s perhaps not a bad idea’, I thought.

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