Stephen Fry’s bathroom (Rousse)

Stephen Fry’s old bathroom was a place of pilgrimage. I borrowed a bright yellow-striped swimsuit from my cousin DT and plunged into the water. As I relaxed into the bath I noticed the messages that Hugh Laurie had scratched into the tiles. They charted his friendship with Fry over the years, starting with their first encounter at the University of Cambridge.

The only issue I had with the exhibit was that the bathroom suite was brown: I knew that he had favoured avocado at the time.

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Topless David Beckham’s River Tweed tattooist (Rousse)

David Beckham’s tattooist lived with his family on the banks of the River Tweed. I discovered the artist’s identity the day that TPR drove us to the tiny riverside cottage in his new black sports car .

I admired the tattooist’s wife’s choice of décor, particularly the fabrics for the soft furnishings. Throughout the cottage there was heavy use of highly-patterned brightly coloured remnants from the 1970s.

We found David Beckham himself seated topless in the garden as the tattooist inked him in. Although I admired the artwork, I thought that it would look so much better on a canvas, rather than on the skin of a celebrity.

Then TPR took off his T shirt to reveal to me that he had two tattoos! On his right shoulder SL had attempted to draw some form of Celtic design. Meanwhile on the left my sister S’s friend A had hopefully scribbled her contact details. Much to my relief, neither ‘design’ was permanent.

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Driver and passenger walk free from overturned Volvo (Rousse)

Having successfully negotiated the main section of the journey to Edinburgh with my maternal grandmother in the smaller of my mother’s two silver Volvos, I lost concentration on a road that had been partially cordoned off, slammed into a traffic cone, and turned over the car. We were both flung out of our seats onto the tarmac.

While I soon picked myself up from the road, my poor maternal grandmother remained splayed across the lane. Although not visibly injured, I feared that she was dead. I reached for her arm and felt for her pulse. All was well, she was alive after all, and happily returned to her seat in the back of the car.

A young man with dark hair stepped forward from the small crowd of on-lookers and insisted that he take over the driving for the remainder of the journey. (The Volvo itself was roadworthy. The only visible damage was that half the bumper had been sheared off the rear of the car.)

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When your new neighbours are reality television stars (Rousse)

The new upstairs neighbours had moved in! I was able to confirm this to TPR and DM from the bedroom window as I watched a car arrive in the new parking space behind our garden.

Before long we noticed that the builders who had put down the gravel in the parking space had also rebuilt the garden wall several metres closer to our shared building. Some of our garden space had been stolen!

TPR, who was already dressed, stormed out of the house by the front door to demand an explanation from the neighbours. Meanwhile I pulled on some clothes and headed out at the back to check the wall.

It soon became clear to me that the wall’s position was, in fact, exactly the same as before. It was its construction that had changed. Now it was in sections in different styles: red brick, dry stone wall, graffiti-ed concrete. One was in the shape of a huge stone seat. The seat itself was mechanical, ready to swallow up anyone who dared to sit on it.

Now that I knew that our garden had not, in fact, been encroached upon, I headed upstairs to stop TPR shouting at the neighbours. I was too late. He had already said his piece and was now the most unpopular ‘guest’ at the flat-warming party. I made an attempt to smooth things over, but as soon as my association with TPR was known, I was made to feel most unwelcome.

Then it dawned on me that I recognised the new neighbours – from a reality television show on house sales. They had been profiled because they couldn’t shift their tiny London flat. I tried to engage the pair of them in conversation on this topic. They told me that they had been bitterly disappointed at their portrayal in the programme because the editing of content had presented them as a bitchy, bickering couple.

When it was time for us to return to our own flat, we all slid back to the basement down the chute that has been installed in our building for this very purpose.

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Catastrophic Christmas cooking (Belle)

Initially told to cater for ten people, there were now 24 people crushed around a dining table holding their knives and forks vertically and expressing impatience.

There was chaos behind the scenes. No one was helping me, and when I returned to collect my gravy it had been rejected by a passing guest who had tipped it down the sink.

I peeped into the dining room and saw that Ian Hislop had squeezed into a corner space. We were now 25 for lunch. The carrots were not going to stretch to that.

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Tutor daughter thwarts student mother’s study success (Rousse)

My mother had only been studying for a week, so had barely opened the book when I told her that it was time for her first exam.

I was somewhat responsible for the panic that ensued. I really should have warned her that there was an assessment so early in the schedule, and told her the seen essay question – not least because I was the tutor.

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Left behind groceries at LIDL (Rousse)

A pile of groceries lay on the floor at the entrance to LIDL: a cabbage, a dozen potatoes, a few sprouts, and six tins of tomatoes. They’d been there for at least two days, but nobody knew the reason why. Perhaps somebody had forgotten their shopping? Or could this be a novel art installation?

When we passed it again – this time with GG on the way to see his new house and meet his fiancée – I was sorely tempted to pick everything up, take it home, and transform it into soup.

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