I was looking forward to talking to NP and SF over the meal, but as we sat down to dinner one of the guests declared that he was an orthopaedic surgeon and very interested in assessing my leg pain. This seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so I followed him out of the dining room into a bedroom.
I modestly turned away from the surgeon to take off my trousers. By the time that I turned around again, the surgeon had completely undressed! Propped up one arm, he lay on the bed, his pale, skinny, body fully displayed. This was not the kind of medical examination that I had envisaged, so I stormed out of the room.
When we returned to join the others it was obvious that they now ‘knew’ that the surgeon and I had embarked on a love affair. Even my long-dead former colleague BT believed in this ludicrous myth.
I walked along the river bank with my father. We saw a few people fishing, apparently without success. My father boasted ‘Watch me, I can pull one out with single cast’.
He stepped down to the water, expertly sent his line flying across the water, and instantly hooked a salmon.
All around were very impressed – I less so due to my familiarity with his amazing skills with rod and line.
Our flight from Stornoway was in two hours at 9pm and our only means of transport from Uig to the airport was a set of four brand new three speed bikes. Even if we were to cycle at top speed and reach check-in on time, we couldn’t take our luggage with us because none of the bikes had panniers.
I suggested that we arrange for a taxi to take our belongings, or ask another holiday maker who was also heading for the same flight to do so.
TPR disagreed. He said that we should come back for a long weekend in a couple of weeks and collect everything then.
JC booked a holiday for us all in Spain. She and her husband kindly collected us by car and drove us to the airport 300 miles south.
There were all sorts of problems with the plane’s facilities. My Canadian cousin DT was not prepared to use them, so forced the pilot to stop on the runway during take-off so that she could visit the bathroom in a nearby house.
Later during the flight, when I made an attempt to open the plane’s toilet door, the steward told me off for doing so.
I tried to make the peace with the steward by admiring her beautiful pale green eyes. As the words spilled out of my mouth I realised that I should probably be paying my compliments to a plastic surgeon.
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Tagged Canadian, cousin, eyes, facilities, flight, green, plane, plastic surgeon, Spain, steward, toilet
It was the end of our holiday. I had almost finished packing the bike panniers in preparation for our journey home when a man rushed into our room, then grabbed and bundled me into the back of his car. He set off at top speed with no heed of obstacles on the road. It was obvious that his mission was to kill me, and he didn’t care if he also died in the process.
Somehow, I survived the ride so I was able to join TPR for the train journey back to Edinburgh. All seemed back to normal again until we stepped on to the platform at Waverley. TPR headed off on his own without passing me my cycling helmet. He reached the house before I did, and was reluctant to let me in.
I now understood that TPR was behind the attempt on my life, and I needed to make alternative accommodation arrangements to guarantee my safety. I could stay with my new neighbour AMcN. When she heard of TPR’s treatment of me, she clobbered him.
Sir Paul McCartney was the surprise special guest at the party. All the tiny guests (aged six or under) seemed to recognise the celebrity status of the visitor, and gathered closely around him. When invited to ask questions, however, none was bold enough to speak.
I wandered over to the group. I had a question: had Sir Paul really written ‘PS I love you’ for my aunt?
My colleague FC led me to a basement. Here she had assembled an art exhibition with all pieces displayed for sale. I selected a lurid night time scene in dark oils from the freezer and took it home as a birthday present for TPR.
ASDA had deserted the deep-sea themed shopping centre on the outskirts of town, as had the giant aquarium retailer. The enormous concrete sculptures of marine creatures now looked rather forlorn in the neglected flower beds.
Sainsbury’s moved to the site to capitalise on the low rent and a local population desperate to shop. The supermarket chain, however, failed to invest in staff, and there were always huge queues at the check-outs. All customers were on high alert for the possible opening of a second till. Whenever this happened there was a near riot as everyone jostled to reach it first.
On this visit to the shop with TPR, I lost a mother of pearl snail shell in the rush to reach the second till. Not long afterwards, however, a young man approached me with my prized possession. He also offered me a brown highly polished stone on a plinth. At first I rejected it, but when he pointed out that it was an award and my name was etched into the marble, I changed my mind.
At a table I discussed my award with the young man and Sir Mark Walport. Everyone around us was very impressed that we were able to converse freely in French.
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Tagged aquarium, ASDA, award, French, marble, Mark Walport, plinth, riot, Sainsbury's, shell, shop, supermarket, talk, TPR
My status in the household was rather ambiguous as the former au pair girl. Should I really be left in charge of the children three decades later?
That question was answered when I attempted to change the sodden nappy on a toddler. The nappy removed, he child melted into a tiny glob of clear gel. Then the gel transformed into a small bird. It immediately took fright and flew away.
How was I going to explain the missing child to the family?
It took a long time to cycle the single tracks roads across the wilderness to the immense quarry, but it was worth the effort. The excavation was enormous. I couldn’t wait to see it close up.
We dropped our bikes above the village, not bothering to lock them in this remote location, then picked up an off-white Land Rover for the remainder of our journey. My niece AF joined us.
While I was looking forward to examining the rock formations up-close, TPR implemented his secret plan. He put the Land Rover into reverse and drove it backwards along the main road out of town, endangering all the traffic that was travelling directly towards us in the ‘right’ direction. I begged TPR to stop and turn the vehicle round, but he refused to listen.
TPR’s final destination was a salt mine. He’d planned the trip as a special surprise for AF, who was suffering from eczema. The salt found here was said to offer magical healing properties. TPR urged AF to give it a try.
Unsure of TPR’s advice, AF picked up her phone to seek her father’s permission to test this unconventional skin treatment. She adopted a ludicrous baby voice for the call. (My sister had warned me of this habit. I just hoped that she didn’t do the same on work phone calls.)
Meanwhile I admonished TPR for taking us on this ridiculous and dangerous expedition, expressing my severe disappointment that we had failed to examine the rock of the quarry, i.e complete the real purpose of our trip.