Sand pit charity bid (Rousse)

For 48 hours RJH sat in a pit, buried up to his neck in sand. This was his way of raising money for charity.

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Sunset chasing and the biggest divorce settlement in history (Rousse)

Many tourists had booked into the west-facing Hebridean hotel specifically to catch the amazing sunsets. There was a spectacular one predicted the next Wednesday and, on the basis of this knowledge, many people had extended their holiday on the Isle of Lewis.

Towards the end of the afternoon I was at the top of the beach and just about to change into my bikini when I noticed the early reddening of the sky. I grabbed my camera, bade a quick farewell to TPR and our holiday companions, and ran all the way down to the water’s age. The closer to the shore, the better the photograph.

Afterwards I walked all the way to Stornoway with the intention of catching a ferry to a more remote island to watch the full sunset. When I calculated that there was not time to do so, I climbed into a pick-up truck taxi at the filling station for a ride back to the hotel.

I was surprised to find TPR on the back seat of the taxi, upset that I had abandoned him earlier and annoyed that I had missed dinner at the hotel. I soon distracted him by asking him about a breaking news story about the biggest divorce settlement in history.

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Hugh Grant returns (Rousse)

Hugh Grant was back in town.

HisĀ  time was short, but he knew his priorities – to spend the afternoon with me and JK on the lower floor of the conference venue. Those busy working upstairs had no idea.

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Garden help and a yellow jacket (Rousse)

DH made two trips to Edinburgh before taking up his new post. Although these were supposedly for house-hunting, I was delighted when he started weeding our garden and – at his own expense – planted out some new flowers and shrubs. I invited him to a bonfire night party as a thank you.

Meanwhile LM paraded around the garden in her latest sale bargain: a shiny bright yellow padded jacket for winter wear.

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Lost underwear in Lyon (Rousse)

I joined a French language trip for school children, with RG as my companion. Our base was Nantes. We also took up the option of a side-trip to Lyon.

The latter was a big mistake. When RG checked us out of the Lyon hotel I forgot to pack my case, so ended up leaving all my luggage behind in a vast Lyon clothing warehouse.

Back in Nantes, the tourism officials couldn’t care less about my lost belongings – not even my vast underwear collection (some of which really belonged to my mother and sisters) – and would not help me arrange for its retrieval. When I visited the railway station to discover how much it would cost to return to Lyon by rail, I was astonished at the exorbitant train fares.

I eventually set off to walk to Lyon all by myself. I didn’t make it to my destination. This was because I became trapped in a lighthouse that I encountered on the coast along the route.

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Helicopter hitchhiking in the Hebrides (Rousse)

TPR and I set off to walk the west coast of the islands of Harris and Lewis. TPR soon lost patience at my poor progress, so we agreed that he would go on ahead at his own pace, and I would follow more slowly behind him.

After he disappeared into the distance I considered my options. This was going to be one hell of a slog.

Then, miraculously, I saw a helicopter crew nearby tending a fish farm. I wandered over to the workers, explained my predicament, and successfully hitched a ride home.

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A lipstick promotion compensation (Rousse)

The promotion interviews were arranged for a Saturday morning in a school gym.

However, since I only learnt last minute that all candidates were required to give a presentation on their research, I arrived at the venue completed unprepared to speak about my work. I also turned up in jeans and a jumper rather than a suit.

On the spot I told the panel chair that I would be withdrawing my application. Later I put in a formal complaint to HR about their poor communication channels. A young woman offered me a thin red lipstick as compensation for my trouble.

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