By Peter Kerr

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Attempting to wring a piddling discount from the ads girl at the ‘Daily B’ would have been only one of many such outlay-saving ploys that Jock would already have tried to pull off, of that I was sure. During the return drive out to the airport, he explained his annoyance at having had his haggis ‘arrested’ by the 36 MISADVENTURES OF A PARTY ANIMAL Spanish customs earlier. The forthcoming Mallorcan Burns Night wasn’t going to be the first one at which haggis had been served. Indeed, the obligatory Burns Supper fare of haggis, mashed tatties and ‘neeps’ (Swede turnips) had been served up every year since that first experimental celebration of the bard’s birthday in the school dining hall.

I could sense that he was trying desperately to dredge up all the self-restraint he could. He was having the mickey gently but pointedly taken, and he knew it. ‘It looks like a sausage to me,’ the customs man stated offhandedly, but without animosity. ‘Yes, and I see from the paperwork here that the haggis is actually made from certain obscure parts of a sheep,’ he then remarked. He smiled cordially again. ’ For the second time that day, I thought Jock was about to explode. ’ he snapped. ’ The officer inclined his head in a that’s-what-I-said sort of way.

I mean, he already gets his jeans and T-shirts and fancy trainers bought for him. Yeah, and all with highfalutin designer names at that, just so’s he can swank about alongside his rich-kid schoolmates. And now he’s 45 A BASKETFUL OF SNOWFLAKES gonna get extra pocket money, just for picking one measly crate of oranges. ’ While there was some truth in what he’d said about the fashion fads that kids subscribed to in international schools like the one Charlie was now a pupil at, we’d never succumbed to the demands of any such peer pressure that Charlie might have been subjected to.

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