ONE of the lessons I’ve learned in my life is the importance of making the most out of a bad situation. When something goes wrong, search for the silver-lining, that’s what I say.

Take our 30th wedding anniversary for example. Such occasions don’t come along very often – in truth, we both deserve a medal – so we decided to treat ourselves with a relaxing weekend away in Edinburgh.

With first-class tickets booked, we turned up at Darlington station on Saturday morning, looking forward to spending some quality time together and toasting the three eventful decades we’ve survived as a married couple.

The train arrived on time. We settled into our seats. And then my wife began to point out of the window, shrieking: “My bag! My bag!”

There it was: her floral overnight bag, still on the platform, all alone next to the bench where we’d sat while waiting for the train.

I jumped up and began banging on the windows and door like a man possessed, desperately trying to alert a guard to stop the train, but it was too late. Like a bad dream, the train began to roll away from the platform, leaving Darlington – and my wife’s bag – behind.

To be completely honest, my overwhelming emotion at this point was immense relief. Had it been me who’d left a bag on the platform, our 30-year marriage may well have ended there and then.

I did my best to hide my smugness as the ticket-collector, having heard the banging and shouting, came along to tell us that he’d phone the station and arrange for the bag to sent after us on the next train. Then, when the lady with the refreshments trolley took pity on us and took our breakfast order, our blood pressure began to subside.

It didn’t last long. Five minutes into the journey, the train manager popped along to inform us of the bad news. The bag had been stored safely back at Darlington station, but no-one would take responsibility for putting it on the next train. We’d, therefore, have to get off at Durham, go back to pick it up, and catch a later service up to Edinburgh.

All in all, it was a pretty disastrous start to our 30th wedding anniversary but, like I said, it’s important to make the most of a bad situation. The lady with the trolley appeared with my full English breakfast – sausage, bacon and egg – expertly stuffed into a giant bread-bun. “You might as well still have this, love,” she said, sympathetically.

My wife’s vegetarian breakfast of bubble and squeak couldn’t be sandwiched-up, so she had to do without, but mine went down well as we sat on Durham station, waiting for the train to take us back where we’d started.

We made it back to Darlington, collected the bag, and caught another train to Edinburgh an hour and half later than the first.

“Would you like breakfast?” asked the lady with the trolley as we approached Durham for the second time.

“Oh, yes please,” I replied.

Two full English breakfasts in one morning. Now, that’s what I call a silver-lining.


GUY Walton, aged seven at the time but grown-up now, came home from Consett County Primary School with a question which wasn’t easy to answer.

“What’s a prostitute?” he asked his Mum.

“Oh dear, you’ll have to wait ‘til your father gets home,” she replied.

Dad came home, and Guy got his explanation, but he still looked a bit confused.

“What’s the matter, Guy?” asked his Mum.

“Well, it all seems peculiar because my Nanna’s the prostitute of the Women’s Institute,” he announced.

His Nanna was, in fact, the local president of the WI – and she didn’t charge a penny for her services.

MICHAEL Morris, aged two and a half, was in ASDA in Peterlee with his Mum when she reached for a bottle of mouthwash.

“Why are you getting that?” asked Michael. “You only spit it out.”