Parking is not fine

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 April 2012

Monday was calm.

Tuesday was mad.

My mother was taken into hospital.

I drove down to Brighton giving myself enough time to get there, visit and get back in time to drive into London. At the Cuilfail Tunnel - just outside Lewes - there was a hold up. 73,000 police and 89,000 cars. A huge lorry had overturned. I decided to be clever.

An hour later and having traversed the whole of the East Sussex countryside, I arrived back to where I started only now I could see the reason for the hold up, a huge lorry on its side. I used up a quarter of my petrol and had eaten into the hospital visiting time. I finally arrived. Couldn't get into the hospital car park, found a meter and put in the only money I had, which was just enough for one hour.

Found the ward, sat with my mother until the Doctor - an extremely young woman - came with her clipboard. She needed me for longer but I had to leave. I didn't want to BUT....

So, of course, the guilt set in.

Drove like the clappers to get home. The tunnel was still closed so I had to drive through Lewes, always a pain at the best of times. Lewes is meant for walking and horses not for automobilic eyesores.

Had exactly eleven minutes to get myself ready for London.

I left with a cardboard sign my neghbourhad made which read SPEED CAMERAS.

'Put it on your seat, I know what you're like.'

I heeded his warning, which is just as well, because at the end of the evening I received a 65 parking fine for parking in a bay that Westminster Council's traffic enforcement officer said I should not have parked in. I am appealing (well we know that!!!) which is why I am up at sparrows fart.

I have sent off my details.

Got to my first appointment three minutes late.

Second assignation, The Groucho Club' which I made bang on time - meeting the dawter at the door. And so ensued an evening of FISH. A Big dinner comprising of nothing but FISH.

Cooked by MITCH TONKS & NATHAN OUTLAW. Buy their books they are revelatory about how to cook FISH. 8 minutes usually does it, but I digress....

From prawns to shrimps, scallops and mackerel, from salted fish to pickled herring, from turbot to lobster, from clams to crab. And to top it off raspberry cheese cake in a kind of 'Eaton Mess' style with twirly biscuits and 3 million calories.

By the time the clock chimed 10.30 my poor body was swimming in FISH.

There were tables of ten, lots of noise, voracious eaters, from snotty actors, smug journalists, shy lawyers and retired, tanned casino owners. There was white wine, red wine, champagne and cocktails.

There was babble and bubbles, laughter and banter, and exchanging of twitter accounts and telephone numbers.

I got back to the car and didn't see the parking ticket until yesterday when I came out of 'JULIETS' in Tunbridge wells. I came out of lunch early to move my car so I wouldn't get a parking fine. Ha!

I arrived home on Tuesday night with an unruly set of bodily functions. By the time 3.00a.m. had arrived my body had calmed down, I had watched 'The Syndicate.' and fell into bed with jellyfishbelly.

Wednesday had me vacuuming, changing bed sheets, and scrubbing the sink. Then it was off to collect my writing partner, a quick trip to the hygenist, which is always fun. We catch up on gossip with my mouth wide open and her hand down my throat.

Arriving home the writing partner and me wrote until 10.00, she went to bed and I watched 'The Apprentice' on BBC IPlayer, gagged at the idiocy of the candidates, then retired at 1.30.

I could not sleep for worrying about the parking fine, and choosing the songs for Sunday's show so got up at 5.12.

I have lodged my appeal and chosen three cracker-tracks, so now at 6.39 I'm going back to bed for a couple of hours snoozing.

I just hope that when I get up later I don't find a parking ticket issued in my own garage......

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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