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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Parking, Police and Panic

Ready yourselves dear readers this is probably the most traumatic tale that I have ever told. It's a whopper. Hopefully you will find it hilarious, unfortunately although I can see the funny side I am not laughing yet. Perhaps I never will be ...

This time my travels took me to the exotic Covent Garden. Wild.

Imagine the scene: 6pm, Sunday, late February. I'm in my car looking for a parking spot.

Those of you how know me will know how much I hate parking at the best of times and this certainly was not the best of times.

There is nowhere to park. Round and round we go (me and my gal pal). Nothing. Round again. Nothing.

Tourists blindly step out into the road, rickshaws whizz past, it is getting dark.

I am starting to feel quite fraught. I go up and down any road I can find. I don't care anymore I just want to get out of the car. Up. Down. Round. Nothing.

Eventually I turn down a wide road, parked cars line both sides and it has a string of taxis down the middle that ends with a HUGE lorry.

Obviously I am not going to get a space down here. I drive to the end only to find it is a dead end: a series of bollards separate me from a huge outdoor market with people swarming in, out, everywhere.

I panic. My friend soothes me.

It is a one way system on either side of the taxi rank so I must turn around the lorry and make my way up the other side of the street. Sounds simple but I can't get round the lorry. I can't get the angle right. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.

My face burns with the imagined faces watching me. I see two policemen in the throng. Oh god. I am freaking out now.

Policeman One knocks on my window. I lower it - it stops halfway - stupid old car - I manually yank the window down - puffing with effort and embarrassment. I can feel my cheeks burning crimson.

'Are you OK love? Do you need a hand?'

I nod.

'We've cleared a space for you -'
I look back and they have indeed removed all the rickshaws and gawking passersby from the area.

Both policemen then proceed to give me detailed instructions on the angle needed to get around the lorry.

I cannot understand. I cannot make the wheels do what they want. Then the lorry driver appears in high-vis. He too cannot get my brain to compute the required angels.

I am on the verge of tears. My friend - choking back a fit of giggles - tells me it will be OK.

WILL IT? My brain screams.

I want to curl up into a little ball and die. Eventually the two policemen and the lorry driver realise that this is never going to happen.

They let me turn around on the spot - swinging wildly into the cleared pedestrian area - and give me an escort - one policeman walking in front and one behind - back down the one way street and finally off to freedom.

I thank them with tears of shame, joy and relief stinging my eyes and then I flee the scene of the most embarrassing moment of my life ....

I never did find that parking spot and I am never going to try and park in central London EVER again.