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Saturday 2nd July 2022


My impossibly youthful mum somehow turned 85 today and I was glad that we were there to celebrate it. We went to the Italian restaurant up the Gorge. Last time we’d come here I’d had to drop everyone off and then drive a good mile or so away to find a parking space. Today it was pissing with rain so I wasn’t looking forward to that, so imagine my delight when there was a space on the road about twenty metres from the restaurant. Not only that, but somehow it was free to park there. I was only supposed to park there for one hour, but I figured we might be done in 60 minutes and if not, I’d be pretty unlucky if a traffic warden came by immediately, so I might squeeze 75 minutes or more out of it. And to be fair, if I was a traffic warden I don’t think I’d be making too much of an effort to patrol the gorge’s few spaces in this kind of weather.
I had thought I might move the car at 60 minutes, but decided I’d take the gamble. My sister had paid a whopping £5.20 to park in the official car park, some way up the gorge and I reckoned that I’d only be fined about £30 if I got caught. I thought the chances of that happening were about ten to one. If this was a game of poker I’d have been insane not to take the chance. 
I mean, it was nice to celebrate my mum’s birthday with the family, but nothing beat the excitement of this game of cat and mouse. Everyone decided to have starters, which I thought might blow all my plans out of the water and then our main courses took ages. And my sister had taken quite a while to get to the restaurant as she was parked so far away. At ninety minutes I’d finished all my food and thought that maybe I had taken a risk too far. There were still maybe ten minutes til the meal would be over for us all, but I walked up to the car. If I’d got a ticket then I could go back to the restaurant and enjoy my super expensive parking spot, but if not then I had essentially won the Euromillions. This was like doing a 3D scratch card. What would the result be?
I didn’t have a ticket. I had won. And boy that felt good.
Hopefully there weren’t cameras and I get a ticket in the post. But it’s a victory for the moment and there’s no way that anyone can find out about my crime of stealing an extra 30 minutes of free parking. I’ll just deny it if they catch me. I am not stupid enough to give them a written confession.
And Cheddar Gorge owes me. In any sane world they would keep a permanent parking space for me, just in case I turned up. Imagine if any of the things I had written about this place had ever been made…
Ernie told a proper joke at lunch (it’s actually one that his sister first told us all, but it’s still remarkable that he remembered it). “Why do squirrels swim on their backs? To keep their nuts dry.”
I am not sure he understands it, but he got a big laugh and it was a risqué one to tell in front of his grandparents, but they enjoyed it nonetheless.
Happy Birthday Barbara.

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