The Parking Ticket or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Parking Nazis

A parking ticket? A parking ticket?! (My kingdom for a parking ticket!)

We Got a Parking Ticket

We Got a Parking Ticket – Adam Gerard

Furious doesn’t even begin to cover it. There are millions of words in the english language, but I don’t think I can string enough of them together to accurately describe just how angry I am. But apparently I’m about to try.

The reason I am so annoyed is that due to a technicality the parking company have got me over a barrel. The reason for the ticket being issued is that I “failed to correctly display a valid permit or ticket” for my residents parking space. I do indeed have a residents permit, which is displayed in the windscreen of my car, however it appears in the recent cold weather it had lost its sticky (I assume due to condensation) and had relocated itself to the passenger footwell.

I got the ticket on Tuesday, and had last used my car on Sunday so naturally I have no idea at what point this adhesive failure actually occurred.

Having sent an appeal in explain the situation as above I have received the following response:

Having considered the points you have raised and reviewed our records, we are unable to accept your appeal. Our main reason(s) for this decision are as follows:

The signs at the car park make it clear that the land is private property and that a charge of £100 will be levied if vehicles park outside of the Terms and Conditions displayed.

The signs make it clear that a valid permit must be clearly displayed in the vehicle parked; on this occasion the above detailed vehicle was observed parked whilst not correctly displaying a valid permit therefore you became liable for the Charge advertised.

e appreciate that you have now provided us with a copy of your permit; however the evidence shows that the permit was not clearly displayed at the time the vehicle was parked. It was your responsibility to ensure that the permit was clearly displayed before leaving the vehicle parked.

In recognition of the particular circumstances, and as a gesture of goodwill, we are prepared to offer you the opportunity to pay a reduced settlement charge of £20.00 provided that payment is received within our office by the 24th December 2018 after which the amount payable will revert to £100.00.

Well, I guess £20 is better than £100. And it’s a lot of effort to take the legal route of pointing out that I have never actually agreed to the use of a parking enforcement agency for the car park (residents were not consulted), but the use of a parking space is permitted in my lease, as such I don’t need a permit. 

Article 1 of the First Protocol: Protection of property allows the freedom to enjoy property and any perks it comes with, which arguably extends to the ability to park ones car. However, I run the risk of being shafted in to paying £100 so I’ll forget about my rights for a second and just pay the £20.

And then remember my other rights. Specifically the right to a Subject Access Request demanded access to all data relating to me, my property, and my car from the company, which will likely cost them the £20 all over again. What can I say, I like to get my money’s worth.

The Arrival of Lentil

It took a while, but she’s finally here. My little Lentil. Born on 28th December 2018 at 16:21 by c-section and weighing 9lbs 2oz!

We went in to the hospital on Boxing Day for the induction, and after a difficult labour (52 hours total) she was finally out. Buttercup endured hell with this birth. Lots of vomit, lots of pain.

The induction process started at about midday on the 26th December, though nothing much happened for the first 24 hours after this. On 27th December they started stage 2 of the induction, and this is where things really got interesting. The cramping and sickness to be specific.

By 2am on the 28th Buttercup was 4cm dilated and in “active” labour, so we were transferred to the delivery unit. From there is got worse before it got better.

The gas and air made Buttercup sick and delirious. She didn’t really know what was going on, just that she hurt and wanted it to stop. This I cannot deny was highly distressing, especially at the point where Buttercup was barely conscious, and the few moments she was, the only word she could whisper was “help”.

Next came the Epidural. This took a full 90 minutes to arrange. Unfortunately the procedure to insert the line for the administration of the drug required Buttercup to remain in a certain position, and stay extremely still. Which she couldn’t do. She just didn’t respond to instructions, even at the point where we were shouting at her in an attempt to shock her out of it. The doctors eventually administered a local anesthetic and we took away the gas and air. A few minutes passed and it was almost as if someone had flipped a switch. Buttercup was back, alert, awake, she knew exactly what was going on and everything became so much easier.

With the Epidural finally in place things really did get much easier, and now it was a case of waiting until Buttercup was 10cm dilated before moving to the next stage. I took this opportunity to have a nap, sat bolt upright on the floor. My first hours sleep in the last 36 hours.

10cms arrived and it was time to start pushing. The midwife upped the dosage of Oxytocin to ramp up the contractions and Buttercup pushed with all her might for well over an hour and a half, slowing making progress, Lentil getting closer and closer. Until the progress stopped.

Lentil was stuck. She’d hit the pubic bone and couldn’t move any further,

A consultation with the doctor was held, and it was decided to move to theater. The new plan was to attempt to assist with forceps, with a cesarean as the backup plan. So down to theater we went.

At this point I really wish I had taken a selfie in my scrubs as I looked particularly ridiculous.

With a forceps assisted delivery, the doctor is only allowed 3 attempts before they move on to the cesarea, and those attempts were used up pretty quickly.

Cesareans are an amazing process. From the first incision to my little girl being officially born was roughly 6 minutes. After this was about 45 minutes of Buttercup being sewn and stapled back together.

She was finally here. My beautiful baby daughter.

Baby Lentil

I would like to thank all the staff of the Rosie Maternity Hospital for being so amazing throughout this time.

Pregnancy Jitters Pt 2

Well, after our scare the other day ( Pregnant Jitters ) Buttercup was not induced as the ward was full and actually closed to new arrivals / inductions. As Lentils movements were back to normal, and the midwives and doctors were happy with everything, we were actually discharged, and we were told that Buttercup would be sent for a scan, just to make sure everything is fine, and she’d be sent a letter confirming when this scan was. We assumed that has they were not sending her for this scan immediately, it was nothing to be worried about, just a precaution.

As a result Buttercup made the decision that she wanted to started her maternity leave early. To be honest, she was due to work the Monday and Tuesday and be on leave Wednesday (today as I am writing this post) so she’s only actually gone on leave two days early.

Sunday came and went, we took it pretty easy, trying to relax as much as possible.

Monday came and went, no sign of this appointment confirmation.

Tuesday, Buttercup went in to town to do some bits, came home as the postman was delivering, checked the post: Nothing.

So she phoned the Rosie hospital and spoke to the assessment line and it was confirmed that no appointment had been made. So they booked an “emergency” one at 5.15.

Cue the phonecall to work. Fortunately Buttercup has our managers direct dial, and my desk is situated right next to our manager. At the time the call came through, I was actually with two of the other managers nearby, in fact immediately behind my managers desk. I’m mid referral and get a tap on the should, a phone thrust in my face and am told:

Your birds on the phone, nothing to worry about.

What do you mean nothing to worry about. After the weekend, of course I’m worried. I am literally on edge all the time.

Anyway, Buttercup tells me what she told our manager, that the appointments been booked, and it’s arranged for me to leave work a little before 4pm to get to the hospital.

Scan was absolutely fine, but it indicates that Lentils current weights is about 4,111g (or 9lbs 1oz), so getting quite large, so the midwife wants us to see a doctor about this.


A little over four hours to be precise to be seen by the doctor. Having had a look over the notes in Buttercups maternity file we were advised he wanted to induce the pregnancy. On Christmas Eve.

So, there’s a very real chance we will have a Christmas baby, and an even bigger chance that most of Christmas may well be spent in a hospital doing very little other than waiting.

As a result we are now doing everything we can to induce the birth ourselves.

Pregnancy Jitters

Today began, and continued, as a normal Friday would. We woke up, we had breakfast and coffee, got dressed went to work.

Things were going pretty well up to a certain point. I had just taken my Nth call of the day, chatting with a nice lady about a policy she had recently purchased, explained some of the terms she was confused by, as perfectly normal call.

Just out of the corner of my eye to my left I can see one of the managers trying to get my attention, I hadn’t realised she was talking to me as my headset is on my left ear so while I can hear her voice, I can’t actually make out what she is saying. While my customer is talking I quickly mute my mic and ask what the issue is, and point to my phone to indicate I am talking. This manager comes to my side and tells me she needs me urgently; so I apologise to my customer and explain that my attention is urgently needed for a moment and that I would need to place her on hold.

It is at this point that I am told there is a problem with Buttercup: she hasn’t felt Lentil move for a while. In fact, she hasn’t felt Lentil move in such a long time she is worried, and having called the maternity unit, they have advised her to go in and see them. Due to this, I am told to drop everything, someone will come over and take over the call.

So. Mad march up the hill (fortunately our flat is only a few minutes walk away from work), hop in the car and drive the 30 min drive to the hospital to get checked out.

On the way, I’m trying to remaining calm, and happy, and make lots of jokes and keep Buttercup talking, but I know that she’s worried, and I’m worried too. But I don’t want to show it, because if I show it, it will make her feel worse, which will make me feel worse, and then the whole thing spirals out of control.

Fortunately, once we got to the hospital, and they rigged Buttercup up to a monitor we discovered Lentil is absolutely fine. Good strong heartbeat, some movements. Not enough movements to not be a worry at all, but not so few that its some sort of crisis.

To be on the safe side, Buttercup is being kept in overnight to keep an eye on her and Lentil, and we’re potentially looking at being induced tomorrow. Personally I want to wait a little longer, but ultimately, if the midwives and doctors feel it is necessary to induce, we can’t really argue with this.

For now we can but watch this space.

My guide to determining the next prime minister

Personally I think that the leadership of this country should be determined by making all the candidates take part in a weird combination trial with elements from the following:

1) Gladiator
2) Total Wipe-out
3) Takeshis Castle

and just to make things interesting

4) Come Dine with Me
5) Strictly Come Dancing
6) X Factor

The parties new leader will be whoever finishes with the most points.

In the event of a tie there will be a bonus round of

7) Snakes and Ladders

Life Insurance

With Lentil due to be born any day, and after lengthy discussions, we decided life insurance might be a good idea.

What started out as a good idea has rapidly become a major headache. It turns out that life insurance comparison quotes are nothing like that of car insurance.

With cars you simple head over to whichever brand of comparison you prefer, tell them your details, what car you have, where you live, and what your use is, and out comes a quote and that’s the price you pay.

Which life insurance you tell them your name, where you live, and what payout you want for death and if required critical illness and they give you a “quick quote”. This is nice and easy. However this is based on various assumptions relating to your health. We both quote these quick quotes at about £13.00 per month based on our needs.

Once you head over to the site to actually buy this quote you are presented with a massive health questionnaire: Have you ever had this? Have you ever had that?

Most of it is fairly straight forward, for example: neither of us have ever had a stroke or a heart attack, neither of us are overweight, or drink excessively. Where is gets complicated is when I answer the questions relating to depression, self harm and suicide, and where the questions for Buttercup are answered in relation to both of her parents having had cancer.

The first 3 companies I tried flat out refused to insure me because I have had depression and have self-harmed and been suicidal at some unspecified point in my life. Rather than ask any follow up questions relating to this, they just declined me. The third company I tried, did ask a few follow up questions, and it appears that once they were told that actually all this stuff happened over 5 years ago, they were ok with it. My premium increased a little from the initial £13 to £15, but this is a small price to pay. I understand how insurance risks work given that I work in the insurance industry (albeit cars not life, but same overall principal).

Buttercups application was similar. The first 3 (same companies as me) have put her on a “pending” decision, so while we wait for that I went to that fourth company for me, they again asked a few extra questions and again decided they will accept Buttercup, but at an increased premium of £20.

It would appear that the aforementioned assumptions are that you are perfectly healthy, you have never had any health issues (physical or mental), and neither have your family. Which if this is the case you absolutely can get the cheapest premium they offer. Except, and not to be too blunt, or put too fine a point on this, who hasn’t had depression at some point, who hasn’t had cancer in their family somewhere.

On closer inspection the life policy itself is not too expensive, both are about £6 a month, its the critical illness cover which really does it.

Lets be honest, we all know insurance is a bit of a con at times. My 21 year policy at £15 a month will cost me a total of £3780 which assuming i don’t get any form of critical illness and  I don’t die in that time (which I really hope I don’t, naturally), will result in a lot of money spent for nothing. On the other hand putting that money in to savings over 21 years would not ever accrue enough interest to result in a quarter million pound payout upon my death. So I guess its worth it.

Ultimately we are protecting our child’s future more than anything else. Can you really put a price on that?

Oh Christmas do, Oh Christmas do

Office Holiday Party

November 30th

Everyone loves a works Christmas do. Well…everyone except me. They’re a tedious charade.

What do you mean I have to spend my free time with work people. People who the majority of I can’t stand, and those that I don’t actively despise, I barely tolerate within the work environment. Don’t get me wrong, there exists a handful of people who I actually quite like, and get on with very well, some of whom I even consider friends. But they are really only work friends. My work life doesn’t come home with me if I can help it.

So why would I want to give up my free time, to allow work to seep its way in to my personal life?! Oh right, because its “the done thing”.

Wait, hang on, I have to pay as well? Goddammit. Well I guess it’s not much to ask for food and booze and entertainment. Except the food doesn’t interest me, except the cheese board. And I won’t be drinking in case of needing to escape quickly (to the hospital).

I’m quite interested to see if my request of a cheeseboard for starter, main, and dessert, has been accepted. The actual starters and mains didn’t really speak to me.

December 1st

9.00am

God. An entire evening with a hundred people I don’t like. And this is just the small event. The main company event is in a few weeks and is about 300 people, though the Bury Lodge events are usually a lot better than the others. And again we will have the car so can make a quick getaway if we want or need to.

3.00pm

Further discussions are held regarding how much neither of us want to go. And yet we still will. Buttercup is uncomfortable all the time. So this evening will be worse than normal. Uncomfortable and surrounded be drunk colleagues. While sober.

5.42pm

We have to be in the office to start the night in about 15 minutes. I’m more or less ready (very little effort being put in to this). Buttercup is not dressed. She can’t find anything that fits without her feeling fat. Pointing out that she’s not fat she’s pregnant doesn’t help. Pointing out that I think she looks gorgeous in anything also does not help. Wish me luck.

5.48pm

Johnny Cash came to visit. No idea what I’ve eaten to cause that. Fun times ahead!

Inappropriate? I know…

6.30pm

I had forgotten about the drag show. Three managers dressed up. Not gonna lie, this was actually a good laugh. Did a better job than I would have. That’s being said I would have had to do it at gunpoint because there’s no way I would have done it willingly.

HIC Drag Show: SJW
“What have I done with my life”
HIC Drag Show: NW
“Absolutely loving having hair again”
HIC Drag Show: SA
“Morticia Addams meets Harley Quinn”

7.15pm

Begin the murder of Fairytale of New York by inebriated colleagues. The one beer I’m allowed tonight is not nearly enough to make this tolerable. Though that being said I’m pretty sure this particular festive jingle was already murdered many moons ago by The Pogues.

7.30pm – 10.30pm

Cometh the hour, cometh the food. Sort of. Tooks a while for each course to be delivered, but then with 30 people in the group plus the restaurants other customers I guess there was quite a lot to do. Did not enjoy the food, it was bland at best, cannot believe we paid £30 a head for this. The night just seem to go on and on, certain managers just seemed to get drunker and drunker. Once in particular broke 3 glasses (that I know of) and fell of her chair at least once. I feel sorry for the other guests. Actually I feel more sorry for Buttercup and I. As you may have guessed, we didn’t want to be here.